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Wire Taps: Max Scherzer throws early gem; Daniel Murphy + Kevin Long reunite with Nationals; Joe Dillon using science to help hitters

Catch up on the last 24 hours of Nationals news before the start of toda— what? The Nationals aren’t playing today? Who’s in charge of these things???

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at New York Mets Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing to remind you about how close Opening Day is like a dominating performance from Max Scherzer.

Here’s the beat from Palm Beach.

(15 days)

Max Scherzer puts up beginnings of a gem
If Max Scherzer continued through last night's Spring Training game — in which he put up nine strikeouts in five innings and only allowed one hit — one would assume we'd be hearing a lot more about it.

Scherzer ramps things up, Nats make six more cuts
Bryan Harper and Jose Marmolejos, along with Wander Suero, are the notable names heading down to the minor league camps.

Nationals' Max Scherzer strikes out 9 vs. Mets
Tuneups, shmuneups. Max Scherzer was pretty close to full throttle on Tuesday night, and didn't give the Mets any semblance of a chance.

Assistant Coach Joe Dillon is using science to help hitters
Joe Dillon made a valid point: baseball is the only sport that practices in conditions that aren't at game speed. But how do you simulate the pressures of a game? Simple: Move fast pitching from machines a whole lot closer. Also, the Nats are using a whole lot more stats, angles, and planes this year.

Reunited and it feels so good: Daniel Murphy, Kevin Long join forces again
Kevin Long's name came up in the Nationals' managerial discussions. It didn't happen, but he came to be the hitting coach anyways — and the talent he's getting to work with is immense.

Murphy, Zimmerman, Eaton, Taylor still fairly far from returning
Michael A. Taylor hasn't played since feeling some tightness in his right side. Adam Eaton will be back 'soon.' Should Victor Robles get his Opening Day uniform ready?

A.J. Cole still in the mix for No. 5 spot in Nationals' rotation
Cole, 25, is in the mix along with fellow right-handers Erick Fedde and veteran Edwin Jackson, who went three innings in place of Cole against Detroit and gave up one earned run in a 5-4 win.

Bryce Harper helped a woman surprise her husband with news he's becoming a first-time father
It was a pretty sweet setup.

If you have a pitching question, Brandon Kintzler already has the answer
Kintzler has amalgamated his knowledge — from trips to the DL, from indy ball, and from other top closers — into a panoply of facts and ideas that can keep young pitchers performing, and keep them healthy.

Cole feeling better after missing start with illness
After being unable to start on Monday against the Tigers due to a virus, Cole feels a lot better and is rearing to go for his next start.