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Wire Taps: Stephen Strasburg leads charge against Dodgers; Nationals share deadline stories; Max Scherzer doubtful for start

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

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Nats are 5.5 games behind Atlanta heading into a three-game series. There are three full days left before the trade deadline. The Nats could, hypothetically, be 2.5 games back of the Braves with two new relievers ready to dominate come Thursday morning. They could also be 8.5 games back without any help for the bullpen and a ship destined to sink. Let’s have some high-leverage days, folks (though at least they most likely won’t be as insane as the trade deadline last year).

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

Dominoes, car accidents and chaos: 8 Nationals divulge trade deadline stories (The Athletic)
The rumors come constantly: on beaches, at home. Whether players pay attention or not is another question, but the travel to the new locations is occasionally perilous. Once players get there, it's normal to experience social awkwardness and be starstruck after a logistical nightmare of sprinting to stadiums. Afterwards, it's a difficult task figuring out how to fit in (which, if you're from Latin America, is much easier if there are other Latin Americans on the squad).

Stephen Strasburg shuts down the NL-best Dodgers and lets the Nationals avoid a sweep (WaPo)
Strasburg dominated the Dodgers with a fastball-forward mix of pitches that got him through seven innings of one-run ball on just two hits. He also drove in another run, meaning he finished July with six runs driven in and four allowed.

Max Scherzer 'very doubtful' to make next start (
“I want to make sure that he’s 100 percent,” Martinez said. “We need Max to be 100 percent to get us through the next few months. Regardless of how, he’s got to prove to us that he is that.”

Strasburg lights-out in seventh straight win (
"Strasburg had already been relying more heavily on his curveball this year, but that trend became more pronounced in July. Entering Sunday’s start, he has been throwing his curveball 32.9 percent of the time, the largest gap between his curveball and the rest of his pitches of the season, according to Statcast. The next-most-frequent pitch choice has been his four-seam fastball, which he is throwing just 25.8 percent of the time this month. Strasburg began the day with the fifth-most strikeouts on curveballs in baseball."

Max Scherzer is ‘very doubtful’ for Tuesday’s start against Braves, Dave Martinez says (WaPo)
“I’m not happy,” he said. “But on the other hand, we’re talking minor strain, so there’s a heck of a lot of other things that could be wrong with your body and arm and shoulder. Those are really — knock on wood, those are the bad stuff.”

Strasburg again leads the way in much-needed win (MASN)
In the meantime, Matt Adams' foot x-rays came out inconclusive due to swelling.

These Nationals never make it easy, and their pivotal matchup with the Braves is no different (WaPo)
The Nats lost the series to the Dodgers, but came away instilling confidence that they could, if matched up with these Dodgers in a playoff series, could pose a serious threat to them. Part of it has to do with Stephen Strasburg, who's more willing to deal with failure this time around. Part of it is this team's odd willingness and ability to bounce back. But to get to the Dodgers, they have to get through the Braves and the setbacks that continue to define their season.

Martinez on trade deadline and his own trade history as a player (MASN)
Davey Martinez is well familiar with the trade deadline as a player, though he never went anywhere on deadline day himself. Then again, he did get traded four times in a year, so he knows the deal.

Scherzer's chances of facing Braves dwindling (Nats win 11-4) - Nationals Pastime
"If Scherzer can’t go, the Nationals almost certainly would need to recall Erick Fedde from Double-A Harrisburg to start Tuesday. That transaction, however, would only be permissible if Fedde is replacing a teammate who goes on the injured list, because he would not have spent the minimum 10 days in the minors following his demotion Wednesday."

Dave Martinez and Adam Eaton ejected against Dodgers (
“I’m glad it got things going and got Robles in there without thinking,” Eaton said with a laugh. “I apologized to him after I was crossing paths with him so I’m glad he had a heck of a day.”

Scherzer doubtful to make next start vs. Braves (ESPN)
Scherzer felt better on Sunday, but not enough to throw a bullpen, meaning that he wouldn't be on track for a Tuesday start, though it doesn't necessarily mean he's headed to the IL.

Adam Eaton and Dave Martinez both ejected after argument in 1st inning vs. Dodgers (NBCSW)
It was the culmination of a series worth of disagreements with the umpiring crew about balls and strikes.