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Wire Taps: Bryce Harper in HR Derby; SCOTUS pick and Nationals tix; Stephen Strasburg could return Friday...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the four-game “first-half”-ending series with the Mets in Citi Field.

Washington Nationals v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Well, the Nationals lost a series to the Pittsburgh Pirates and went 5-9 in their critical fourteen game stretch. We expected mediocrity, and the Nats somehow failed to even meet that expectation.

Hey, look, shiny things! The All-Star Game!

Is Bryce Harper gone this offseason? Instead of yelling about it, let’s think about it. - (WaPost)
"If money were free, and fantasies were reality, then the best possible Nats team for 2019, and far beyond, almost certainly would be built around an outfield of Harper in right field with rookies Victor Robles in center and Juan Soto in left."

Bryce Harper seeded second in Home Run Derby field (MLB)
It'll be Harper vs. Freddie Freeman in the first round, and if someone doesn't finally hit the scoreboard in deep right, then we're turning off the TV.

2018 MLB All-Star Game events and schedule: Everything you need to know (WaPo)
FanFest starts Friday, Play Ball Park opens on Friday, the Armed Services Classic happens on Friday, you can run an All-Star 5K on Saturday, and then the real festivities start on Sunday.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh piled up credit card debt by purchasing Nationals tickets, White House says (WaPo)
Believe it or not, the Nationals have somehow gotten tangled up in the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, as he racked up somewhere between $60,000 and $200,000 of credit card debt purchasing Nats season tickets and playoff tickets. Good thing they never made it out of the first round, or the numbers could be in the millions.

Stephen Strasburg to make one more rehab start before returning for Nationals (WaPo)
Strasburg is scheduled to make another rehab start Sunday, and then will likely come back to the rotation on Friday (7/20) against the Braves. He threw 34 of 57 pitches for strikes in Potomac, but his stuff is where it needs to be.

Nats unveil All-Star Pavilion at Youth Academy (MLB)
The 2,000+ square foot addition includes four covered, open-air batting cages, as well as picnic tables.

Who’s in the All-Star celebrity softball game? John Wall, Josh Norman and Jamie Foxx (WaPo)
Scott Rogowsky, host of HQ trivia, will play in the game, as will BILL NYE THE FREAKIN' SCIENCE GUY.