Quick Links

For some Nats, the road has been much longer

902445.png

For some Nats, the road has been much longer

When the Washington Nationals begin their five game playoff series this weekend, it will mark the first postseason game for almost every player on the teams young roster. Most have never played meaningful games in October, but for a choice few who have seen the franchise at its lowest points the dream perhaps seemed even further away.

Ryan Zimmerman was the franchises first draft pick when they moved to Washington, D.C. and through years of losing twice signed contract extensions to stay with the club. He opted to stay loyal at times he could have jumped ship and instead trusted the vision and future of the team around him.

The odds were in my favor that I was going to win here at some point. I love this town. They gave me a chance, took a chance on me at a young age, and put me right in the middle of it, he said.

For the team to take a chance on me like that, I felt obligated. I thought I should stay here and give them what they gave me, which is my career.

Zimmerman debuted in 2005 and in just eight seasons has been on five different teams that lost 89 games or more. Along the way he has seen a lot of the guys around him come and go. He is still the face of the franchise, but now that franchise boasts the best pitching staff in baseball and a lineup as young and as talented as any.

Ryan Zimmerman is the leader. He is the captain of this organization, Gio Gonzalez said. He is the face of this organization, he is a franchise guy. He has seen the down and now he is definitely seeing the upside of it.

Jordan Zimmermann joined the organization as a second round draft pick in 2007 and made the major league team in 2009. In his first year the team lost 103 games, but since has improved by at least ten wins in three consecutive seasons. In a short period of time he has seen the team bottom out as the worst team in baseball and then rise to potentially its best.

We came a long way. When I first got drafted and came up here, we were losing ballgames it seemed like every night, he said.

You gotta give a lot of credit to Rizzo for putting some guys together and then having some good drafts.

For part of the turnaround, Zimmermann had to watch from the dugout while he underwent a year-long recovery from Tommy John surgery. He has been pivotal in the teams transformation and is excited to see where it can be taken from here.

Now were here and were that much closer, he said.

John Lannan was away from the team for much of this season after once being its de facto ace and making two Opening Day starts in 2008 and 2009. He joined them late this year after spending much of the season in Triple-A Syracuse and is now just appreciative he is here to stay.

Right now, its all worth it. Being down in Syracuse and then being here right now, its all worth it, he said.

There was a time earlier on in the season where I didnt know what was going to happen, but now it all makes sense. This is why everything happened.

Lannan was on two Nats teams that lost more than 100 games - 102 in 2008 and 103 in 2009 - and has seen the fanbase grow with the teams success.

Just to be part of this team now and to be a part of the teams that really struggled, we all wanted it. But now to celebrate it and really enjoy it is really awesome, he said.

These fans deserve it, these guys deserve it, its been a long road but we knew this time was going to come. It is special.

Quick Links

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

Anthony Rendon homers in third straight game, but Nationals fall to Mariners in series finale

WASHINGTON -- Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 Thursday to stop a five-game losing streak.

Gio Gonzalez took a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Jean Segura singled leading off and Guillermo Heredia took a called third strike. That prompted Seattle manager Scott Servais to complain from the dugout, which led to his ejection by plate umpire Adam Hamari.

Robinson Cano singled, and Washington manager Dusty Baker brought in Turner (2-3), despite Cruz having just one hit in 15 at-bats against Gonzalez. Cruz drove a belt-high slider over the fence in left-center for his 12th homer this season and a 3-2 lead. Cruz leads the AL with 40 RBIs.

Cano added an RBI single off Turner in the seventh. Seattle scored multiple runs for the first time since May 18.

Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle's sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.

Gonzalez gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight.

Washington's Anthony Rendon homered in the fifth, his ninth this season and fourth in the three-game series. Jayson Werth added an RBI single later in the inning.

FAMILY FIRST

Baker will be leaving the Nationals for their weekend series against San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren's high school graduation in Northern California and will rejoin the team Monday in San Francisco.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (forearm strain) could return to the rotation in the first or second game of a homestand that starts Wednesday, Servais said. ... 1B Danny Valencia was in the lineup for a second straight day after sitting out three games with a wrist injury.

Nationals: Baker may continue to use an eight-man bullpen. Baker said the decision depends the progress of INF Stephen Drew's rehabilitation from a hamstring strain. Drew is at extended spring training.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Yovani Gallardo is 2-2 with a 5.28 ERA against Boston, where Seattle begins a three-game set on Friday.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (4-3, 3.02) has allowed two runs or fewer in his last three starts against San Diego, which opens a three-game series in Washington on Friday.

Quick Links

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

Nats beat Mariners behind Joe Ross' career day in return from minors

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.

Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.

By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.

Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.

Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.

MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win