Several former Nationals could be playoff bound
PHILADELPHIA Shawn Kelley gave up a long home run and then threw his glove on the ground.
That is the lasting image to Washington fans of the veteran reliever, who allowed a longball in the ninth inning to Austin Jackson in a 24-5 win in late July against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. A few days later Kelley was traded to Oakland.
But Kelley could get the last laugh.
He is one of several players who began the season in Washington but could end the year in the playoffs with another team.
While the Nationals are a longshot to reach postseason action, Kelley is one of several pitchers and two position players who were in West Palm Beach, Florida, for spring training with Washington and now hope to spend October in the bright playoff lights.
Kelley did not allow a run and gave up just two hits in his first 12 innings for Oakland, which entered play Wednesday second in the AL West. A product of Austin Peay in Tennessee, Kelley injured his hand in a dishwasher incident earlier this month, according to published reports. He hopes to return soon.
The A’s were second in the American League West before Wednesday’s game in Baltimore.
The Oakland bullpen also includes Blake Treinen, an all-star this year who had 37 saves through Tuesday. He was traded by the Nationals to Oakland in July 2017 in a deal that brought relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to Washington.
Here is a look at other former Nationals now with playoff contenders:
Gio Gonzalez, Brewers
The veteran lefty made his first start with Milwaukee on Saturday and picked up the win over the San Francisco Giants. He went 5 2/3 innings and gave up three hits and no runs with seven strikeouts.
That came after he was 7-11 with an ERA of 4.57 in 27 starts this season with the Nationals. Gonzalez joined the Nationals prior to the 2012 season and is set to be a free agent after this year.
“I love how they kind of understand I am one of theirs. I never want to lose that feeling with this organization,” Gonzalez said before the trade of the Nationals.
The Brewers entered Wednesday just back of the Cubs for first in the NL Central.
Brandon Kintzler, Cubs
The right-handed reliever was traded to Chicago in late July by Washington for a minor leaguer.
He has struggled with his new team, going 1-1 with an ERA of 7.07 in his first 18 outings with the Cubs.
Chicago was in first in the National League Central in games through Tuesday.
Daniel Murphy, Cubs
Murphy batted better than .300 with the Nationals in 2016 and 2017 and was set to be a free agent after this year. He had knee surgery in October and did not make his season debut until June 12.
Murphy hit .300 with six homers in 190 at-bats for Washington this year but has been a revelation for manager Joe Maddon and the Cubs. He has been used in the leadoff spot and hit .274 with four homers in his first 73 at-bats with the Cubs.
A former player in the Valley Baseball League of Virginia, he said he enjoyed playing for Washington manager Dave Martinez.
“I think he is a good man,” Murphy told The Washington Times about Martinez. “I thought In the midst of a lot of trials he was always positive. We always played hard for him, which I think is a reflection of the manager when things aren’t going well.”
Matt Adams, Cardinals
The left-handed hitting first baseman was traded last month to the Cardinals, the team that drafted him out of college.
After hitting .257 with 18 homers this year for the Nationals, Adams has struggled with St. Louis.
He hit .200 in his first 40 at-bats with the Cardinals but had three homers, with two coming in one game against the Nationals.
The Cardinals were a close third in the NL Central going into Wednesday’s game against the Pirates.
“It is something special going on with this team and it is nice to be a part of it,” Adams said.
Ryan Madson, Los Angeles Dodgers
Madson was traded by Washington to the Dodgers last month for a minor league pitcher. He struggled in his first four games with the Dodgers, posting an ERA of 13.50.
The California native had an ERA of 5.28 in 49 games with Washington this year. The Dodgers were battling Colorado and Arizona for first in the National League West.