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Wire Taps: Is the NL East bad?; Nationals messed up their rotation; Trea Turner may return today...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the series opener with the Cubs...

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MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, so that’s what overcoming adversity is like! It’s a good look for this team — one that looks like it’ll easily lead to a championship parade. We’ll slowly unfurl the 2019 World Series Champs banner now.

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

Gerardo Parra plays hero again, helps Nationals take series from Mets (WaPo)
The bullpen blew up once, and then teetered on the edge of explosion a second time. The starting pitcher went down with an injury. And yet, somehow, things still worked out thanks to Gerardo Parra's two-run homer and Kurt Suzuki's insurance RBI single.

Trea Turner could return from injured list Friday (MASN)
In a serendipitous and interesting coincidence, Turner could return against the team that last broke one of his fingers.

What if the National League East is just…bad? (The Athletic)
The NL East was supposed to be great, the division to beat this year. Every team made major additions and was projected to win 85 or more save for Miami. But the Phillies have the worst first-place record in baseball, the Braves the second-worst second-place record, the Nationals the worst fourth-place record. NL East teams can't beat anyone outside of the division and have abysmally low run differentials and projected run differentials. Though depressing for baseball, it means that all the holes being dug are surmountable if one team can just get it together in a big way.

Trea Turner’s looming return means it’s now or never for these Nationals (The Athletic)
Trea Turner has spent the last few days in Potomac and may finally return this week. He's a menace on the basepaths and a good defender — and since he went on the injured list, things have imploded in Washington. Once he's back, the full Opening Day lineup save for Ryan Zimmerman will be back together — meaning this team will have fewer excuses for not having things together.

Rank ‘Em Thursday: Ranking the top 10 Nationals during treacherous start to season (The Athletic)
Before yesterday, Sean Doolittle had been unflappable on an increased workload. Patrick Corbin has been stellar, Howie Kendrick has been consistent, and a few other players haven't been entirely horrible.

Nats Thoughts: Miller’s kick in the butt, Doo’s unprecedented pitches, why Gerardo Parra may be exactly what this team needs, etc. (The Athletic)
Justin Miller has enjoyed some consistency off the IL, but there's a more interesting story behind how he got to this point. Also, Sean Doolittle is definitely getting tomorrow night off, Wilmer Difo is still making errors, and Gerardo Parra is having an odd level of success.

How the Nationals won a series for the first time in a month (ESPN)
The Nationals hadn't won a series since they took two of three from the Giants in April. And despite sending out two of their three least consistent pitchers, the Nats, abetted by Gerardo Parra and some timely hitting, were finally able to string together two wins.

Nationals' Aníbal Sánchez likely headed to injured list (ESPN)
Sánchez tweaked his hamstring on a pitch to Brandon Nimmo and will probably get ten or more days off.

Nats edge Mets, look to build on win streak (MLB.com)
"[Parra’s] been tremendous,” Martinez said. “He’s a veteran guy that has played for a while, just loves to play the game. He is very vocal in the clubhouse, too, which I like, and on the bench and with everybody. But especially with the Latin players, he’s been really, really good. And he came up with some big hits today. I’m happy we got him, he was available and we picked him up, and he’s a big part of our success the last few days.”

Aníbal Sánchez injury against Mets (MLB.com)
Sanchez will likely miss one or more starts and will get an MRI this morning to further assess the damage.

Trea Turner close to being activated (MLB.com)
Turner's finger has healed up, or healed up enough for him to play. But the speed of the game has likely surpassed him over the last few weeks, and Davey Martinez doesn't want to rush him in after not seeing action since the fourth game of the season.

Those offseason fixes Nats made to the back of their rotation? They got it wrong. (WaPo)
While the top of the rotation is stellar yet again, Jeremy Hellickson and Aníbal Sánchez have been anything but. Imagine if these Nats still had Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez, who have combined for a 2.93 ERA over 13 starts this season. 2018 results may have blinded this team to real problems in their rotation that they could have well fixed by re-signing either player. It's still early, statistically speaking, but if this team wants to knock off wins in the way it needs to, consistent starting pitching will be key.

Nats overcome early injury to win first series in a month (MASN)
Erick Fedde gave up four runs in two pitches in the top of the third to erase a 4-0 lead. Then the Nats did something they haven't done all year long: they bounced back.

Nationals players to visit D.C., Virginia youth baseball leagues on May 18 (MASN)
Parents with kids in little league in any part of DC, Annandale, and Herndon: watch out for some Nats on Saturday!

The Nationals stink on Fridays and in series openers (MASN)
The last Friday win for the Nationals came on August 17, 2018. They've been outscored 48-20. They can't win series openers (which is the broader problem here because series often start on Fridays), and it's not fun to watch.