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The Impact of Losing Bryce Harper

The Washington Nationals community as a whole exhaled when Matt Williams announced after tonight’s game that Bryce Harper suffered only a “mild hamstring strain” tonight, instead of a major injury to his knee. But as Anthony Rendon’s injury demonstrates, no player’s recovery is certain. While his injury is not as bad as was feared, Harper’s contributions to the Nationals’ offense and how much they would suffer without him cannot be overstated.

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Federal Reserve: The Arrival Of Trea Turner

After several months in limbo, Trea Turner finally made his debut in the Washington Nationals’ system on Tuesday. The shortstop prospect—a first-round pick by the San Diego Padres last year, whom the Nationals acquired as a player to be named later in December—was assigned to Harrisburg, where he has played two games thus far.

Getting Turner, along with right-handed starter Joe Ross, from the Padres should work out for the Nationals in the long run. As Ross emerges at the major league level, Turner immediately becomes one of the best position players in the farm system. Along with excellent speed, he features a compact line drive stroke that not only allows him to hit to all fields, but occasionally leverage power to the left side of the field. On defense, he should rate as an at least above average shortstop. Continue reading…

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Bats Go Limp, Rays Shut Out Nats

They say all good things must come to an end. The Washington Nationals’ offensive barrage Tuesday was, by any definition, a good thing, and Wednesday night showed that it was no exception to the rule. The Nats (34-32) were shut out by the Tampa Bay Rays (37-30) a day after scoring 16 runs against them, falling 5-0. Continue reading…

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Nats Set Franchise Hits Record, Obliterate Rays

There’s a feeling of relief when you find something that’s been missing for a long time. Something that you used on a daily basis and were this close to replacing. That relief flooded through the Washington Nationals organization Tuesday night when the Nats (34-31) eviscerated the Tampa Bay Rays (36-30) 16-4, suddenly rediscovering all the run support that had been missing over the past month or so.

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Brilliant Scherzer Sets Nats Strikeout Record

Yesterday the Washington Nationals leaned on rookie Joe Ross, who turned in a sterling eight innings to turn a 1-5 slump into a less horrible 2-5 slump. Today the team turned the story on its side, and it was veteran Max Scherzer who got the nod against Taylor Jungmann, who, like Ross, made his second career start. Spoiler Alert: there would be no repeat performance for rookie dominance, as the Nationals ace made team history in a 4-0 Nationals (33-30) win over the Milwaukee Brewers (24-40).

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The Case For Pessimism About Stephen Strasburg

This is a debate with Jim Meyerriecks at Federal Baseball. See his optimistic take on Strasburg here.

To call Stephen Strasburg something of an enigma among Washington Nationals fans is similar to calling Yankees fans entitled or Mets fans downtrodden. It’s just one of those truths that always feels right, even if you don’t have direct evidence to back it up. Since his dazzling debut, Strasburg feels like a player who, for whatever reason, hasn’t been quite able to live up to the promise.

This year, Strasburg has taken a massive step backwards. His 6.55 ERA is among the worst in all of baseball, and many of his peripheral numbers (such as K/9 and FIP) have taken a tumble. It’s gotten to the point where making a case for pessimism regarding Strasburg has become shockingly easy. Continue reading…

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Drew Storen, Johnny Cash, and Elite Closers

You can run on for a long time, run on for a long time. Run on for a long time, but sooner or later God’ll cut you down.

The most important part of any closer’s repertoire is not his fastball. It’s not his slider, nor his curveball or his changeup. It’s nothing he does on the mound. Instead, it’s what rings out across the park as the bullpen door swings open.

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