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Wire Taps: Bryce Harper “long ways” from running; Matt Albers, Oliver Perez having career years; 6-man rotation down stretch?

Catch up on the latest Nationals news before the start of the four-game set with the Brewers in Milwaukee.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, let’s talk clinch scenarios. The Nationals have a magic number of 16, which means that they have to either win 16 games, the Marlins have to lose 16 games, or, most likely, the two teams have to combine for 16 Nats wins and Marlins losses. Any guesses? The guess here is in mid-September, some time during the Braves series at home.

Here’s the latest from Milwaukee.

Harper, frustrated by not being able to play, a "long ways from running"
Bryce Harper, who revealed that he's also suffering from a left calf strain in addition to his bone bruise, isn't close to returning yet, and there's no timetable set. Yikes.

With Trea Turner back, Wilmer Difo will be finding playing time pretty much anywhere
Right field? Sure. Shortstop? Why not. Second? Yup! Third? You betcha! Pitcher's mound? Okay, maybe let's stop here.

Max Scherzer start moved to Sunday, Nats may go with 6-man rotation down stretch
Dusty Baker, with the hopes of having a lot of baseball ahead of the team, may introduce a sixth starter to get his main guys some more time to relax (and fewer innings).

Strasburg just a "big, hairy, scary, furry animal out there"
Everyone seems to have a reason to hate Stephen Strasburg, even though he's not inherently hateable. When you crunch the numbers, though, Strasburg is up there with the best of the best of the best.

Albers, Perez quietly having career years in shadow of new bullpen acquisitions
Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Sean Doolittle. Yeah, we know them. What you probably didn't notice was that Matt Albers and Oliver Perez have completely defied all expectations set for them earlier this year.

Max Scherzer did what very few pitchers have done lately: Shut down Giancarlo Stanton
Almost every pitcher in the Majors, at some point, will be embarrassed by Giancarlo Stanton. That's seemed even more inevitable for the last month. Somehow, Max Scherzer got out of it.

Harper effect: Nationals change bases more often on rainy night after horrific injury
After a wet first base bag caused Bryce Harper to bend his knee in a way that knees simply should not be bent, the Nationals Park ground crew decided that the next game with rain would not cause the same fate, switching out bases considerably more often on a wet night.

Expos fans hate sight of Tim Raines induction into Nats Ring of Honor
Perry Giannias, an Expos fan, thought that the Nats were better off sticking to the Nationals and D.C. baseball history. Most D.C. fans agree. Are we finally getting along?

Top Prospect Performers: Seth Romero
Seth Romero hurled five nearly perfect innings in Auburn on Wednesday.

Stephen Strasburg has been vintage self since return from DL
Stephen Strasburg pitched his second career shutout on Wednesday afternoon, and showed Nats fans just how valuable he could be to a potential World Series run.

The SB Nation mothership got mad about the Nationals' response to Strasburg's home run
Blah blah blah, relaaaaxxx it's not like you won a playoff series or anything YEAH, THANKS, WE KNOW.

Today’s Game: Nationals vs Brewers — 8:10 PM
Probable Pitchers: Gio Gonzalez vs Zach Davies
Magic Number: 16