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Wire Taps: Nationals and Cubs play rubber match tonight; Joe Maddon protests Sean Doolittle and his toe tap + more...

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

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Summing up Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon’s protest over the toe tap in his delivery, Washington Nationals’ closer Sean Doolittle told reporters after last night’s 5-2 win for the Nats, that, “sometimes [Maddon] has to remind people how smart he is,” which is kind of spot-on analysis. Did Maddon have a point though? Don’t answer that. Go read your links....

NATS BEAT:

Nationals players connect with little leaguers - (WTOP)
"Nationals star left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin paid a call on members of the Capitol City Little League at Lafayette Recreation Center in Northwest D.C."

Strasburg gives 'pen a break, sparkles in 8 IP - (MLB.com)
"With their bullpen exhausted from the past two days, and ineffective for the entire season, the Nationals needed Stephen Strasburg to pick them up on Saturday night against the Cubs."

Nationals recall Rainey to bolster bullpen - (MLB.com)
“'He’s been pitching well,' manager Dave Martinez said. 'And he’s here to help us in the bullpen. … He’s got a live fastball, his slider towards the end of Spring Training was really, really good.'"

Miller to IL, Rainey recalled; Robles available to pinch-hit - (MASN)
"Martinez was asked how his meetings with general manager Mike Rizzo go when they speak about improving the club and eradicating weaknesses that are slowing the team down."

Soto returning to form to help Nats offense get back on track - (MASN)
"In his second at-bat, Soto did not waste any time and jumped on Lester’s first pitch, a sinker, to lace a ball deep to right field to score two runs."

Despite late controversy, Nats pull off 5-2 win over Cubs - (MASN)
"Maddon came out twice in the inning to speak with the umpire, twice delaying Doolittle."

Sean Doolittle on Joe Maddon’s protest: ‘Sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is’ - (WaPost)
"Joe Maddon noticed it while studying video of Sean Doolittle recently — that the Washington Nationals closer tapped his right foot to the ground before delivering pitches."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Cubs-Nationals: Sean Doolittle's toe-tap set Joe Maddon off - (Yahoo!Sports)
"Doolittle opened the ninth inning with a first-pitch strike to Albert Almora. Immediately, Maddon sprang into action for a heated discussion with home plate umpire Sam Holbrook."

Why the Cubs have rebounded and the Nationals haven't - (ESPN)
"Heck, these days, the Nats are thrilled just to win a series, something they did Thursday for the first time in a month."

Saturday's top prospect performers - (MLB.com)
"Nationals: Nick Raquet, LHP (No. 22) -- 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 7 K (Class A Adv Potomac) - Raquet set a season high for strikeouts and was cruising through the first five innings of his start."