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Wire Taps: Matt Grace opens for Nationals; Nats lose three straight; Kyle Barraclough continues to struggle...

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

Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Three straight losses. How’d that happen? With one left with Los Angeles before three more with Atlanta, it’s an important stretch for Washington, after they fought their way back from a dismal start to the season. Will they salvage the series finale with the Dodgers in Nationals Park? While you wait to see, read up on the latest news. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Opener:

Davey Martinez did research before putting Matt Grace in to start (Nats fall 9-3) - (MASN)
"Martinez said the decision to start Grace took about a week of planning and was based on how many left-handed hitters that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts puts out on his lineup card."

Grace has good opening, but Ross struggles in 9-3 loss to Dodgers - (MASN)
"The Nationals have suddenly lost three in a row. It’s the first time Washington has lost three or more in a row since the four-game sweep at the hands of the Mets May 20-23."

For openers, Dodgers expose Nats’ issues in back of their rotation with 9-3 rout - (WaPost)
"And so the afternoon ended with the Nationals facing a familiar question, yet again, as they hope to avoid getting swept at home Sunday: What should they do about the last spot in their rotation?"

Nats' opener strategy works ... until it doesn't - (MLB.com)
“'The first part of the plan was really good,' Martinez said. 'I wish I could've sent Gracie out a couple more innings. He did his job. He was really, really good.'"

Barraclough back to Double-A:

A lost season for Nationals’ reliever Kyle Barraclough continues - (NBC Sports Washington)
”Again Friday, the state of the Nationals’ bullpen was exposed.”

Barraclough returns to Double-A after blown lead - (MLB.com)
"Barraclough’s first season in Washington has been a disaster, posting a 6.66 ERA in 33 games with a 1.75 WHIP and a 30-to-12 (2.50) strikeout to walk ratio."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Nationals’ Sean Doolittle shows support for DC’s summer reading program - (WTOP)
"Sean Doolittle of the Washington Nationals took part in D.C. Public Library’s Summer Challenge Program Saturday and visited Cleveland Park where he encouraged his youngest fans to keep their minds active and engaged through books."

Saturday's top prospect performers - (MLB.com)
"[Steven] Fuentes has been perhaps the top breakout prospect in Washington's system this year and has been especially good since moving into the rotation full-time following a promotion to Double-A."