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Wire Taps: Nationals’ Dusty Baker on getting his middle-of-the-order bats rest; Nats’ top 2017 pick Seth Romero in Auburn...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the second of three with the Cubs in Wrigley...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Dusty Baker gave Ryan Zimmerman (0 for 5, 12 Ks in Miami) an afternoon off in Friday’s series opener in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, after Daniel Murphy got to rest on Wednesday night in Miami, and got a second day off on Thursday.

Murphy, who was 1 for 15 in the previous five games, responded with a three-hit game in which he hit his 18th and 19th home runs on the season, leading the Nationals to a 4-2 win over the Cubs.

The Nationals’ 2-3-4 hitters, Howie Kendrick, Bryce Harper, and Murphy went 7 for 11 in the first of three with the Cubbies.

“That’s big. And it was big to give Zim a day off and we gave Murph a day off two days ago prior to the off day and he came out strong, cause it looked like he was getting a little weary, so we gave him the day off and he responded big time for us,” Baker told reporters after the win.

Will Zimmerman respond with a big day this afternoon in Chicago... assuming he’s back in the lineup for the second of three in the Windy City? We’ll find out at 2:20 PM EDT.

Until then... links:


Nationals bullpen key for manager Dusty Baker
"Baker would already have guided one team to a championship, and maybe two, if bullpen struggles hadn't left him with a painful record in the biggest games he's managed."

Kintzler, Madson, Doolittle seal Nationals win
"The Nationals own a commanding lead in the NL East, and they seem almost certain to face the winner of the NL Central, where the surging Cubs hold a narrow lead over the Brewers."

Baker deploys new bullpen trio to finish off Cubs in series opener
"Tempting as it is to just hand the final three innings of a ballgame over to his new trio of experienced relievers, Dusty Baker also knows he can’t overdo it on Aug. 4..."

In potential playoff preview, Nationals’ bullpen delivers a 4-2 win over Cubs
"Baker had a decision to make with a 3-0 lead after the sixth inning. Roark was at 97 pitches and due up second in the seventh."

Max Scherzer preparing to start Monday, Stephen Strasburg making progress
"The Nationals wrestled with the idea of starting Scherzer on Sunday, which is his regular turn, but decided not to."

Taylor "looks good, he feels good" as he rehabs with P-Nats
"Taylor has hit in three games for the P-Nats, going 2-for-7 (.286) with two intentional walks, two strikeouts, two runs and a stolen base."


Washington Nationals assign first-round pick Seth Romero to Auburn
"The Nationals have assigned lefty Seth Romero to the Doubledays. Romero was the organization's first-round pick in 2017."

MLB - Fantasy Baseball Daily Notes for August 5
"Lackey has pitched well over his last few starts, but I'm still a little gun-shy here."

Cedar Rapids Kernels pitcher Tyler Watson not surprised by being traded, just where he went
"Tyler Watson said he always considered a trade a possibility. It was the team he was dealt to that caught him offguard."