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Wire Taps: Rough night for Nationals’ rookie Carter Kieboom; Nats try to avoid sweep by Cardinals this afternoon...

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the series finale with the Cardinals at 4:05 PM EDT this afternoon...

St Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

“You’re never as bad as you look when you lose, you’re never as good as you look when you win,” Davey Johnson used to say. Davey Martinez’s squad isn’t as bad as they look right now, but they haven’t looked great even when winning this season. Will they be able to avoid the fourth straight loss to the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon? Go read your links while you’re waiting for the start of the series finale...

NATS BEAT:

Baseball measures teams and players during ‘dark times.’ The Nats are getting sized up - (WaPost)
"Some players and teams push through to better times, when the game again treats you like a favored child. But plenty fall apart, ruining careers or seasons."

Sloppy defense dooms Nats in third straight loss to Cards (updated) - (MASN)
"Given the current state of their depleted lineup, the Nationals cannot afford to give the opposition extra runs with shaky play in the field."

Scherzer K's 8 in loss: 'You have to go forward' - (MLB.com)
"Overall, the Nats have now lost three straight games, five of their past six games and nine in their past 12 games as this recent losing stretch continues."

Cardinals get a jump on Max Scherzer, keep Nats on the skids - (WaPost)
"The Nationals had a fresh start in a new month, their best pitcher on the mound and just 3 1/2 games between them and the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies."

Carter Kieboom’s whirlwind first week with the Nationals ends with frustration - (WaPost)
"It’s been seven days since the Nationals’ top prospect was recalled from the Class AAA Fresno Grizzlies to provide a shot of energy for a struggling team."

Kieboom learning how to cope with big league struggles - (MASN)
"The Nationals don’t take lightly the decision to call up a top prospect. It’s not as simple as promoting a young player because his minor league stats jump off the page."

Nationals' new entertainment venue brings up sportsbook question - (Washington Times)
"The Washington Nationals received approval from Events D.C., the city’s convention and sports authority, to build a 35,000 square-foot restaurant and entertainment venue at Nationals Park, the Washington Business Journal reported."

Juan Soto (back) scratched from Nats' lineup - (MLB.com)
"It’s the first time Soto has complained of the back issue, according to manager Dave Martinez, who said he did not want to take any chances with his star 20-year-old. The Nats will re-evaluate Soto on Thursday."

Nationals remain undecided on career course of top pitching prospect Erick Fedde - (WaPost)
"The Washington Nationals are undecided about what to do with one of their top pitching prospects, Erick Fedde, General Manager Mike Rizzo said Tuesday."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Fantasy baseball - What the future holds for these struggling aces - (ESPN)
"His hard-hit rate's up a little bit (40 percent), but outside of his unlucky batting average on balls in play and its intertwining squashing of his left-on-base percentage, Scherzer's performance looks normal."

Cardinals stake their claim as the best team in baseball - (ESPN)
"If you are what your record says you are, then the St. Louis Cardinals are the best team in baseball."

Fantasy baseball - Daily notes, pitcher rankings and hitter ratings, plus players to add for Thursday - (ESPN)
"[Carter] Kieboom, a former first-round pick, has already popped a pair of homers since being called up last week, and on Thursday he matches up with fellow rookie Dakota Hudson."