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Wire Taps: Nationals rained out, doubleheader today; Joe Ross’s return cut short + more...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of today’s doubleheader with the Cubs in the nation’s capital...

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Yes there was a lot of rain and waiting around last night, but now there are two games with the Cubs today in Nationals Park, so that means like six hours of baseball starting at 3:05...

And there’s that whole Jayson Werth in the Ring of Honor thing, which will take place in the 45 minutes between games tonight...

NATS BEAT:

Nationals activate Sean Doolittle from DL - (MLB.com)
"The Nationals' bullpen struggled in Doolittle's absence, posting a 4.72 ERA since the start of the second half, the fourth-worst ERA in the NL..."

Sean Doolittle of the Washington Nationals activated off DL - (ESPN)
"Prior to being sidelined, Doolittle had been one of the most dominant relievers in the majors, posting a 1.45 ERA with 22 saves."

After two months on the shelf, Sean Doolittle is finally active again - (WaPost)
"Doolittle never thought the stress reaction in his foot would turn into a lingering injury that cost him the defining months of the Nationals’ season."

Hellickson seems ready to return, but when will he pitch? - (MASN)
"Early in his rehab, Hellickson was just soft-tossing his curveball because the wrist was still sore. Now it sounds like all systems are go."

The gap between the Cubs and the Nationals might not be much, but it feels like a chasm - (WaPost)
"Whenever the trajectory of the Nationals as a franchise is considered — not whether they’re ascending or imploding in a given season but where they fit in the sport over a period of time — it’s easiest to go back to 2012."

Difo making the most of extended playing time - (MASN)
"With Daniel Murphy now playing for another team, Wilmer Difo is getting his shot to play every day for the Nationals."

Joe Ross’s Nationals return is cut short by rain - (WaPost)
"Joe Ross’s first start in more than a year ended after five outs Friday night, with a rain delay every radar in the area predicted but that Major League Baseball seemed determined to push through."

Game postponed after two delays, true doubleheader Saturday - (MASN)
"It was, to put it mildly, an agonizing and frustrating night for anyone who set foot inside Nationals Park and endured through it all."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

An A’s Castoff Becomes a Rays Catalyst - (New York Times)
"Two weeks ago, after his team’s third consecutive shutout defeat, Washington Nationals Manager Dave Martinez vowed to finish strong."

2018 Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Year - (MLB.com)
"Dealt by the Nationals in a package for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, Luzardo rushed from high Class A to Triple-A a year later at age 20..."

An Incomplete Study of Pitchers in Blowout Games - (Fangraphs)
"When Shawn Kelley took the mound to pitch the ninth inning of the Nationals’ July 31 tilt against the Mets, the score was 25-1. The Nationals’ win expectancy was 100%. It had been 100% since the seventh."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Kevin Gausman struggles in loss to D-backs - (MLB.com)
"But after their rally fell short, the Braves saw their National League East lead reduced to 2 1/2 games over the Phillies, who beat the Mets on Friday."

Dan Straily injures oblique as Marlins fall - (MLB.com)
"Dan Straily has been an anchor and a stabilizer in a youthful Marlins rotation. But on Friday night, the veteran right-hander had his start cut short due to a left oblique strain."

Mets catcher has a bulging disk in his back - (NYPost)
"Devin Mesoraco’s season might be hanging by a thread, but the Mets catcher isn’t necessarily finished yet."

Young Phillies still learning how to win - (Philly.com)
"For Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Nick Williams, and Jorge Alfaro, it was recognizing how they were being pitched to differently after two and three times through the league and adjusting accordingly..."