The Nationals did the most annoying thing possible against the Braves: they neither gained or lost any ground in the division. They remain stiflingly mediocre.
Here’s what’s going on in Chicago:
Rebounding Roark (The Nats Blog)
Tanner Roark had a 7.11 ERA in nine starts. Hitters used him as batting practice with a .963 OPS, and got similar fielding results with a .394 BABIP against. Then, Brandon Kintzler (sigh) pointed out a flaw in his sinker delivery, the usage of which he's upped since the All-Star Break, along with his four-seam. Now, he's back to jamming righties and locating against lefties.
Nats welcome back ‘good’ Gio Gonzalez and suddenly feel better about themselves (WaPo)
There are a lot of Facebook puns in here, but there's another important point: if Gio Gonzalez can get back on track like he did yesterday and join Tanner Roark in a revival tour, then the Nats may have some stability and hope down the stretch.
Pressed into duty, Michael A. Taylor comes through for the Nationals (WaPo)
Michael A. Taylor laid out for a spectacular catch in the sixth and smacked a homer, a reminder that, despite his playing time being limited recently, he still presents a very legitimate option for Davey Martinez.
Dominican league blasts Braves announcer for Juan Soto comments (Yahoo!)
First, the DPL called for Joe Simpson to be punished. Then, they called out Simpson's comments and his naivety. Then, they got a little personal.
The league has not caught up to Juan Soto, whose chief concern is his next at-bat (WaPo)
From day one, Soto was baseball obsessed, working and then getting his rest. He jokes around but remains quiet -- unless he's talking to Davey Martinez about his last at-bat. He owns the batting cages and the batter's box, and has a devastating command of the strike zone. Beyond anything, he loves being a ballplayer.
Top prospects that could help contenders (MLB.com)
Victor Robles doesn't have a clear path to playing time, but he may be the best option the Nats have in the outfield in terms of offense and defense.
Bryce Harper scratched from lineup (MLB.com)
"It's pretty swollen still," manager Dave Martinez said. "Rather than him try to play through it, we thought the best option would be to have him come off the bench."
Juan Soto, Joe Simpson, and When Commentary Becomes Defamatory: A Legal Primer (Fangraphs)
In other words, hypothetically, could Juan Soto successfully sue Joe Simpson, even though he won't? Let's get way into D.C. law, Guilford Transp. Indus., Inc. v. Wilner, special and nominal damages, and his $1 verdict. (Apparently, he could win?)
Bryce Harper is coming to Wrigley … but Javier Báez will probably steal the show (The Athletic)
The Nats and Cubs will meet for the first time since last year's NLDS Game 5 that got Dusty Baker fired. There's a lot to think about: Is this Harper's last trip to Wrigley while he isn't a Cub? How will the Nats react to Brandon Kintzler? But Javier Baez may overshadow it all by the end of the weekend.
Katie Ledecky will hold a meet-and-greet with fans at Nationals’ first ‘Swim Night’ (WaPo)
With your meet-and-greet with one of the greatest of Olympians of all time, you can get... a swim cap?
‘It’s Jayson Werth!’: Bearded retiree makes surprise cameo in local men’s league (WaPo)
"I didn't come here to walk," Werth told the pitcher before promptly knocking a 3-0 slider way, way, way out of the park.