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Wire Taps: Nationals sign Greg Holland (again); Juan Soto, Max Scherzer progressing; Erick Fedde pitches well again...

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

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Nats, despite all the trauma of the last week, somehow still have a 1 game advantage on the first Wild Card slot in the NL. Their magic number for the Wild Card is 44, if that’s a thing we can even possibly comprehend at this point. Deep breaths.

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

Nationals walking a tightrope down the stretch as Juan Soto injures ankle and they await Scherzer’s return (The Athletic)
Other teams—looking at you, Dodgers—can take their punches and still contend like nobody's business due to their crazy levels of depth in the minors. The Nats do not have anything near that depth, meaning that if one of the players who they rely on every night goes down, they're in serious trouble. Knock. On. Wood.

Victor Robles outfield assist sparks Nationals (MLB.com)
Robles threw 99.5 MPH from 220 feet. Joey Votto did not slide, because he knew where it was headed. The least exciting "exciting" play of the season.

Juan Soto ankle X-rays negative, day to day for Nats (MLB.com)
Davey Martinez thought Soto had ruptured his achilles. Instead, he dodged a huge bullet, only rolling over on his ankle — meaning he may well be back on the diamond today.

Greg Holland deal with Nationals (MLB.com)
"Holland, 33, has also suffered from some declining fastball velocity this season, with his four-seam averaging just 91.6 mph, the lowest of his career and well below his career average at 94.8 mph or even last season’s average of 93 mph. His 11.9 swinging strike rate this year is also a career low."

Greg Holland, Nationals agree to minor league contract (WaPo)
This is the Nats' second reclamation project with Greg Holland — this year, it's his control issues that pose the greatest problem alongside diminished velocity.

Dinged-up Nationals put their depth on display, hold on for a 7-6 win over the Reds (WaPo)
Despite a late homer and error that benefited the Reds, the Nats—mainly Sean Doolittle—were able to hold on in the top of the ninth as a 7-2 lead became a 7-6 lead, which doesn't inspire lots of confidence in the state of the bullpen.

Nationals injury updates for Juan Soto, Max Scherzer, Howie Kendrick (WaPo)
"Martinez said he did not expect Howie Kendrick to need extra time to find his groove because he hit off the velocity machine while he was sidelined and continued “getting ready.”"

Nats to open 2020 at Mets, will face entire AL West (MASN)
For the first time since 2005, the Nats will play in Dallas, Texas. For the first time since 2019, the Nats will open the season with the New York Mets.

Updates on Soto, Scherzer, Elias and more (MASN)
Soto almost got to play last night but ultimately was forced to sit out; Max Scherzer will throw a sim game today; Roénis Elías has jogged and thrown off flat ground but has yet to toe the rubber, though the team anticipates he might by week's end.

Fedde sharp again, bullpen hangs on for 7-6 win (MASN)
Erick Fedde didn't exactly have it together early on, but he held up his end of the bargain with six innings of two-run ball that continued his impressive run after the All-Star break.

Asdrúbal Cabrera gives Nationals options (WaPo)
Cabrera will never match Howie Kendrick's smooth swing or Michael A. Taylor's serious speed, but he can uncork a homer every now and then and has more consistency to offer than Adrián Sánchez did. (Also: the Mets were apparently in on Cabrera, but he opted for the Nats instead.)

Nationals’ 2020 schedule breakdown and highlights (WaPo)
The Nats' whole season will build up to September, during which they'll play 22 games against NL East opponents.

Nationals 2020 schedule released (MLB.com)
"Next season’s Interleague matchup will be against the American League West, and includes trips to face Seattle (April 13-14), the Angels (May 11-13) and Texas (May 26-28). This will mark Washington’s first visit to the Rangers since June 2005 and its first games at the new Globe Life Field, which opens next season."