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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals visit Houston for three-game set with AL West-leading Astros...

Dusty Baker’s Nationals are in Minute Maid Park for the next three games with the American League West’s first-place Astros...

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MLB: Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Houston is 5-5 in their last ten, 76-48 overall, and the Astros have a commanding 12.0-game lead in the AL West as they start a three-game set with the visiting Washington Nationals this week in Minute Maid Park.

Dusty Baker’s Nationals are 7-3 in their last ten, and 74-48 overall, with a big 14.0-game lead in the NL East.

It should be a nice test for both teams. Before they get going at 8:10 PM EDT in Texas, catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news...


Nationals Inbox: Will club be at full strength
"Unless Werth comes back clearly hobbled, I would be shocked if he didn't take over as the full-time starting left fielder."

With injuries ravaging lineup, bullpen finally carrying Nats
"The Nationals do keep finding ways to win, no matter the cast of characters. For four months, they asked the league’s most productive lineup to carry the load and cover for a struggling bullpen."

Nationals bullpen, until very recently a glaring weakness, is now a fearsome strength
"The relief corps was dreadful, the weak link on an otherwise championship-caliber ballclub. At the time of the trade, its 5.27 ERA was the worst in baseball."

Michael A. Taylor’s Immediate Impact
"Taylor has matured remarkably this year, and he’s really grown into his role and become a leader on the field."

Treinen turns season around after trade
Since getting to Oakland, Blake Trienen appears to have found a groove, pitching to a 2.65 ERA in the green and yellow.

Why Max Scherzer initially picked college over the pros
Coming out of high school, Max Scherzer could have gone pro, but also had the option to go to University of Missouri. He chose the latter in what he called a no-brainer -- the Cardinals picked him in the 43rd round in 2003, and the DBacks picked him 11th overall three years later after some time at Mizzou.


MLB pennant race, standings: 4 mid-week series to watch
"For the Nationals, the season's final 40 games are a mere formality but ravaged by injuries, they they need to get their affairs in order."

National League Division Leaders Collide as the Washington Nationals Host the Los Angeles Dodgers on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball September 17
"On September 17, National League division leaders will collide as the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and Cody Bellinger visit the NL East-leading Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper."

MLB power rankings: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians rising
"Stephen Strasburg rejoins a rotation that has a 1.86 ERA in last 10 games."

MLB 2018 free agent class: Gauging market as stars hit bumps in road
"The Washington Nationals snagged Murphy for three years and $37.5 million. That may represent the floor after next year."

Yet again, bullpens look like they'll be pivotal piece of postseason
Taking a look around the league, there are a few different strategies as to how bullpens will be handled come October -- including the good ol' "Andrew Miller" strategy and the "straight closer" strategy.


Chiefs fall in tenth to IronPigs
"Jayson Werth went 1-for-3 and Trea Turner went 0-for-3, and each played five innings in the field. Enny Romero also pitched on Major League rehab, and struck out the side in the seventh."

Minor League Monday: The Auburn Doubledays mold the next generation of Nationals pitchers
"The Nationals’ 2017 first-, second-, third-, and sixth- through ninth-round picks are all currently members of the Doubledays’ pitching staff."

Scouting Report – Jose Marmolejos 1B/LF
"The 24-year-old Marmolejos is listed at a stocky 6-1 185lbs, with thick legs and little physical projection remaining."

MLB - Fantasy baseball - 30 Triple-A prospects to consider in fantasy baseball
"Simply because of all the injuries the Nationals have endured this season, they're going to need some bodies on the bench."