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Wire Taps: Does soft NL East hurt Nationals?; We may be about to see Nats at best; Bryce Harper return questions...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of tonight’s series finale with the Braves.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, so that was okay until the eighth inning, where it got really fun. Super fun. Crazy fun!

Here’s the scoop from Suntrust.

Does playing in a soft division affect a team's postseason abilities?
No playoff team will play more games against sub-.500 teams than the Washington Nationals, thanks to their incredibly weak division. How much of a problem is that, historically?

Are division winners being cheated by wild-card format?
The wild-card structure is extremely flawed, for many reasons, especially given that one team is significantly more fresh than another. How can that be fixed? (Or, does it even need fixing?)

Don't look now, actually don't, please, look away, but we're about to see the Nats at their best
The true Nationals have yet to take the field all together this season. If (and when) Bryce Harper returns, we'll finally see the full bullpen, lineup, and rotation in the same place. Which could be quite something.

Nationals' bullpen has become one of MLB's best since mid-summer revamp
Barely two months ago, Dusty Baker couldn't trust... well, anyone in his bullpen. Now, he has four or five reliable guys that he can go to. Oh, how times change!

Nats weigh options for Harper's return
Bryce Harper has progressed, and looks essentially ready to go. Now, the question isn't if Harper will come back, but instead, how soon is too soon to bring him back?

Let's talk Dusty's extension
Why hasn't Dusty Baker been formally extended? Is it because they're waiting for an opportunity to announce it? Or, perhaps, is it because the Lerners have decided to low-ball Baker again?

Which National has the best Cy Young case?
Scherzer? Gio? Strasburg? Edwin Jackson? Dark horse future Hall-of-Famer A.J. Cole?

Turner breaks single-season steals record, Zimmerman notches 100th RBI
Milestones here, milestones there, milestones... Everywhere!

Rizzo: Robles in conversation for postseason roster
Victor Robles has looked extremely impressive, and is in the conversation -- but it all depends on the health of the rest of the team.

Today’s Game: Nationals vs Braves — 7:35 PM
Probable Pitchers: Tanner Roark (13-9, 4.43 ERA) vs R.A. Dickey (9-10, 4.41 ERA)