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Wire Taps: Bullpen help Nationals' top priority; First half awards for Nats; Bryce Harper happy in D.C., not worried about future

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All the latest news and links as the Nationals start the second half of the season.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The rotation is reset, trade rumors are aplenty, and Bryce Harper has a new haircut. Welcome to the official second half of the baseball season!

Here's the scoop from South Capitol Street.

Bullpen help will be "top priority" come trade deadline
The number one priority for the Nationals come August 1st will be bolstering the bullpen - the question is who the new kid on the block will be.

Giving out first-half awards for the Nationals
The MVP award probably won't surprise you, unless you only watch the Nationals when they're on defense.

San Diego-born Strasburg finding comfort, growing new roots in Washington
A few years ago, an All-Star Game in his hometown would have been perfect for the pitcher - a chance to pitch in the town he grew up in and felt most at home in. Now, Strasburg is just as comfortable in D.C. - and his allegiances for the forseeable future lie with the Nats.

Bryce Harper happy in D.C. - but not worried about D.C. future
Washington D.C. has become a second home for the superstar, and Harper loves the east coast - almost as much as the west. Even so, Bryce was anything but committed in his comments about staying a National.

Top storylines for the Nationals heading into the second half
Does Bryce Harper have another MVP season in him? Will Lucas Giolito or Trea Turner really get playing time?

You know who also demolished the Mets? Dusty Baker, in 1980
Baker, as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1980, hit .429 against the New York Mets with seven home runs over twelve games. Murphy, in his first thirteen against his former team, is hitting .423 with seven home runs.

Bryce Harper is engaged (again) (to the same person)
Bryce Harper is engaged again, to Kayla Varner, again. For my heart's sake, let's hope it ends well this time (Harper and Varner broke it off once after a previous engagement, but then got back together).

The Nationals have set their rotation for the second half:

Today's Game: Pirates vs Nationals - 7:05 PM
Probable Pitchers: Francisco Liriano (5-8, 5.15 ERA) vs Stephen Strasburg (12-0, 2.62 ERA)