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dan yun Nov 9 '18

The Washington Nationals , who have won two straight division titles and three in the past four years, need a miracle to make the playoffs this season.On Monday night, the Nationals (76-74) visit the Miami Marlins to start a quick two-game series. The Nationals enter Monday in third place in the NL East, trailing the division-leading Atlanta Braves by 7.5 games.Article continues below ...The Nationals are also six games out of the second and final wild-card spot with just 12 contests left on their schedule. Worse yet, the Nationals trail five teams in the wild-card standings.“It’s a bummer we’re not winning games,” Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper told the media recently. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind.”If Harper is disappointed, imagine how the Marlins feel. Miami (58-91) has the worst record in the National League and the third-lowest win percentage in the majors.Miami hasn’t won consecutive games since Aug. 24-25, and the Marlins have gone 5-13 in that span.Monday’s pitching matchup features a pair of 25-year-old rookie right-handers: Miami’s Trevor Richards against Washington’s Erick Fedde.Richards (3-9, 4.85 ERA) has struck out at least seven batters in six of his 22 games this season. He has a below-average fastball (90.8 as opposed to the league norm of 93.1 mph). But he survives on a nasty changeup.Lately, though, it appears teams have figured him out. In his past seven starts, Richards is 0-4 with a 6.68 ERA.Perhaps a good omen for Richards is the fact that he pitched six scoreless innings the only time he faced the Nationals at Marlins Park this year, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out eight.Fedde (2-3, 5.12 ERA), a Las Vegas native, was Washington’s first-round pick in 2014, coming out of UNLV.His best pitch may be his hard (94 mph) slider, and this will be his first-ever start against the Marlins, so there could be an adjustment required of Miami hitters.Fedde is coming off his best start of the season, holding the Philadelphia Phillies scoreless for 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday, striking out nine while allowing just two hits.One of the batters Fedde will have to pitch carefully to is Marlins right fielder Peter O’Brien, a 6-4 Nolan Arenado Jersey , 235-pounder who has massive power but has yet to get his major league career untracked at age 28.A former University of Miami star, O’Brien was picked up by the hometown Marlins earlier this month and has two homers and five RBIs in his past three starts.“We’re going to get him extended playing time as we finish up,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of O’Brien. “He has a good approach and a feel for his game, which is that he can hit the ball out of the ballpark.”Indeed, O’Brien hit 26 homers in 2013, 39 in 2014, 32 in 2015 and 29 in 2016. He hit just 16 homers last year but has 32 this season in a bounce-back campaign.Still, out of all those homes, only eight have come in the majors, where his career OPS is just .699.“I’m looking to have quality at-bats,” O’Brien told the media on Sunday when asked about his approach. “Consistency is the main thing.”Harper, of course, is Washington’s big bat. He has 97 RBIs, 97 runs scored and 118 walks. He is on track to become just the sixth player since 2014 to record 100 in each of those categories.A free agent after this season ends, Harper — who turns 26 next month — needs to drive in two more runs to tie his career high.“I’m not worried about my numbers because I am who I am,” Harper said. “That sounds bad, but I am. On any given night, I’m able to do things that are special.”Harper hit just .214 with an .833 OPS in the first half of this season. But since then, he has hit .305 with a .985 OPS.The Nationals, who have won seven of their past nine games, have ridden the hot bats of Harper, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto Charlie Blackmon Jersey , among others.Rendon has reached base in 25 consecutive games, hitting .330 during that span. He hit his 20th homer on Sunday, marking the third straight season he has reached that milestone.Soto, 19, has reached base in 21 consecutive games. That ties Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle for the second-longest streak by a teenager since 1920. Mel Ott, who had a 22-game streak in 1928, owns the record. MILWAUKEE (AP) — Extra innings, two outs and the winning run on third in Game 1 of the playoffs.Short on playoff experience, the Milwaukee Brewers dealt for veteran Mike Moustakas over the summer to produce in just this kind of spot.Good deal.Moustakas scored MVP front-runner Christian Yelich with a two-out single in the 10th inning, and the Brewers bounced back to beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 Thursday in their NL Division Series opener.After giving up two runs in the ninth that made it 2-all, the Brewers regrouped and soon celebrated. Making their first postseason appearance since 2011, they won their ninth straight game overall.Moustakas had already produced for Kansas City in October, hitting .304 in the 2015 World Series to help beat the Mets.He’s doing it again in Milwaukee after being acquired from the Royals in late July.“Being in a postseason a couple years back, it definitely helps,” Moustakas said.Chants of “Mooose!” echoed around Miller Park after the winning hit.Game 2 is Friday in Milwaukee with Colorado’s Tyler Anderson opposing Jhoulys Chacin, who led Milwaukee with 35 starts this year. He started Monday when the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 in the NL Central tiebreaker at Wrigley Field.Yelich hit a two-run homer in the third inning, then opened the 10th with a walk against Adam Ottavino, coming back from an 0-2 count.Yelich made his postseason debut, though the even-keeled star spoke as if he had been through this before.“You’re just trying to slow the situation down … find a way to get on and make something happen, put some pressure on him,” Yelich said. “And Moose was able to come through there at the end with the huge hit.”Yelich advanced to second on a wild pitch and came home on Moustakas’ line drive to right field. After almost winning the Triple Crown this year, Yelich got two hits , scored twice and stole a base in his playoff debut.Josh Hader and the Brewers allowed just one hit over eight innings in a dominant bullpen game and led 2-0 before Jeremy Jeffress gave up three straight singles to open the ninth. Charlie Blackmon grounded an RBI single shortly after his ground-rule double was overruled on replay review, and Nolan Arenado added a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to tie it.But Colorado couldn’t come through in extras again after outlasting the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in 13 innings in the NL wild-card game on Tuesday.“Everybody knows I throw a lot of sliders. In that spot, I wanted to elevate. I wanted to get a little higher than I got it,” Ottavino said. “I think I guessed what he was looking for wrong there.”Joakim Soria picked up the win in the opener with a scoreless 10th.MOOSE IS LOOSEThe two-time All-Star third baseman had 15 RBIs in 31 postseason games while with the Royals.Make it 16 now in Milwaukee.“Look, Moose has been in those spots,” manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s something that you try to not make the situation too big, and he did a great job of it and finally got a pitch to it.”COLD COLORADOThe big-hitting Rockies, meanwhile, are still struggling to find their stroke. After beating the Cubs earlier in the week, this visit to Miller Park meant them playing in a different city for the fourth time in five days.“Time will tell, but I think the day off helped yesterday,” skipper Bud Black said. “I think the postseason energizes players.”BULLPEN DAYWith more and more teams relying exclusively on relievers in the regular season, the Brewers tried to take the new-wave approach to a new level in October. Out of the six pitchers who took the mound, only Jeffress allowed any runs.Corbin Burnes, who tossed scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, was the only other reliever to allow a hit.Colorado was 1 of 23 with 10 strikeouts over the first eight innings. They were 3 of 6 in the ninth.STAT LINESMatt Holliday’s pinch-hit single in the ninth was his 15th career postseason with Colorado, tying him with Yorvit Torrealba atop the team’s career playoff hits list. … Yelich became just the fifth Brewers player to reach base at least four times in a postseason game. … OF Ryan Braun went 2 for 5 to record his ninth career multihit game in the postseason.UP NEXTAnderson (7-9, 4.55 ERA) starts Game 2 in Milwaukee, coming off 7 2/3 shutout innings in a 12-0 win on Sunday over Washington that set up the NL West tiebreaker game the next day against the Dodgers. It was the left-hander’s first victory since July 4. Chacin (15-8, 3.50) turned into the Brewers’ most consistent starting pitcher this season. He will work on three days’ rest after allowing one run and one hit in 5 2/3 innings in that win over the Cubs.