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Wire Taps: Victor Robles’s bunting habit; Trevor Rosenthal back to ST; Nationals’ bullpen is the problem...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the 2nd of 4 with the Cardinals...

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in the debacle that is the pitching is the fact that the offense can’t seem to string together more than three runs with consistency. Also, is it time to start developing conspiracy theories about Anthony Rendon? We have our money on “in Area 51 with Elvis.”

Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:

There’s no confusion here: The Nationals can’t get relief from bullpen concerns (WaPo)
Don't let the fact that the bullpen had two good days in a row fool you: this team, which has struggled out of the gate as much as any contender, is defined by its atrocity of a bullpen that gives up more runs, hits, homers, and walks on average than nearly any other bullpen. The Nats are not winning, and their bullpen is the root cause. Everyone is tired of it already, but there are no signs of things changing.

Victor Robles Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Bunting (Fangraphs)
Robles is hitting for roughly the league average, but is electric when he gets going, especially given his power and propensity for extra-base hits. Now, forget all that: let's talk about how he's tied for the major-league lead in bunt singles, bunts more often than nearly any player in the bigs, and is successful more often than nearly any other player with a similar frequency. Heck, he had a three-game bunt hit streak, combining his speed with catching the defense off guard.

Patrick Corbin, Nats foiled by big inning (MASN)
With the loss, the Nationals moved to 1-9 in series openers on the year. Yet again, nobody in the clubhouse sounded convinced that things are going well.

One bad inning dooms Patrick Corbin, Nationals in series-opening loss to Cardinals (WaPo)
Patrick Corbin's first five starts for the Nats had been impressive, if not dominant. It looked like the Nationals were in for a similar performance on Monday night. Then, things fell apart.

Baseball teams are starting young players sooner than ever. So far, it’s a winning strategy. (WaPo)
The Padres put Fernando Tatis, Jr. in the majors long before most expected him there. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., despite the delay, still debuted relatively early. And the Nats started three players age 21 or younger on Sunday. In other words, the times, they are a-changin'.

Nats open daunting stretch with 6-3 loss to Cards (MASN)
“I was happy with how my stuff was,” Corbin said. “Just with two outs there, lefty up, gotta just do a better job there. Didn’t really throw too many close pitches there, and they were able to start a rally.”

"Uncharacteristic" walks doom Corbin in the end, falls 6-3 (MASN)
Corbin had dominated for five innings. Then he allowed two free passes, and the Cardinals quickly capitalized, opening the floodgates to a six-run inning.

Washington Nationals send Trevor Rosenthal on rehab assignment (WaPo)
“We just wanted to get him healthy," Manager Dave Martinez said. “There’s no timetable. We just have to get him built up again.”

Trevor Rosenthal to extended spring training (
“I think, talking with everybody, the general consensus is it’s not going to take long,” Rosenthal said. “It’s just a matter of getting it rolling, getting a little confidence and bringing that confidence here.”

Rosenthal heads to Florida to try to figure out control issues (MASN)
Rosenthal will rehab in West Palm until he figures out exactly what's going on with his arm and recovers from, uh, his *infection* that has seriously sidelined him. But hey, he'll get some regular reps, which he sorely needs.

Beer Guide 2019 (The Nationals Review)
Bad news from Nats Park: beer variety is down on the whole and at each stand. Estrella Jaliscos are apparently hard to find now, as well.

Sean Doolittle gets Obi-Wan Kenobi bobblehead (
Sean Doolittle is *VERY* excited.