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Wire Taps: Nationals need to improve defense; Where's Joe Ross?; Daniel Murphy is real deal

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of this afternoon's series opener with the Phillies...

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals get their first chance at handing out some early-season revenge when they start a three-game set with the Phillies today. A sweep would be ideal, please and thank you.

Here's the beat from Half Street.

Say it louder for the people in the back: Daniel Murphy is the real deal
It's pretty uncommon to see the type of results Daniel Murphy is producing, but they just keep coming -- which led to some skepticism in the early parts of 2016 when Murphy was flat out hitting. Now, we can say it with authority: Daniel Murphy is a star.

The Nats need to improve their defense, now
The Nats have the third-worst fielding percentage in the National League, and the second-most errors. Whoof.

The bullpen's numbers may be ugly, but their t-shirts look good.
The Nats' bullpen is struggling mightily -- which doesn't mean that they aren't having fun anyways, and it also doesn't mean that they don't expect to get back to what's expected of them.

Nats are struggling, but don't panic
The bullpen has been bad, and their record is mediocre, but the Nats (at the time of press) are one game behind the Mets and nobody is particularly hot or cold. There's a long road ahead, folks.

Nats mailbag: Joe Ross, Brandon Snyder, and the Bryce Harper-shaped elephant in the room
The Post tried something new this week, answering questions from readers who asked for their thoughts on everything from the bench to Bryce Harper's contract.

Bullpen just keeps on struggling
The Nats have to address their bullpen problem if they want any chance of making it out of the first round of the playoffs, or even out of the regular season.

Today's Game: Phillies vs Nationals -- 4:05 PM
Probable Pitchers: Aaron Nola (1-0, 4.50 ERA) vs Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 3.21 ERA)