It only took a few months, but the Nats are back in first place, without any friends sharing a spot. This year will be a little more exciting than last, it would seem.
Here’s what’s happening in Atlanta:
Morse, Harper, Strickland reflect on career-ending brawl a year later (USA Today)
The first words Hunter Strickland said to Dusty Baker when they met? "I'm sorry." Strickland had been planning on beaning Harper for years, and told Buster Posey to stay out of it. Bryce Harper regretted the way things went, too, but mainly for the sake of Michael Morse, who has been pretty okay with it all.
Whom will Ryan Madson, Matt Grace replace when they return to the Nationals? (WaPo)
Ryan Madson is set to come off the DL in Atlanta tomorrow or Saturday, and Matt Grace will likely return. But with contracts and new members, the Nats' pen isn't exactly an easy puzzle to crack. Sammy Solis isn't going anywhere, and Tim Collins can deny an assignment, while Shawn Kelley and Justin Miller are out of options. You can always option Doolittle, one would suppose, but it doesn't seem like the smartest move for the team.
Adam Eaton targeting June 8 return, will start rehab assignment Friday (WaPo)
Eaton feels "way better" than he did in April — more confident, more relaxed, and normal. He's also looking better than he did before he re-injured his ankle, and will head to Harrisburg on Friday.
Choose Your Fighter: Bullpen Edition (The Nats Blog)
The Nats' bullpen has been league average, but that's mainly the arms at the top, who have no help below them (though Craig Stammen and A.J. Cole are out there somewhere).
Strikeouts are fun (Half Street Heart Attack)
What's more fun? Watching Sean Doolittle react to a pop-up and pound his glove, or scream in jubilation after striking out the last hitter?
Adam Eaton begins rehab assignment Friday, leaving the Nats with a tough call (MLB.com)
Adam Eaton has been more than happy to run over the past few weeks, and the team thinks he'll be back shortly after the first day he's eligible, on June 8th, as soon as his strength is built up. But what does that mean for Juan Soto, Michael A. Taylor, and rehabbing Brian Goodwin?
Russell Martin was first drafted by Expos (MLB)
As MLB goes through iconic could-have-beens: Imagine a 2006 Nats lineup that included Ryan Zimmerman, Russell Martin, and Alfonso Soriano. Hopefully, one of them would have pitched as well.
Max Scherzer unleashes his own kind of dominance (ESPN, non-Insider)
Max Scherzer went eight innings, allowing zero runs on two hits with 12 strikeouts. For most pitchers, that would be a career night. For Scherzer, it's just another Wednesday — but, in all fairness, one during which he was very happy with his fastball that had been hard to control his last two starts.