WASHINGTON — The next few days will determine whether a players-only meeting and a visit from the Miami Marlins will help lift the Washington Nationals out of their funk.
Washington welcomes Miami to Nationals Park for a four-game series beginning Thursday night.
The Nationals have lost five straight games and 17 of 22. At 42-43 http://www.lionsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jahlani-tavai-jersey , the Nationals are under .500 this far into the season for the first time since they were 60-61 on Aug. 21, 2015.
Wednesday’s traditional 11:05 a.m. July 4 contest was a 3-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Washington’s eighth shutout since June 1 — the Nationals were blanked just seven times all of last season — resulted in a players-only meeting after the game.
“We’ve never been in this position before, and I think it’s an exciting time for us,” Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper told the Washington Post. “In years past, we’ve won the division by a lot of games and we’re able to be behind right now. I’m excited to get out there and test it.”
According to press reports, staff ace Max Scherzer instigated the meeting and was the most vocal speaker during it.
“I think anytime Max holds the meeting or holds court, there’s going to be some yelling,” outfielder Adam Eaton told MASN.com. “In baseball, you don’t have that type of intensity all the time, so it’s a little different. I think guys gravitate toward that. I think everybody has a kind of intensity bone in their body Kyler Murray Jersey , and sometimes things need to be said in that fashion.”
Rafael Devers (sacrifice fly) and Eduardo Nunez (wild pitch) helped break a scoreless tie in the seventh inning, and Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six shutout innings Wednesday for the Red Sox.
Washington starter Erick Fedde left in the second inning with a shoulder injury, forcing the Nationals’ already overworked bullpen to cover seven-plus innings. An MRI exam on Fedde was negative.
The Nationals are seven games behind first-place Atlanta and just 7 1/2 ahead of fourth-place Miami. After a stretch of games against the Philadelphia Phillies and Red Sox, the Nationals play 21 of their next 27 games against teams with a losing record.
Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (2-1, 2.63 ERA) opposes Miami right-hander Pablo Lopez (1-0, 3.00) on Thursday night
Hellickson lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in his return from the disabled list last Saturday night. He had been sidelined since June 4 with a right hamstring strain.
Lopez was a winner in his major league debut, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings against the New York Mets on Saturday. The 22-year-old struck out five and walked one.
“I was really impressed with his composure,” Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto told the Miami Herald. “He came in just attacking guys with his stuff. It didn’t seem like he was scared of anybody. Pounding the zone. Worked a quick pace http://www.arizonacardinalsteamonline.com/byron-murphy-jersey , and pitched with great stuff. It was exciting to watch.”
Miami (36-52) won the rubber game of a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, hours after losing a 16-inning marathon that ended at 12:41 a.m. Jose Urena tossed five scoreless innings and shortstop JT Riddle drove in two of Miami’s runs and scored the other in a 3-0 win.
Drew Rucinski got the win and Brad Ziegler closed it out for his 10th save.
“It was one of those days, walking into it, that your bullpen’s pretty much shot,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly told the Miami Herald. “You’re hoping for a good outing from Jose and it really couldn’t have gone any better as far as who we had available.”
Ozzie Newsome’s reign as the only general manager in Baltimore Ravens history will come to an end after the 2018 season.
Newsome signed a five-year extension in 2014 with the understanding that he surrenders the post to assistant GM Eric DeCosta at the end of the contract, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said Friday.
”Ozzie will step down as GM and has assured me that he’s not going anywhere,” Bisciotti said. ”He will work with me and work with Eric for a smooth transition and he’ll be the highest paid scout in America when Eric takes over next year.”
Newsome, 61, has been in charge of filling out the roster since the Ravens arrived in Baltimore in 1996. His first two draft picks were Jonathan Ogden – who became a Hall of Fame offensive lineman – and Ray Lewis, who is expected to enter the Hall this year.
Newsome is also a member of the Hall of Fame. Following his standout career as a tight end with the Cleveland Browns Andy Isabella Jersey , Newsome made the transition to the front office under former Ravens owner Art Modell. With Newsome leading the way, Baltimore won two Super Bowls and reached the postseason five straight years from 2008-12.
DeCosta, 46, joined the Ravens at an entry-level position in 1996 and was schooled by Newsome. Since becoming assistant general manager in 2012, DeCosta spurned numerous job offers from other teams with the assumption, then assurance, that he would inherit Newsome’s job.
”I think he has learned from Ozzie. I think he’s a great leader of the scouts,” Bisciotti said of DeCosta. ”It’s Ozzie’s department, but most of the interaction with all the scouts is with Eric. I’ve seen the way he goes about the business, I’ve seen the way he’s embraced technology and analytics Alexander Mattison Jersey , and I like working with him.”
Bisciotti said of the impending switch from Newsome to DeCosta: ”It’s time. There are people that are running other franchises that got the jobs because Eric wouldn’t take it. This year it was the Packers.”
Bisciotti spoke for nearly an hour in his annual postseason session with the media. He fielded questions on a wide variety of topics – beginning with his decision to retain coach John Harbaugh after Baltimore missed the playoffs for a third straight season.
Firing Harbaugh ”was certainly a consideration, but not one that I was inclined to make this year,” the owner said.
Asked if he would fire Harbaugh if the Ravens fail to reach the postseason in 2018, Bisciotti replied, ”I’m not going to give a `playoff or bust’ edict to you all or my coach. He’s under (more) pressure probably than he’s ever been in in his life, and I expect him to … make the most of this season. I may as well replace him now if I’m going to tell him, `Make the playoffs or you’re out of town next year.’ That’s not the way to run a business.”
Though the Ravens have gone 5-11, 8-8 and 9-7 over the last three years, Bisciotti noted that things would have been different were it not for a last-minute loss in Pittsburgh in 2016 and a stunning defeat at home in the finale against Cincinnati this season.
He also cited quarterback Joe Flacco’s slow recovery from an ailing back as a determining factor in 2017.
”We’re literally looking at a few moments of time that went against us,” Bisciotti said. ”We’re not talking about 4-12 seasons here. We’re talking about a franchise quarterback that had a herniated disk and was not healthy for the first half of the year. There’s a couple games that we should have won http://www.vikingscheapshops.com/cheap-authentic-dru-samia-jersey , that if we did, we might have been resting our starters against Cincinnati. That’s our goal next year.”
Bisciotti hopes that an improved team will draw more fans to home games in 2018. The Ravens sold out every game, but often performed before thousands of empty seats.
”Am I disappointed in it? Yeah. Concerned? Yes,” he said. ”The no-shows are a way of telling us our fans aren’t pleased. We’ve got to win, and I hope that solves a majority of the problems.”