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Wire Taps: Stephen Strasburg struggles; Nationals shut out for first time in 2017...

It was an ugly day all around on Saturday, for the starter, Stephen Strasburg, the bullpen (though Tanner Roark was okay), and the Nationals’ offense...

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg was out after three innings. Washington’s offense got shut out for the first time this season. The bullpen gave up seven earned runs. It was not an easy day at the ballpark in the nation’s capital, but the Nationals can still earn a split with the Atlanta Braves with a win this afternoon.

The “Will it be Joe Ross or Tanner Roark today?” question was answered when Roark came out of the pen yesterday. It will be Ross vs Braves’ left-hander Sean Newcomb today in the series and first-half finale...

Until then, links to keep you busy...

THE BIG STORY:

When Bryce Harper faces questions about his future, expect a few sharp comebackers
"Of the top 25 free agent contracts in baseball history, only one was issued by a team to retain its own player..."

NATS BEAT:

Strasburg "fine" after comebacker, worst loss of season
"No matter how it happened, this was not Strasburg at his best this afternoon. He was the victim of some bad luck (and some bad defense) but he also gave up more than a couple hard-hit balls."

Dusty Baker trusts Max Scherzer over bullpen
"Baker has reinforced his desire for his starters to work late into games so he doesn't have to depend on his bullpen for more than two innings."

Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton reads to children
"The Q and A session before the reading brought some light moments like when a youngster asked who Eaton's favorite teammate is, which drew a laugh. After thinking about it a minute, he picked Daniel Murphy..."

State College Spikes vs. Auburn Doubledays, July 7, 2017
"[Alex] Troop was picked in the ninth round by the Washington Nationals last month after tying for the Big Ten lead with eight wins and posting a 2.47 ERA."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

The Orioles Never Recovered From That Phantom Rainout At Nationals Park
"You will remember, that May 11 date was the subject of sharp-edged old man beef between Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Nats GM Mike Rizzo, featuring Rizzo telling Showalter to 'quit whining.'"

Jose Fernandez remembered ahead of Miami MLB All-Star Game
"Former Marlins manager Dan Jennings was in Los Angeles scouting the Dodgers for his new team, the Washington Nationals, when he was awakened in his hotel room by unyielding buzzing."

Nationals' minor league affiliate celebrates Tommy John surgery with clever giveaway
"For their next promotion, the Potomac Nationals are giving away part of a bobble head, but it’s not because the team can’t afford a complete one."

David Vincent, 67, the Sultan of Swat Stats
"David Vincent, a renowned baseball researcher whose vast knowledge of home run history earned him the nickname the Sultan of Swat Stats, died Sunday in Centreville, Va. The native of Waltham was 67."