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Washington Nationals’ lineup for series finale with the Chicago Cubs on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball

Washington and Chicago play the rubber match of their three-game set in Wrigley Field on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Murphy went 10 for 50 (.200/.231/.240) with two doubles in his first two weeks back after he returned from offseason knee surgery which led to the 33-year-old veteran missing the first 65 games of the season.

Since July 1st, however, Murphy is 39 for 109 (.358/.405/.560) with seven doubles and five home runs in 33 games, over which he’s walked 10 times while only striking out nine times.

What’s changed for him over the last few weeks in particular, over which he’s gone 14 for 37 (.378/.395/.541)?

“I don’t know,” Murphy told MASN’s Dan Kolko after a 3 for 4 game in Wrigley Field left him 6 for 8 so far in the series with the Chicago Cubs.

“I think the more at bats I was able to get the more comfortable I felt at the plate, and also I feel like as a ballclub, the last couple weeks or so, we’ve been swinging the bat better, and it’s just kind of plugged me in, and with the way [Juan] Soto and Bryce [Harper] and Anthony Rendon and all the big names we have in our lineup [have been hitting] I kind of just hide out in there and get a lot of good pitches to hit.”

“He’s healthy,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said of Murphy’s resurgence earlier this month.

“He’s getting healthy. He’s using his legs, he’s staying down and using his legs a lot better and he’s starting to feel like Daniel Murphy.”

Murphy’s return to form has coincided with Bryce Harper straightening things out at the plate, with the 25-year-old going 33 for 117 (.282/.418/.547) with seven doubles and eight home runs over 34 games since July 1st, which Martinez said is obviously important if the Nats are going to make a run down the stretch.

“It’s huge,” Martinez said. “And we’re starting to string at bats along in the whole lineup, and that’s huge. There’s no stopgap and those guys can continue to do that, and get their walks, take their walks, take their hits, drive in runs from third base with less than two outs, all those things.”

A series win over the Cubs would help the cause as well. Max Scherzer is on the mound in the series finale with Wrigley tonight.