Team Spirit Extra Innings — Washington Nationals

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(Washington Nationals)

(Washington Nationals)

2023 Season

Season Preview:  The rebuilding plan is on schedule in Washington, but that schedule may include a 100-loss season in 2023. Catcher Keibert Ruiz, infielder Luis Garcia, and shortstop CJ Abrams will have to hold down the fort on offense while their young pitchers—including MacKenzie Gore and Josiah Gray—gain experience. A third young hurler, Cade Cavalli, will have to wait at least a year after arm surgery. In the meantime, Washington fans will have to root for quality regulars like Lane Thomas, Dominic Smith, Jeimer Candelaria, Victor Robles, and Joey Meneses to produce enough runs to keep the nationals competitive.

2022 Season

Season Recap: The Nationals knew 2022 would be a rebuilding year, but no one in Washington expected 107 losses. That is what happens when your pitchers put too many runners on base, your fielders don’t catch the ball, and your hitters don’t drive in many runs. The big news in DC was the trade of the team’s two best hitters, Juan Soto and Josh Bell, to the Padres. They received great prospects in return, so it may not be long before the Nats challenge the other teams in the NL East.

August 13, 2022: Nelson Cruz singled against the Padres for the 2,000th hit of his career. Fewer than 300 players in history have reached 2,000 hits.

July 18, 2022: Juan Soto won the Home Run Derby at the 2022 All-Star Game, edging Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners 19-18 in the final round.

June 18, 2022: The Nationals retired Ryan Zimmerman’s uniform #11. It is the first number retired by the Nationals.

Season Preview: The Nationals plan to spend 2022 rebuilding around a core of exciting young stars, including slugger Juan Soto and catcher Keibert Ruiz. Veteran hitters Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz should also provide plenty of fireworks. Washington’s pitching staff includes some promising young arms. Josiah Gray and Joan Adon will get a chance to prove themselves this year, with top prospects like Cade Cavalli figuring to see some time with the big club, too

2021 Season

Season Recap: The Nationals got off to a good start in 2021 but their fortunes turned in July and they fell out of the pennant race. The team decided to trade away Max Scherzer, Brad Hand, Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, and other stars for young players and got an amazing haul in return. The future looks bright thanks to newcomers Keibert Ruiz, Lane Thomas, Josiah Gray, and Mason Thompson. They join Juan Soto to form a quality core of talent for 2022.

June 26, 2021: Kyle Schwarber tied the all-time record with five home runs in two games, against the New York Mets. A few days later he would be named NL Player of the Month.

Season Preview: The winter additions of closer Brad Hand, first baseman Josh Bell, and outfielder Kyle Schwarber give the Nationals a new look in 2021. What they are looking for most, however, is a healthy year from Stephen Strasburg. The one-two pitching punch of Strasburg and Max Scherzer is crucial to the team’s success, as is another step forward by their best player, Juan Soto.

2020 Season

Season Recap: The Nationals went from World Series champions to last place in the NL East. With the exception of young stars Trea Turner and Juan Soto, no National could live up to his 2019 season. Soto was the big story in an otherwise disappointing summer. He won the batting title with a .351 average and led the majors in on-base percentage and slugging average.

August 17, 2020: 20-year-old prospect Luis Garcia homered against the Braves to become the first player born in the 2000’s to hit a round-tripper in the big leagues.

Season Preview: Winning a championship, as the Nationals did in 2019, is very difficult. Winning two in a row is almost impossible. The Nats lost one of their best hitters when Anthony Rendon became a free agent, so young stars Juan Soto and Trea Turner will have to keep improving. Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg lead an excellent pitching staff.

2019 Season

Season Recap: The Nationals overcame a slow start in 2019 to finish the regular season as one of the hottest teams in baseball. Washington had a great mix of young stars, experienced veterans, and players in their prime years. Pitching ace Stephen Strasburg led the NL in wins, 20-year-old Juan Soto had an amazing year, and third baseman Anthony Rendon came through again and again in clutch situation. In the playoffs, every time the Nats had their backs against the wall, they found a way to win. Howie Kendrick was the hitting hero in the Division Series, Championship Series, and World Series. The Nationals became the first team to win four games on the road in the World Series to beat the Houston Astros, 4 games to 3.

May 2, 2019: Stephen Strasburg became the fastest pitcher in history to reach 1,500 strikeouts. He struck out his 1,500th batter in just 1.272 2/3 innings.

April 27, 2019: Juan Soto, Victor Robles, and Carter Kieboom hit home runs in the same game against the Padres. It was the first time in history that three teammates 21 or younger accomplished this feat.

Season Preview: The loss of Bryce Harper leaves a hole in the Washington outfield, but the team has plenty of talent to plug that hole. The team also added Patrick Corbin to its already strong pitching staff. Look for big seasons from rising stars Trea Turner, Juan Soto, and Victor Robles, as well as veteran pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg.

2018 Season

Season Recap: Many picked the Nationals to win the pennant, but the team never seemed to play to its potential and won just 82 games. Max Scherzer had a magnificent season, striking out 300 batters, but Stephen Strasburg missed two months and the other pitchers did not pick up the slack. Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and super rookie Juan Soto led an offense with good speed and power, but the Nats sorely missed leader Daniel Murphy, who missed half the season before being traded to the Cubs.

October 1, 2018: Juan Soto was named NL Rookie of the Month for September. He also won the award in June and July.

Season Preview: Is this the year the Nationals cash in on all that talent and finally win the pennant? Bryce Harper may be playing his last year in Washington, as is Daniel Murphy, so it’s now or never. Because the offense is so good, much will depend on pitching. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg give the Nats an amazing one-two punch, and the bullpen is way ahead of where it was in early 2017. Still, with the streaky Mets and improving Phillies and Braves in the same division, Washington may not have as many easy wins as the fans would like.

2017 Season

Season Recap: The Nationals entered the 2017 season as big favorites to win the NL East. They did that with ease, despite injuries to Adam Eaton, Bryce Harper, and Trea Turner. A shaky bullpen was fixed with a trade for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle. Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon had MVP-type seasons, while Max Scherzer was the star of a great starting rotation. The Nats won 97 games but fell to the Cubs in the Division Series 3 games to 2. Washington held a 4–1 lead in the deciding game, but lost 9–8.

July 27, 2017: Ryan Zimmerman broke Vladimir Guerrero’s franchise record for home runs with his 235th in a game against the Reds.

2016 Season

November 1, 2016: The Nationals hit and pitched their way to the top of the NL East with a 95–67 record. Bryce Harper did not have a great year, but Daniel Murphy picked up the slack by leading the club in hits, homers, RBIs and batting average. Murphy also led the NL with 47 doubles and a .595 slugging average. Max Scherzer was tops on the team with 20 victories and 284 strikeouts, and won the Cy Young Award. The Nats lost to the Dodgers in the playoffs after taking a 2–1 series lead, dropping their final two games, 4–3 and 6–5.

October 3, 2016: Trea Turner was named NL Rookie of the Month for the second month in a row. He finished the year with a .342 average and 33 stolen bases in just 73 games.

August 1, 2016: Daniel Murphy was named NL Player of the Month for the second time in 2016.

May 11, 2016: Max Scherzer struck out 20 batters while beating his old team, the Tigers, 3–2. Only 4 other players have struck out 20 in a game.

2015 Season

October 14, 2015: The Nationals looked like the team to beat at the beginning of the year, but their hitters and pitchers never got going at the same time. The result was 83 wins and a second-place finish. Max Scherzer pitched some amazing games, but finished just 14–12. Bryce Harper had an outstanding season at the plate with 42 homers, a .330 average and a league-leading 118 runs, but no other Nat hit 20 homers or scored more than 75 runs.

October 4, 2015: Bryce Harper tied with Nolan Arenado for the NL home run crown with 42. Harper also led the league with 118 runs scored.

July 2, 2015: Max Scherzer was named NL Pitcher of the Month for the second month in a row.

June 20, 2015: Max Scherzer no-hit the Pirates. He was one strike away from a perfect game when he hit Jose Tabata. He retired the next batter. Six days earlier, Scherzer had one-hit the Brewers.

April 5, 2015: With the signing of pitcher Max Scherzer, the Nationals became instant favorites to win the NL pennant. To do so, they will need good seasons from young stars Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendon, and healthy years from sluggers Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos and Jayson Werth.

2014 Season

November 15, 2014: Matt Williams was named NL Manager of the Year. He is the second home run champion to later win the award for top manager. Frank Robinson was the first.

November 1, 2014: Most experts picked the Nationals to finish with the most wins in the NL, and they were correct—Washington went 96–66 to win the NL Easy by 17 games. Although injuries plagued the team’s offense, Washington’s pitching was excellent. Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Tanner Roark and Doug Fister won 59 games. However, the hitters could not solve the Giants’ pitchers in the playoffs, losing three one-run games to drop the series 3 games to 1. Each team scored 9 runs in the series, but San Francisco got the runs when they needed them.

September 28, 2014: Jordan Zimmermann no-hit the Marlins on the final day of the season. It was he first no-hitter in Nationals history. Denard Span finished the year with 184 hits—the most since the team moved from Montreal to Washington—to tie for the league lead.

March 31, 2014: No team in baseball can match Washington’s pitching staff. Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordann Zimmermann give the Nationals a top-notch starting rotation, and four pitchers in the bullpen could be closers on other teams. Many experts are picking Bryce Harper to win the MVP Award.

2013 Season

October 1, 2013: After a huge year in 2012, the Nats took a slight step backwards in 2013 and missed the playoffs with 86 wins. Their best pitcher was Jordan Zimmermann, who broke through with a 19-win season. However, Stephen Strasburg never found his rhythm and finished just 8–9. Bryce Harper battled injuries much of the year, as did Jayson Werth. The good news was that Ryan Zimmerman regained his All-Star form, leading Washington in home runs and playing a solid third base.

June 30, 2013: Anthony Rendon finished his first month in the majors with 35 hits in 99 at bats. Rendon broke the franchise’s oldest record, held by Coco Laboy. Laboy went 35 for 100 in his first month as a member of the Montreal Expos in 1969.

April 1, 2013: At age 20, Bryce harper became the youngest player in history to hit two home runs in a season opener.

March 30, 2013: Bryce Harper make get all the headlines, but it is the teams pitching that makes them hard to beat. Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Rafael Soriano give the Nats a chance to win 100 games in 2013.

2012 Season

October 13, 2012: The Nationals had the best record in baseball and won the NL East—something they had never done while playing in Montreal as the Expos. Pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg led the way, and first baseball Adam LaRoche led the team with 33 home runs. Washington fell short of reaching the National League Championship Series when the St. Louis Cardinals staged a miraculous comeback in the final game of the National League Division Series. Many fans were upset that Strasburg was not available to pitch that game. The Nationals shut him down in September to protect his arm and refused to let him pitch in the postseason.

September 5, 2012: Washington batters hit six home runs against the Chicago Cubs for the second day in a row. Only two other teams in history had hit six or more homers in back-to-back games.

June 3, 2012: Steve Lombardozzi and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back homers to begin the first inning. It was the first time in baseball history two rookies led off a game with home runs.

April 14, 2012: Edwin Jackson won a game for his seventh different club. He is the youngest player since 1900 to notch a victory for seven big-league teams.

March, 2012: Wow! The Nationals look like they might challenge for the NL East crown in 2012. They have good hitters at every position and seven of the toughest pitchers in baseball—Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Brad Lidge, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, and Drew Storen. Should be a fun summer in D.C.!

More Go-To Guys

Rusty Staub is one of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet. And he’s a great cook, too! (Fleer Corp.)

Back in the 1970s, if you had to bet on which Expo would become a Hall of Famer, you probably would have put your money on Ellis Valentine. One wild pitch changed all that. (Montreal Expos)

Marquis Grissom was a great talent on the field. Off the field, he was one of the most generous men in the game. (Topps, Inc.)

What fun it was to watch Delino DeShields. His son, Delino Jr., should be playing for the Houston Astros pretty soon. (Topps, Inc.)

  • Rusty Staub — Outfielder
    Born: 4/1/1944
    Played for Team: 1969 to 1971 & 1979
    Rusty Staub was the team’s first All-Star player. He led the Expos in hits, runs, and home runs each year from 1969 to 1971. He also had the highest batting average twice. French-speaking fans called Staub “Le Grand Orange” (The Big Orange) because of his red-orange hair.

  • Bill Stoneman — Pitcher
    Born: 4/7/1944
    Played for Team: 1969 to 1973
    Bill Stoneman was the most talented pitcher during the team’s early years. He threw no-hitters in 1969 and in 1972, and won 51 games before injuring his arm in 1973.

  • Mike Marshall — Pitcher
    Born: 1/15/1943
    Played for Team: 1970 to 1973
    Mike Marshall threw a screwball, which broke sharply in the opposite direction of a curve. Batters couldn’t touch it. Marshall was baseball’s busiest relief pitcher when he played for the Expos. He led the NL in saves in 1973.

  • Ellis Valentine — Outfielder
    Born: 7/30/1954
    Played for Team: 1975 to 1981
    Montreal fans thought they had baseball’s next superstar in Ellis Valentine. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner by age 23, with a powerful bat and amazing throwing arm. Sadly, his career was cut short when he was hit in the face by a pitched ball.

  • Jeff Reardon — Pitcher
    Born: 10/1/1955
    Played for Team: 1981 to 1986
    Jeff Reardon was a true “stopper.” The team usually left him in the bullpen until the ninth inning so he could come in and stop an opponent’s threat. Reardon racked up 152 saves for Montreal.

  • Marquis Grissom — Outfielder
    Born: 4/17/1967
    Played for Team: 1989 to 1994
    Marquis Grissom was a lightning-fast outfielder and baserunner. He also had a powerful bat. He led the league in stolen bases twice as an Expo.

  • Larry Walker — Outfielder
    Born: 12/1/1966
    Played for Team: 1989 to 1994
    Larry Walker thought he would be a pro hockey player, but the Expos convinced him to give baseball a try. He soon became the team’s best all-around player. Walker led the Expos in home runs in 1993 and 1994.

  • Delino DeShields — Second Baseman
    Born: 1/15/1969
    Played for Team: 1990 to 1993
    Delino DeShields was Montreal’s most exciting player in the early 1990s. He stole 187 bases in four seasons for the team. The Expos hated to trade him, but they got Pedro Martinez in return.

  • Jose Vidro — Second Baseman
    Born: 8/27/1974
    Played for Team: 1997 to 2006
    Jose Vidro hit the ball hard and almost never struck out. Vidro’s batting average during his years with the Expos and Nationals was .301. He was an All-Star three times from 2000 to 2003.

  • Gio Gonzalez — Pitcher
    Born: 9/19/1985
    First Year with Team: 2012 to 2018
    Gio Gonzalez was one of the best young left-handers in the American League in 2010 and 2011. That convinced the Nationals to trade some of their most prized prospects to get him, including Derek Norris, Brad Peacock, and Tom Milone.

  • Juan Soto — Outfielder
    Born: 10/25/1998
    First Season with Team: 2018
    Juan Soto became a star for the Nationals as a teenager in 2018 and helped Washington win the World Series in 2019. In 2020, Soto batted .351 to lead the National League.

More Fun Facts

This photo of Stephen Strasburg was taken during a workout right after he signed with the Nationals. (Black Book Partners)

    Nationals fans who cheer for Stephen Strasburg should give his grandmother a hand, too. When he was a boy, she was his first pitching coach.

    Bill Stoneman was known for striking out hitters when he pitched for the Expos. But it was as a hitter that he set a big-league strikeout record. From 1971 to 1972, he struck out at least once a game for 37 straight games.

    At the 2011 All-Star Game, Tyler Clippard faced one batter and allowed a hit. The news wasn’t all bad, however. The NL won the game and Clippard got the victory. It was the first time an All-Star pitcher was credited with a win without retiring a batter.

    Parents love to let friends and family know how their kids are doing after they leave home. Drew Storen’s father, Mark, does them one better. He has his own sports radio show and web site.

League Leaders

Can someone please tell me why Tim Raines isn’t in the Hall of Fame? (Fleer, Corp.)

Pedro Martinez signs a ball for a fan during his days with the Expos. (Black Book Partners/John Klein)

  • Home Runs
    2015 — Brian Harper — 42*

    * Tied with another player

  • Batting Average
    1982 — Al Oliver — .331
    1986 — Tim Raines — .334
    2020 — Juan Soto — .351
    2021 — Trea Turner — .328*

    *Also played for Dodgers

  • Runs Batted In
    1982 — Al Oliver — 109
    1984 — Gary Carter — 106
    2019 — Anthony Rendon — 126

  • Stolen Bases
    1980 — Ron LeFlore — 97
    1981 — Tim Raines — 71
    1982 — Tim Raines — 78
    1983 — Tim Raines — 90
    1984 — Tim Raines — 75
    1991 — Marquis Grissom — 76
    1992 — Marquis Grissom — 78
    2018 — Trea Turner — 43
    2021 — Trea Turner — 32*

     *Also played for Dodgers

  • Wins
    1994 — Ken Hill — 16*
    2012 — Gio Gonzalez — 21
    2013 — Jordan Zimmermann — 19**
    2016 — Max Scherzer — 20
    2018 — Max Scherzer — 18***
    2019 — Stephen Strasburg — 18

    * The 1994 season was shortened by a labor dispute.
    ** Tied with another player

    *** Tied with2 other players

  • Strikeouts
    2014 — Stephen Strasburg — 242*
    2016 — Max Scherzer — 284
    2017 — Max Scherzer — 268
    2018 — Max Scherzer — 300

    * Tied with another player

  • Earned Run Average
    1982 — Steve Rogers — 2.40
    1991 — Dennis Martinez — 2.39
    1997 — Pedro Martinez — 1.90

Nationals in the World Series

2019 Houston Astros Won 4–3

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