The Nationals finally reached the .500 mark, which means that we’ll need to find a new intro to Wire Taps on a daily basis. Unless they fall back under by a bunch, which will be simultaneously painful and provide something to gripe about for this blurb. But in the meantime, we can rue the fact that this offense is so homer-dependent. Try a single for once in your life, Kevin Long!
Here’s the deal from Detroit:
Adrián Sanchez, Nationals’ second-longest tenured player, is running out of options and time (WaPo)
Adrián Sanchez is the preferred extra infielder for these Nationals — but after this season, he'll be out of minor league options, meaning that the 1000+ games he played in the minors, all the miles on his Toyota Highlander with his wife and daughter, and all the painstaking efforts he puts in with the big-league club could finally all go by the wayside.
The Nationals Face a Rapidly Closing Window (Fangraphs)
The Nats underperformed drastically in 2018, and fell out of the postseason race by the All-Star break. This year, they underperformed at the start but have rounded into form as the season progressed — but with the window closing so rapidly, is it worth it to keep the gang together, or should Mike Rizzo pull the trigger on trading Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, and Max Scherzer? There are no conclusions other than that these three players represent monstrous decisions for the ballclub.
Rosenthal: My All-Star picks include great players at every position — but some stars are conspicuously absent (The Athletic)
Ken Rosenthal is pretty clear: Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, and Max Scherzer deserve to be All-Stars in his book.
Bowden: Who’s leading the Rookie of the Year races? The June Rookie Tracker has new and unexpected names entering the mix (The Athletic)
Robles is hitting .242 with 11 homers — good numbers, but certainly not Rookie of the Year numbers, unless things seriously pick up in the second half.
Nationals agree to terms with two players from 2019 MLB Draft (MLB.com)
Drew Mendoza and Matt Cronin are now officially Nationals.
Nats to wear 1969 ’Spobacks; Royals Will Also TBTC (Uni Watch)
Paul Lukas, the first source on all things sports unis, says that he's "more than fine" with this move and thinks it'll be a "good history lesson" for younger fans.
Soto now putting up better numbers than as rookie (MASN)
Last season, Soto finished with a .292 average, a .517 slugging percentage, and a .923 OPS. Currently, he's at .302/.525/.925. His defense has improved. He's taking his walks. Somehow, he's better. Now, please, everyone go knock on wood.
Ex-Nationals reliever Trevor Rosenthal reportedly agrees to minor league deal with Tigers (WaPo)
Trevor Rosenthal will get all the time he needs in the Detroit farm system — he's low risk, and high reward.
Nats hit 4 homers for sweep of Marlins (MLB.com)
The last time the Nats played the Marlins, they were 19-31. Now, 21 wins and 9 losses later, they've finally leveled things off at .500. It's a pretty rare feat: the last team to come back from 12 games under .500 before July were the playoff bound 2009 Colorado Rockies.
Nationals complete series sweep of Marlins, climbing all the way back to .500 (WaPo)
Despite a poor start from Stephen Strasburg, on the backs of Matt Adams, Kurt Suzuki and Victor Robles, the Nationals were able to finish the long, winding climb back to a .500 record. They're finally having fun as a group, and it's showing both on and off the field. Now, the challenge: build off the .500 record.
With sweep in Miami, Nats complete climb back to .500 (MASN)
The bullpen is somehow, some way, finding outs. The offense is potent; the rotation is by and large dominant. The clubhouse is unified. And finally, finally, finally, they're back to .500 exactly 80 games into the season.
Taylor says Robles is learning how to make big plays in outfield - Byron Kerr
"His confidence is growing out there. That’s the kind of aggressive play you want to see out of your center fielder. It’s great to see him grow into that," Taylor said of Robles.