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Wire Taps: Davey Martinez’s bullpen management improving; Nationals win laugher; Max Scherzer skips bullpen

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news and enjoy your off day before this weekend’s series with the Pirates.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Somehow, the Washington Nationals are only a game out of first place in the NL East. Teams are reverting to their means — in other words, things are going to be this interesting all year, it seems.

Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:

Sean Doolittle vs. Bryce Harper, and the evolution of Dave Martinez’s bullpen management (WaPo)
Davey Martinez struggled all of 2018 to push the right buttons in the bullpen, warming up pitchers who never entered and rushing others in. But on Tuesday night, he showed he had progressed somewhat, getting Sean Doolittle ready right on time for a pivotal at-bat against Bryce Harper and keeping him in for another four outs afterwards.

Nationals rout Phillies, wrap season-opening divisional stretch 6-5 (WaPo)
On Tuesday, it looked like the Nats were going to finish their important stretch of division play to begin the season 4-7. Two wins—a rout and a comeback—later, they come back to Washington with a winning record, largely thanks to Juan Soto, Jeremy Hellickson, Victor Robles, Anthony Rendon, and almost everyone else. Even Trevor Rosenthal got three outs!

Nats win laugher, head home above .500 (MASN)
“I said it all along: We’re playing well,” manager Davey Martinez said. “Our bullpen’s starting to pitch the way they’re capable of pitching. And we’re swinging the bats. Like I said yesterday, I’m proud of the guys. They prepare every day. They play hard every day, every out.”

Nationals hopeful Max Scherzer will make next start despite soreness (WaPo)
Scherzer got nailed in the right leg by a ground ball last Sunday, and skipped a bullpen session to compensate. If he keeps feeling better (which he did yesterday and the day before), then it seems likely that he'll make his next start.

Nationals P Trevor Rosenthal gets an out (Yahoo!)
The good news: Rosenthal finally got his out and now has an actual ERA. The less-good news: His ERA is now 72.0.

Max Scherzer forgoes bullpen session (MLB.com)
"We’ll see how he feels," manager Dave Martinez said. "He might want to come out tomorrow and throw a bullpen. It’s kind of nice that he has that extra day. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow."

Top prospect performers for Wednesday April 10 (MLB.com)
Wil Crowe went six scoreless innings, allowing one hit as Tres Barrera went 4-for-4 in Harrisburg.

Scherzer still recovering from comebacker, start in question (MASN)
“Right now, it feels like crap,” Scherzer said after the start. “It was fine during the game. I was able just to kind of keep it moving and it didn’t tighten up. But once I came out of the game, once you lose the adrenaline, it tightened up pretty good. So it kind of hurts to walk right now, but this was just a little bone bruise. I’ll be fine here.”

After 0-for-9 start, Adams looks to find his groove (MASN)
Brian Dozier looks like he's on the other end of the slump, leaving only Matt Adams hitless, which makes sense, given how irregular his playing time has been — and he knows that the problem is mainly mental.

Despite landmines, Nats surviving early NL East gauntlet (MASN)
The Nats began their season with a two-week run of games that felt like the playoffs. There's no faulting them if they're exhausted now, especially since they survived (though they didn't thrive) the first eleven games and are only one out of first. (In the meantime, the Nats have already walked off twice, taken a lead in the bottom of the eighth, come up short multiple times, and come back from a huge deficit.)

Victor Robles and Juan Soto were just a little bit excited about their clutch home runs (WaPo)
Juan Soto and Victor Robles are playing to the cameras, Statcast, and the fans. It's very fun to watch.