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Wire Taps: Bud Norris deal with Nationals falls through; Nats vs. Phils becoming rivalry; Combined no-hitter in AA...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of this weekend’s three-game set with the Pirates...

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Nats finally play a non-division game today. Well, today may be wishful thinking, given the ≥50% chance of thunderstorms from 2 PM on. The good news is that this team is stellar at dealing with rain delays.

Here’s the news from Washington:

Nats' runaway win caps strong NL East stretch (MLB.com)
“Today was a nice game," Martinez said. "There’s still so much baseball left. We joke around all the time amongst ourselves, we always say, ‘What game is this today?’ And it’s game 11. So there’s a lot of baseball left, and we’re going to enjoy all of it.”

Nats' Bud Norris deal falls through (MLB.com)
Norris had done some work in West Palm before Mike Rizzo and his team decided he was too far from being major-league ready to make an impact.

Nationals-Phillies, long a war of words between fans, is finally becoming a rivalry on the field (WaPo)
Bryce Harper's arrival in Philly has made Nats fans angrier than almost anything in team history. The Nationals don't claim that it's a rivalry now, but the fans think differently — or at least, the fans think it's more of a rivalry then the days of "Natitude Park."

Trevor Rosenthal climbs out of the abyss and finally records an out for the Nationals (WaPo)
Davey Martinez handed Trevor Rosenthal the ball in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday night with one objective: get three outs, and get back into the swing of things. It took more than it should have — three walks and a run — but he got there.

Juan Soto’s feedback for the designer of his Nationals bobblehead: Make me smile. (WaPo)
The first prototype of Juan had him with his mouth closed. He wasn't a fan and asked for a smile, which he got, although it's slightly offputting.

Four unsung heroes from the Nationals’ 4-2 road trip (The Athletic)
Jeremy Hellickson got the job done against the odds, Yan Gomes made consistent contributions at the plate, as did Howie Kendrick, and Joe Ross looked like a legitimate relief option.

Exactly where they need to be (Sweetspot — Nationals Baseball)
"The Nats still have a leg up on these teams, a slight advantage that over the long haul could push the Nats to another division crown... but they can't slip. They may need some luck, too."

Nationals prospects throw combined no-hitter (MLB.com)
Erick Fedde, who should be in Triple-A but is stored in Double-A for quick access to the big leagues, didn't allow a hit over six innings, after which Jordan Mills and Aaron Barrett got the job done without giving up anything else.

Noll hits first homer, Crowe dealing for Senators (MASN)
Jake Noll, back in the minors after his cup of coffee in Washington, slammed a homer in Salt Lake, while Kyle McGowin went 5.2 scoreless innings.