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Wire Taps: Juan Soto doubles to lead Nationals to 4-2 win over Orioles; now three with Phillies...

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After taking 2 of 3 from the Orioles, the Nationals start a three-game set with the Phillies in the nation’s capital.

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

With a win last night, the Washington Nationals finished the Battle of the Beltways with the Baltimore Orioles 5-1. Now they take on the Philadelphia Phillies, against whom they’re 2-1 thus far this season. Tanner Roark starts tonight in the series opener, weather permitting...

While we wait, catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news...

NATS BEAT:

Kintzler, Hellickson ready for rehab assignments - (MASN)
"Kintzler threw a bullpen session Wednesday, his first since going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right forearm."

Nationals catch World Cup fever - (Washington Times)
"Before Washington’s series finale against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, the Nationals’ collective interest in the World Cup was on full display."

Bryce Harper is not in denial. The Slump is a real thing — and he knows it. - (WaPost)
"In good times, the microscope on Harper is worthy of the world’s best biology labs."

Juan Soto double lifts Nationals over Orioles - (MLB.com)
"The table was set for Soto's double thanks to a leadoff two-bagger from Harper that capped off one of his most productive nights at the plate in weeks."

Max Scherzer is steady and Bryce Harper shows signs of life as Nats beat O’s - (WaPost)
"These are the quiet days for Dave Martinez and Derek Lilliquist, the days when Max Scherzer is either on the mound or in start-day silence."

Juan Soto comes through again as Nationals edge Orioles - (Washington Times)
"Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer gave up more homers than normal and center fielder Bryce Harper took far more pitches than is usually the case on Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles."

Scherzer allows two homers, but fires seven strong innings - (MASN)
"It was unusual to see right-hander Max Scherzer allow a pair of home runs and uncork a wild pitch in Thursday’s start versus the Orioles."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Most pressing question for NL East clubs - (MLB.com)
"Certainly, defensive shifts have played a role in that, but Harper is too elite of a hitter to stay this unproductive for long."

“We had a need, and he was killing it”: The Nationals found help—and a possible star—in Juan Soto – (The Athletic; Subscription ONLY)
"Before he was signed in 2015, several scouting reports had Soto as having above-average offensive tools and a smooth swing."

2018 MLB Trade Deadline: Are the Washington Nationals going to be buyers or sellers? - (MLB Daily Dish)
"In addition to a starter, Rosenthal speculated that the Nationals would be a 'perfect fit' for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto."

Nats promote Kieboom to Harrisburg - (MiLB.com)
"The Nationals promoted No. 79 overall prospect Carter Kieboom from Class A Advanced Potomac to Harrisburg on Thursday following the conclusion of the Carolina League's first half."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Kevin Kaczmarski, Drew Smith to be called up - (MLB.com)
"Shaking up their roster following a 6-4 loss to the Rockies on Thursday, the Mets made plans to call up outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski and reliever Drew Smith from Triple-A Las Vegas..."

JT Realmuto may be MLB's best catcher - (MLB.com)
"What if Realmuto is simply 2018's best all-around catcher?"

Alex Anthopoulos on state of the Braves and if they're "all in" now (AJC.com)

“LISTEN: Anthopoulos on surprising Braves and plans going forward”

The Phillies’ Nick Pivetta has deadly swing- and-miss stuff - (Beyond the Box Score)
"Pivetta is a solid young, up-and-coming starter and after getting a crack at the majors last year and finishing with pretty horrendous numbers (an ERA over six and a FIP approaching five) left a bad taste in his mouth."