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Wire Taps: Nationals’ bullpen finally collapses; Ali Krieger throws first pitch; Austin Voth shut down...

Catch up to the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the series with the Dodgers in D.C.

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MLB: Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Two annual reminders that seem like they bear repeating:

  • The competitive balance tax, even if the Nats exceed it this year, would be a 50% penalty on all overages, not all the money they spent before. If they trade for a reliever who brings them, say, $4 million over the tax line, they’ll only owe another $2 million.
  • Koda Glover is alive somewhere and could hypothetically contribute to this bullpen one day, maybe?

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

Nationals' 50-game turnaround has been historic (MASN))
In 2005, the Houston Astros turned 18-32 into 89-73, the playoffs, and the NL pennant. But at the 100 game mark, even those Astros were six games above .500 — while the Nats were seven games above .500. The only team that compares at this point is the 2005 Athletics, who oddly proceeded to miss the playoffs.

Nationals drop series finale to Rockies (MLB.com)
"That the 42-year old Rodney making his third appearance in two days was considered Martinez’s best option without Doolittle is a pressing issue the Nationals still need to address and the July 31 Trade Deadline is just six days away."

As MLB struggles with attendance and to get young fans, the Nationals are letting kids eat free (The Athletic)
It's the first promotion of its kind in MLB history, though the Orioles let kids in for free. Every fan twelve and under gets a meal pack that includes a hot dog, a choice of chips or applesauce, and a water or a soda — and the Nats hope it'll encourage more fans, especially young ones, to get interested in the game.

Ali Krieger, World Cup star, throws a strike (Washington Times)
Krieger grew up in Northern Virginia before playing soccer for Penn State, and is a lifelong DC sports fan.

Soccer star Krieger celebrated before series finale (MASN)
“I’m so excited,” the 34-year-old defender said. “Obviously, I’ve been a D.C. sports fan my whole life. And I also brought my friends from home as well; we all grew up in Northern Virginia. I’m just thrilled to be here. I know the Nationals have supported me and the team throughout the tournament, and throughout my career here.”

After clutch hits, exhausted Nats bullpen takes loss (MASN)
Sean Doolittle told Davey Martinez he couldn't go today. Wander Suero had already pitched an inning for the third day straight. The other options: Javy Guerra and Michael Blazek in a one-run game. Thus: Fernando Rodney came out, and the ballpark held its breath.

Max Scherzer returns for Nationals’ series finale against Rockies (WaPo)
Scherzer and Suzuki got the nod for what was a mildly encouraging but far-from-perfect start for the Nats' ace.

Nationals can’t hold ninth-inning lead, drop series finale to Rockies (WaPo)
Against almost all the odds, the Nats crawled back ahead to a 7-6 lead in the top of the ninth. The issue: there was nobody left to pitch it.

With trade deadline approaching, Rockies series reminds Nationals of biggest lingering question (NBCSW)
"The same questions will collar Mike Rizzo during those series, and perhaps be even more exposed against the National League’s elite. Will he find bullpen help? What level will it be? When is it happening?"

Austin Voth shut down from throwing with right shoulder tendinitis (MLB.com)
Also in here is news about a name you haven't heard since the Nats were far below .500: Jeremy Hellickson is now playing catch and could throw off a mound within the next few weeks.

Voth shut down with shoulder tendinitis (MASN)
Voth looked like he may have gotten a chance to lock up the fifth starter spot. Then, a MRI on his right shoulder revealed tendinitis that the Nationals didn't want to take a chance with, so he's now sidelined.

Nationals have prospects that should interest Tigers in Shane Greene trade (Franchise Sports)
"Yasel Antuna, a switch-hitter with plenty of pop, looks a very good fit for a potential Shane Greene trade. Washington also have a pair of High-A outfielders in Gage Canning and Telmito Agustin who could be paired with Antuna in a deal."

Nationals' Jake Irvin Always Willing To Adapt (Baseball America)
Jake Irvin, who the Nats took with their fourth round pick in 2018, sees himself as a people person ready for whatever gets thrown at him, and professional ball is the first step as he learns to navigate regular use of his changeup.