The Nats have played .500 ball through the All-Star Break — exactly what analysts always say is necessary to make a run to the playoffs. But they’ll have to turn it on — and it has to start with the Braves today.
Here’s the news from Nats Park:
Nationals players express concerns about Dave Martinez’s handling of the pitching staff (WaPo)
The team supported Martinez by and large, attributing his mistakes to his first shot at managing. But apparently there are some communication issues lurking, and some relievers are warming before not entering the game too often.
And you may ask yourself, well How did the Nats get here? (Sweetspot)
To quote Jonathan Larson: "How did we get here, how the [heck]?" Few things have gone right outside of Anthony Rendon, Adam Eaton, Sean Doolittle and Max Scherzer, while nearly everything else has gone wrong. The very good has balanced out the mediocre, which would leave the Nats at even -- wait, isn't their record .500?
Could Davey Martinez help keep Bryce Harper with the Nats? (MASN)
Harper has spoken the gospel of Martinez for the entire season, which has to bear the question: will he want to come back next year because Martinez is there?
A look at NL East near Trade Deadline (MLB)
"It's no secret that the top target from both an immediate and long-range point of view is Realmuto."
The Curious Case of Bryce Harper (The Nats Blog)
The question at this point isn't if the Nats can re-sign Bryce -- the question is if they should try, which relies on if he stops striking out and gets some luck, how much the team wants Anthony Rendon back, and how willing the Nats are to part with Victor Robles at the deadline.
From Arkansas to Nats Park: The story of Bryce Harper’s Home Run Derby headband (WaPo)
It doesn't make too much sense that the hottest selling city flag headband in the country sporting DC's stars and stripes comes from Arkansas, but after Harper managed to convince MLB to let him wear it during the Derby, not much has to make sense.