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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals need help to clinch division today; Jayson Werth and Dusty Baker on Werth sitting...

Dusty Baker plans on starting a “Futures” team this afternoon in the Nationals’ finale with the Phillies...

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MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington could clinch the NL East this afternoon with a win over the Philadelphia Phillies and a Miami Marlins’ loss, after the Nationals’ magic number dropped to two with the Atlanta Braves’ win over the Fish in SunTrust Stadium.

If the Nats can win in the finale of their four-game set with the Phils, and the Braves can beat the Marlins, that’s it. Four division titles in six seasons. Two straight for the first time... and if not, we’ll all have to wait ‘til Tuesday...

“Hush, hush, voices carry...”

Both the Nationals and Phillies and Marlins and Braves play 1:35 PM games this afternoon. Are you ready to celebrate... cautiously with the knowledge that the challenge ahead, getting past the NLDS for the first time, is the real challenge?

Until then... links for you... and you... and you...


Phillies able to solve Jackson early in 5-4 win over Nats
"Edwin Jackson did not receive a very kind birthday present from the Phillies on Saturday night."

Nationals' bullpen shuts out Phils over 5 2/3
"As the Nationals close in on a second straight National League East title, manager Dusty Baker will need to figure out how his bullpen pieces fall into place."

Nationals’ magic number drops despite missed opportunity in loss to Phillies
"The youngest player to play in the major leagues this year should have walked when he came to the plate with two outs and the tying run on second in the bottom of the ninth Saturday evening."

Dusty Baker on Jayson Werth, plan for stretch
"Baker speaks with Werth daily, the Nationals' skipper says, and the two decided to let the starting outfielder rest through the weekend."

Stephen Strasburg to start Sunday; Jayson Werth will sit out all weekend
"Even though the Dodgers come to D.C. for a three-game set next weekend, Baker said he and the Nationals are not catering their pitching plans specifically to that series."

Baker confirms youngsters will start Sunday to give veterans rest
"Left fielder Jayson Werth is still on the sidelines with a sore shoulder. Baker said they need him close to 100 percent for the postseason."

Could the Nationals catch the Dodgers for NL's best record?
"What once seemed unfathomable suddenly is within the realm of possibility, thanks to the Dodgers’ surprising freefall over the last two weeks."


Max Scherzer quick-pitched his way to a strikeout
"Though Scherzer clearly wasn’t throwing anywhere near Herrera, he wasn’t ready. Even Matt Wieters, Scherzer’s own catcher, wasn’t ready when he went into his windup."

Nick Williams continues to pass tests as Phillies rookie
The Phillies hitting coach prepped his rookie outfielder with a warning: “This is probably the best pitcher you’ll face in this league.”

Fantasy baseball waiver wire: Finding steals and saves in September
"OF Victor Robles, Washington Nationals. Called up from Class AA Harrisburg, the Nats' top prospect could see some spot starts in the Nats' injury-riddled outfield."