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Wire Taps: Bryce Harper sits; Sean Doolittle blows first save with Nationals; Nats return to high-pressure situations

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the second of three with the Pirates in D.C.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Washington Nationals Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, that’s kind of more like it! Hopefully the blown saves—is that what they’re called, it’s been so long...—won’t continue. In the meantime, here’s what’s new in Washington, D.C.

Bryce Harper sits, but Dusty Baker says not to be alarmed
Baker made it very, very, very clear that there was nothing wrong with Bryce, that it was just a day off, stop freaking out, okay?

Sean Doolittle blows first save, Nats rally to win anyways
Sean Doolittle is now 21-for-twenty-doo, and thinks he learned a valuable lesson about not being aggressive enough coming into the first at-bats.

Let's talk final games of Nationals seasons
Worst? Probably 2008 -- Phillies 8, Nationals 3. Best? Could it really be 2016?

Who should start game 4?
Tanner Roark looked bad, but who else could pitch game four -- or would you throw Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg on short rest if you're down 2-1?

Ryan Zimmerman embraced yoga and found his swing
Ryan Zimmerman needed to make a change coming into the 2017 season, but couldn't figure out what. Last offseason, he decided to incorporate yoga, of all things. Apparently, it works really well.

Suero, Johnson, Read win Nationals Minor League awards

What, exactly, is the future of the Bullpen Bar next to Nationals Park?
The Bullpen may be shutting down for good, for real this time, in 2018. Or maybe it won't. Or maybe there will be a permanent bullpen. It's kinda hard to know, because, you know, real estate.

After a 162-game walk in the park, the Nationals will take another trip onto the high wire
The Nationals have not had a legitimately pressure-filled situation in months -- they've never once doubted how the season would end, at least the first 162 games of it. But revisiting last year's heart-wrenching 3-2 series loss to Los Angeles, well, better start taking those heart medications now.

Baker credits success to clubhouse leadership; Minor league awards
The Nats have been quiet on the outside, but well-led on the inside -- frankly, the team knows what it's supposed to do. (Also: Wander Suero won an organizational award.)

Stras, Nats host meeting of former number one overall picks
Gerrit Cole, the top selection in 2011, faces Stephen Strasburg, 2009's top choice on Friday night.

Werth, showing positive signs, says goodbye to Philly
After his customary booing, Werth doffed his helmet to the crowd, perhaps saying goodbye one last time to the place that made him as a player and then turned on him rapidly.


Kyle Hendricks may be the Cubs' guy to beat Scherzer, Nats
Hendricks has given up all of two runs in his last three starts. In other words, if there's anyone on the Chicago side of things to beat Mad Max, it's probably this guy.

Underdog Cubs relish chance to 'make some history' against Nationals
Chicago is looking at the playoffs yet again, but this year as an underdog, if not to the Nationals, then to the Dodgers, or Indians. However, the Nats apparently strike some fear in the Cubbies' hearts.

What time will the Cubs-Nats NLDS start? It's complicated
It's hard to know which series is the "A" series and which is the "B," which gets the day and which gets the night, especially with every time zone in the United States being represented. What if both teams got night games, though? What?

Following the Cubs to D.C.? Here's what you gotta know
Tickets: They're few and far between, and expensive. Travel Spirit Airlines or Amtrak, and you may only pay somewhere around $800 dollars to see the NLDS. Seriously, wait to spend your money, Cubs fans. You just did this last year. Chill out.

Today’s Game: Pirates vs Nationals — 7:05 PM
Probable Pitchers: Gerrit Cole vs Stephen Strasburg