Today, the Nats are going to start a series with the Phillies. Ideally, they would take three of four and gain two games on Philadelphia. It requires hitting. At the moment, it feels unlikely.
Here’s the scoop from south Pennsylvania:
Jayson Werth, long the shaggy-haired soul of the Nationals, retires at 39 (WaPo)
Jayson Werth had been recovering for a few days at home in Virginia, hanging out with his family. Then he was healthy, and it was time for him to go back to Tacoma to grind it out in Triple-A, where he could sustain a serious injury. He decided to stay at home, and feels liberated by the decision, which ends a long career of putting things in the right place.
C-Flap helmets may look weird, but MLB stars are picking safety over aesthetics (WaPo)
Bryce Harper made a change heading into the season: to add a piece of plastic to his helmet. He had never been hit in the face before, but he didn't see a difference, and didn't want to risk an injury. Why not, right? Many other Major Leaguers asked the same thing this year.
Daniel Murphy has taken up the electric therapy regime Ryan Madson swears by. He says it helps. (WaPo)
Ryan Madson gave the unorthodox approach credit for reviving his career. Murphy turned to it to help his knee, and so far, he's feeling the benefits.
After calling it a career, Werth's legacy in D.C. is complete (MASN)
Werth always claimed that he had at least five or six years left in him, that his nutrition and lifestyle would carry him there, and he believed that at the beginning of the season with Seattle's Triple-A club. Then he looked at himself, his injuries, and the market — and that was that.
Jayson Werth retires with no regrets (Fanrag)
"No regrets, man."
Soto working his way into Rookie of the Year conversation (MASN)
There's no unanimous, Cody Bellinger-esque favorite that has captivated the entire league this year — and Juan Soto, leading the NL in OPS, average, OBP, and slugging for rookies, seems to have a pretty decent case.
Nats contemplate how to get out of second big offensive funk of season (MASN)
The Nationals scoreless streak reached 18 innings. How will they break it?
Nationals fans ask about offense, baserunning (MLB)
"This can be one of the best offenses in the NL. There are several good hitters (Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner) due for a huge bounce back to their usual production, and combined with improved health from others, the Nats should get clicking once again."
The Rays Played a Pitcher at First Base (Fangraphs)
The Rays have either traded or lost to injury nearly every productive player on their roster. Thus: a pitcher at first base in the top of the ninth of a one-run game. Kevin Cash's gamble paid off, in part because of Anthony Rendon not making contact, and in part because of the next pitcher preventing Bryce Harper from timing him up.
Aaron Barrett, coming off of Tommy John and a snapped arm, reflects on his winding path towards Washington (MiLB.com)
There was no chance that Aaron Barrett could possibly return — or at least, that's what doctors told him. A few plates and screws in the elbow later, Barrett has slowly worked his way towards returning, with his first stop coming with the Auburn Doubledays. One positive of the grueling recovery: he got to see the birth of his first daughter.