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Wire Taps: Nationals, Anthony Rendon meet about extension; Finding a set-up man; Stephen Strasburg struggles...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the second of three with the Giants in D.C.

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

One has to wonder what it’ll take for this team to get over .500 and stay there. Or perhaps that just isn’t something they’ll do this year, given the sorry state of, uh, most things right now.

Here’s the beat from Half Street:

Tony Sipp strengthening shoulder, acknowledges game speed is tougher than expected (MASN)
Sipp is still building shoulder strength and trying to push his velocity up as he makes regular appearances in-game. This does not seem smart for anyone.

Nationals-Giants series preview: Searching for set-up man (WaPo)
Sipp, Justin Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Wander Suero, and Austen Williams all seem incapable of filling the job. Kyle Barraclough is a huge question mark, Matt Grace is struggling, which leaves... Joe Ross? (Also, it seems like Brian Dozier is in danger of losing his job to Howie Kendrick.)

Sources: Anthony Rendon, Nationals resumed negotiations today (MASN)
According to Mark Zuckerman, Rendon and Rizzo met before BP on Tuesday in the team's family room with Mark Lerner participating. There's no news on what they discussed, but it's clear that there's room for a deal to be made (or maybe they gave him his envelope like they did to Bryce). Right now, Nolan Arenado's $260 million extension is the benchmark, and it wouldn't be shocking for Rendon, who hates the spotlight, to further eschew it by avoiding a free-agency during which he would be the crown jewel of the class.

Nationals, Anthony Rendon resume contract talks - (
"Rendon, 28, has aided his own cause in those negotiations with his fast start at the plate this season. He entered Tuesday’s game with the slash line of .400/.460/.873, already worth 1.2 Wins Above Replacement, as measured by Fangraphs, with a 230 wRC+."

Anthony Rendon is on fire, but extension talks with the Nationals have yet to heat up (WaPo)
Time is running out for the two sides to come to an agreement, and before yesterday, it didn't seem like there was much momentum heading towards one.

The Orioles and Nationals Are Suing Each Other. Again. (Fangraphs)
The Nationals are probably overstating their case for the revenue they deserve, but MASN and Baltimore are also far understating it — and they're getting away with it by sending it through endless arbitrations and legal loopholes. (This time, they're holding back revenue based on pending litigation, so the Nats asked for another arbitration, so the Orioles asked for a venue change — and they have no intention of ever paying.)

Stephen Strasburg’s promising start derails in the middle innings, and the Nationals fall to the Giants (WaPo)
Strasburg looked electric: his fastball sat in the mid-90s and pounded the zone. Then Evan Longoria went yard. Then Steven Duggar went yard with a man on (a real problem scenario for Strasburg). Apparently, it was "one of those nights," which sounds like the sort of thing a team without any real urgency would say.

Martinez ejected, felt disrespected by home plate umpire (MASN)
After Tony Randazzo rang up four Nats hitters with called third strikes, Davey Martinez was irked, and made it clear to Randazzo without cursing or leaving the dugout. Then Randazzo sent Davey on his way, and he wasn't quite so pleased as he walked towards the dugout.

Little goes according to script in Nats' 7-3 loss (MASN)
Stephen Strasburg somehow allowed three homers from the Giants, the team with the worst OPS in the league and the fewest homers. The righty thought it just came down to a few pitches he didn't execute well, and in the meantime, the offense struggled to get nearly anything going.