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Wire Taps: Could Anthony Rendon win MVP?; Patrick Corbin wants to hit; Sean Doolittle likely to return to Washington Nationals this weekend...

Somehow, the Nats lost to the Orioles last night. If you really feel like re-living it, catch up in the last 24 hours of Nationals news and links.

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The bad news: the Nats lost to a team whose primary purpose is losing as many games as possible.

The good news: there are no rumors the Nats will move to Nashville, and they don’t owe $100+ million to the Orioles.

Here’s the news from Nationals Park:

Anthony Rendon is making a legitimate run at NL MVP and has the full support of Davey Martinez (NBCSW)
Rendon, who has caught fire in late August, may well have a case to make for NL MVP — moreso than Christian Yelich or Cody Bellinger, hard as it may seem to believe.

Red-hot Nationals shut out by Orioles in 2-0 loss (MASN)
The whole night had an air of inevitability to it: eventually, the Nats would break through. Right? And then it just didn't happen all night long. On the bright side, the Braves, Phillies, and Mets lost. Unfortunately, that's also ground the Nats could've gained that they won't get.

The Nats’ offense — balanced, exciting and old-school — has been getting results (WaPo)
Since the All-Star break and entering Tuesday, the Nats led the NL in runs, third in the majors — they did it by drawing walks and rarely striking out, hitting the ball to the opposite field, stealing bases, and not relying on the home run excessively. With that strategy, they're just .05 runs a game behind the Dodgers. It's different than previous high-homer, high-strikeout teams, though it does leave them more susceptible to injury.

Why pitcher Patrick Corbin is so focused on his own hitting (WaPo)
This year's Nationals’ rotation hasn't been great at the plate, but Patrick Corbin is legitimately determined to break through at the plate — since he never got to do it as an amateur, he hasn't gotten to compete and win, which is a big, big deal to him.

Sean Doolittle eyes return to Nats this weekend (
“I kind of needed a mental break,” said Doolittle, who took about three days off from throwing after initially landing on the IL. “That two-week stretch there was really rough. All through that process, I was looking for answers. I was trying to find things and make adjustments and none of them were working. When you’re spinning your wheels like that, it’s kind of like a really helpless feeling."

Nationals call up catcher Spencer Kieboom before facing Orioles on Tuesday (WaPo)
Kieboom will almost certainly come up to the majors come September, so this week can serve as a chance to re-acclimate himself to the majors and a revamped pitching staff. In the meantime: Brylee Drew Strickland has entered the world! Representatives from Krew Harper's camp were not available for comment.

Patrick Corbin strong, Nationals shut out by Orioles (
Despite the hottest offense in the majors, the Nats were somehow stymied all game by the Baltimore Orioles whose primary purpose this year is to lose as many games as possible. It's the first time they've been blanked since they played the DBacks on June 13th.

Davey Martinez says Sean Doolittle remains Nationals closer (NBCSW)
“I’ve been staying pretty busy,” Doolittle said. “Kind of the general overall philosophy we’ve been working with is rather than sitting around and letting it rest. I think the best way to handle this was to kind of like kickstart the engine a little bit."

Inbox: How will Zimmerman fit back in? (
Will Zimmerman and Adams platoon when Ryan gets back? Will Sean Doolittle get kickstarted with some low-leverage games or get thrown right into the mix? Does Aaron Barrett have a shot at a return to the bigs?

The woebegone Orioles leave the Nationals baffled during a 2-0 blanking - The Washington Post
"The loss reemphasized to Corbin why the Nationals need to push as hard as they can for the NL East crown. “Winning your division is so important,” he said. “If you got one game, anything can happen.”"

Doolittle's arm feels "a lot better," simulated game scheduled for Wednesday (MASN)
Sean Doolittle is working out areas that he felt lost strength over the season, taking pressure off his knee and changing his mechanics slightly. If his sim game goes well today, he could be back by the weekend, both physically and mentally refreshed, hopefully with higher spin rates.

Corbin bounces back from rocky first inning, finishes seven in 2-0 loss (MASN)
It looked like the Orioles were all over Patrick Corbin from the get-go, dropping a two-run first. Then he posted six straight shutout innings afterwards, only allowing two singles for the rest of the game in a hard-luck loss.

Gammons: Bryce Harper has dealt with the curse of unlimited potential, and still loves the game as much as ever (The Athletic)
“I’ve been dealing with it for 10 years now,” Harper said. “I have to deal with it. It’s fine. I’m playing baseball. This is what I love to do. How great is it to take BP here at Fenway? “This season is the most fun I’ve ever had. The guys on this team, the camaraderie. It’s just a different feel for me, and that is no reflection on my years in Washington. Those were great.”

Nationals Sign Josh Lucas To Minor League Deal (MLBTR)
Lucas—who the Orioles had no use for—will report to Fresno. The Nats are hoping he can reclaim his form from 2017-18, when he pitched to a 2.92 ERA in Triple-A.

Projections show Nationals are a near shoo-in to make MLB Postseason | NBC Sports Washington
"Crazy to think the team would ever be at this point, given their start. Although, the Nationals' hopes at winning the division are looking pretty bleak at this point. None of the three projections have the club higher than a 19% chance. But still, a lot better than when the Nats had 3.4% odds to make the postseason back on May 25."