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Wire Taps: Max Scherzer won’t pitch Friday; Is this the real Wilmer Difo?; Shawn Kelley homer struggles continue...

The rubber match between the Nationals and Astros starts at 8:10 PM in Houston. Till then, catch up on the latest Nats links...

Washington Nationals v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

I blame Orbit. And the offense. But mainly Orbit.

Here’s the beat from Southeast Texas.

Scherzer won't make Friday start due to sore neck
The Nats initially thought that Max Scherzer would be healthy in time for Friday's game against the Mets, but his neck is still tight, and he hasn't thrown a bullpen.

For Nats' bullpen, every pitch is an October audition
Dusty Baker has begun to audition relievers for October, instead of just holding on for dear life. Some (Doolittle, Kintzler, Madson, if healthy) are locks. Others (Grace, Romero, Albers) are likely. Then there are the wild cards.

So, uh, is Wilmer Difo good now?
Since first starting at shortstop when Trea Turner was injured, Wilmer Difo has hit .341/.403/.470. What? Is this real life? Or is it just luck? (It's luck, but not entirely!)

Nats' single-A teams have serious stadium woes
The Hagerstown Suns' stadium was built in 1930, and the Pfitz is lagging to keep up with standards. What does the future look like for the future of the Nats?

"Hey, you're really good": Anthony Rendon sums up the new bullpen
Everyone's a fan of Sean Doolittle. Everyone.

Scherzer not ready for Friday return; Madson, Jackson updates
Scherzer is still waiting to throw a bullpen, Ryan Madson went to go see a finger specialist, and Edwin Jackson's breaking ball is what's keeping him in the show.

Roark uses breaking ball to get self back into game
Tanner Roark's curveball dropped like a rock against the Astros on Tuesday night, and increased reliance on it could be his key to a respectable season.

Homers keep on coming against Shawn Kelley
Shawn Kelley, including last night's performance, has given up 11 home runs over 20 overall innings this season -- a sharp step down for someone who was once considered to be the most reliable piece of the Nats' bullpen.

Dan Kolko is engaging in a war with the Astros' mascot
Dan Kolko is a popular target, especially for opposing mascots. Especially for Orbit. Y'know what, Federal Baseball officially sides with Orbit here. At least this Wire Taps article does.

Launch angles — August 23, 2017 - Beyond the Box Score
"Now that the Nationals bullpen seems stable, the last remaining areas of worry for Washington are the team's health and Daniel Murphy's defense. The latter of which almost reared its ugly head in the process of turning this double play."