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Wire Taps: Nationals take 2nd half opener; Nats and Orioles back in court... no really; Max Scherzer pushed back...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the second of three with the Phillies...

MLB: JUL 12 Nationals at Phillies Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Max Scherzer had his start pushed back. Stephen Strasburg tossed six scoreless on a night he didn’t have his best stuff. The Nationals and Orioles were back in court. No really. They. Are. Still. In. Court. We don’t know what else to say about that. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Max Scherzer pushed back:

Max Scherzer pushed back "a couple of days," Sánchez to start Sunday - (MASN)
"The skipper said they will move veteran Aníbal Sánchez into Scherzer’s spot Sunday."

Max Scherzer to miss Sunday start with back soreness; next start uncertain - (WaPost)
"The Nationals ace had an MRI over the break and threw from 75 feet Friday without issue."

Scherzer to miss start with back tightness - (MLB.com)
"The three-time Cy Young Award winner first felt some discomfort after his June 30 start against the Tigers, but his back responded well enough to pitch Saturday against the Royals."

Stephen Strasburg vs the Phillies:

Strasburg battles through early jam to top Phillies 4-0 - (MASN)
"The Nationals provided quick run support and Strasburg got out of an early jam, then fought through six innings in a 4-0 win at Philadelphia before a sold-out 42,318 at Citizens Bank Park."

Nationals pick up in second half where they left off in first — with a win - (WaPost)
"Stephen Strasburg throws six scoreless innings and bullpen seals deal for a 4-0 victory over rival Phillies."

Stephen Strasburg shuts down Phillies to start 2nd half - (MLB.com)
"Strasburg once again didn't have his best stuff against the Phillies, but he managed to work around seven hits and a walk over six frames, while striking out six batters."

Other Nationals Links:

Grace focusing on craft despite lack of use (Nats win 4-0) - (MASN)
"After making 28 appearances in the first two months of the season, left-hander Matt Grace has been called upon only nine times since June 1."

Nationals mailbag: Washington looks to stay hot as second half begins in Philadelphia - (WaPost)
"Answering questions on the upcoming trade deadline, Gerardo Parra and who should fill out the Nationals’ rotation next week."

Nationals place Jonny Venters on the IL, shift minor league pitchers in advance of second half - (WaPost)
"... the Nationals also transferred three pitchers — Erick Fedde, Austin Voth and Kyle McGowin — from Class AAA Fresno to Class AA Harrisburg the same night. The move was seemingly made to have all three available on short notice for the second half..."

Will Anthony Rendon reach a point with Washington the way Nolan Arenado did with Colorado? - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon are forever running parallel."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Phillies come out of All-Star break with a dud, getting shut out by Nationals - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"Nick Pivetta lasted just five innings. The offense was shut out for the fourth time in the last six weeks."

7 Burning Questions For The MLB Stretch Run - (FiveThirtyEight)
"Washington is also now likely to make the playoffs (58 percent), while Philly has just a 38 percent chance of getting into the postseason."

Leadoff: As season resumes, Braves rank among MLB's top five teams - (AJC.com)
"As the Braves return to action from the All-Star break, they’re generally viewed – at least for the moment – as one of MLB’s five best teams."

30 Fantasy Baseball thoughts from Week 15 of MLB Action - (Fake Teams)
"Max Scherzer has the highest K% since June 1st but honestly who is surprised at this stat?"

The 2019 FanGraphs Franchise Player Draft: Picks 1-15 - (FanGraphs)
5. Anthony Rendon - "Since the beginning of the 2017 season, his WAR is fourth in all of baseball. He has 144 wRC+ over that period and a 23.6 defensive rating. Rendon is a consistent hitter and an above-average third baseman."

NATIONALS VS ORIOLES (YES, IT’S STILL IN COURT):

Orioles ask court to refuse arbitration decision with Nats - (FOX Sports)
"Lawyers for the Baltimore Orioles were met by skeptical questions from a judge they asked to reject an arbitration decision from baseball executives awarding the Washington Nationals $296.8 million for their television rights from 2012-16."