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Wire Taps: Stephen Strasburg shines, Nationals lose; Sean Doolittle-less bullpen implodes; Hunter Strickland breaks nose, can still pitch

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the 3rd of 4 in PNC Park.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Nats lost to the Pirates, which is fine—they can afford a loss every now and then—but this series likely gains some importance when you consider the fact that the Braves are currently matching up against the Marlins. In other words: not a great time to give them a chance to gain ground.

Here’s what’s going on at PNC Park:

Nationals’ Hunter Strickland says he broke nose in weightlifting accident (WaPo)
Note that Strickland did not post a photo of himself on his Instagram page, but instead used a game photo from before his broken nose. If anyone has images, please share. (Also, Roenis Elías will throw a bullpen on Thursday, and if Joe Ross can heal up for Saturday, the start is his.)

Sean Doolittle says he must earn back Nationals closer job (WaPo)
Very kindly talking about the rest of the Nats' bullpen as if it wasn't drastically less capable to do his job, Doolittle claimed that he had to pitch better to get his job back (which, in fairness, is sort of true). The good news is that after he strengthens up his knee, which has been barking for a while now, and gets some more rest, the rest of his mechanics may well snap back into place.

Strasburg cruises, bullpen blows up in 4-1 loss (MASN)
Wander Suero couldn't get a hold on how his cutter was moving, and the lefties teed off to load the bases with nobody out.

Now on IL, Doolittle knows he must "hit pause and reset" (MASN)
“This has been something I’ve been dealing with for quite a while,” the lefty said Monday. “I’ve just been finding a way to get it done. But the last two weeks have been so bad, the results. Enough’s enough. We have to hit pause and reset.”

If leg heals quickly, Ross will remain in Nationals rotation (MASN)
Ross, after his stellar August, has only one more obstacle to clear before he gets a full-time spot in the rotation: his leg, which was still causing him to limp as of Tuesday afternoon. Erick Fedde will be ready, though, if Ross is still sidelined after a line drive into his shin on Monday night.

Bullpen’s first tight night without closer Sean Doolittle does not go well (NBCSW)
Wander Suero got the eighth inning, and promptly loaded the bases without recording an out. Then, fireman Daniel Hudson came in and accidentally spilled a little more gasoline on the fire. It's not a time to panic, but it is a frustrating side-effect of Sean Doolittle's overuse. (Also, Davey Martinez brought in his best guy for the biggest moment of the game... and it also didn't work. Baseball, huh.)

Stephen Strasburg throws seven shutout innings in loss (
Stephen Strasburg pitched seven stellar innings, and then things fell apart pretty quickly after that.

Hunter Strickland injures himself in weight room accident (
A weight bar hit Hunter Strickland in the face as he was exercising, but he was still technically available to go last night and won't see the IL. It's the "second mishap leading to a facial injury this season," which is an odd stat.

Eighth-inning eruption dooms the Nationals, who go cold in Pittsburgh for a 4-1 loss (WaPo)
The Nats' offense was bound to cool off at some point, but most teams need more than one run to win a game. With that said, it looked like the Nats were about to pull it off until they decisively did not at the very last moment possible.

Strickland breaks nose weightlifting but OK to pitch (Nats up 1-0) - Nationals Pastime
Strickland's X-ray came back negative, though it's just about as funny as bunting a ball into your own face.