So, the Nats are one game away from dropping to .500. And they have two more games to play with the Red Sox. And it’s July.
This is not ideal.
Here’s the beat from South Capitol Street:
Nationals nearing deal with first-round pick Mason Denaburg (WaPo)
There won't be eleventh-hour craziness, but Denaburg hasn't signed a deal yet despite being in town for a physical.
Bryce Harper at first base? Only in a pinch, according to Dave Martinez. (WaPo)
Despite Harper's desire to play the position, Dave Martinez thinks that the Nats would only ever turn to Harper at first if a player (or two) went down injured in a game.
Bryce Harper open to playing first base (MLB.com)
Harper had told Dave Martinez on a few occasions that he had interest in first base -- a position that, if he did take it up full-time, would clear some of the Nats' outfield logjam.
Andujar, Soto named June Rookies of the Month (MLB.com)
Juan Soto, only nineteen, in case you somehow didn't already know, has essentially carried the Nationals in the month of June.
Anthony Rendon makes case for ASG in home city (MLB.com)
Rendon has hit .388 over his last seventeen games, and is second among NL third basemen in WAR on the season. He isn't near the top five of the NL third basemen in All-Star Voting.
Juan Soto named National League Rookie of the Month (MASN)
Soto has shined through in a month during which the Nats have lost sixteen out of 27 games, which is even more impressive when one thinks about it. His average in the nine wins? .484, with five homers.
Martinez preaching "less-is-more" approach (MASN)
Martinez watched the Chicago Cubs go through the same movie the Nationals are watching right now -- two games under .500 and 5.5 games back in the NL Central. He and Joe Maddon closed the batting cages, cancelled B.P., and things turned around. It's safe to assume that'll happen soon.
Max Scherzer records 1,000th Nats strikeout in tough-luck loss (MLB)
"This is where the test is," Scherzer said. "That even when things aren't going your way, when things are bleak, when we haven't been playing great baseball, you have to find a way to take and find certain things you are doing well and just try to build off those. That's just what the whole team has to do.
Red Sox Catcher Sandy Leon Got Owned By Max Scherzer (Deadspin)
Slider. Through the legs. Automatic take, right? Uh...
Adams could return Wednesday, Harper working at first base (MASN)
Matt Adams could come off the DL in a matter of 24 hours, while Bryce Harper is working at first in case Zimmerman, Adams, and Reynolds all go down together.