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Wire Taps: Nationals drop series opener to Braves; RFK Stadium demolition; Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg chatter...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news before the start of the 2nd of 4 with the Braves in SunTrust Park...

New York Yankees v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

So do the Nationals let themselves get frustrated with the fact that as good as they’ve been since universally recognized turning point of May 24th, they haven’t been able to make up a whole lot of ground because the Braves have been every bit as good over that stretch?

“You really can’t,” Stephen Strasburg said, after taking the loss in last night’s series opener in SunTrust Park.

“You just have to focus on what you can control,” he added, “and that’s who we’ve got that day and trying to play our best baseball that day, and it is what it is, it’s completely out of our control to be honest.”

They can, however, control their own destiny in the six head-to-head games left with the NL East’s first-place club...

NATS BEAT:

Loss to Braves:

Max Fried too good and late rally falls short in 4-2 loss to Braves - (MASN)
"Fried was next to brilliant, firing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing one infield single for his 16th win."

Nationals drop opener of showdown series to Braves, dimming NL East hopes - (WaPost)
"And since the Nationals’ offense didn’t get started until the ninth and the Braves’ did just enough, Washington fell eight games back of Atlanta in the division race."

Nats held in check, fall 8 games behind Braves - (MLB.com)
"The Nats’ best chance to turn this into a division race once again started Thursday, when they began a stretch where they will meet the Braves seven times in 11 days in games..."

Random Nationals Links:

Washington's RFK Stadium to be demolished by 2021 - (Washington Times)
"RFK Stadium, the former home of the NFL's Washington Redskins, Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals and Senators, and Major League Soccer's D.C. United, will be demolished by 2021, local officials in Washington said."

Davey Martinez on big series, Adam Eaton, Roenis Elías, Sean Doolittle and more - (MASN)
"But with the National League East deficit at seven games in the division, is catching the red-hot Braves still a priority? Or are the Nats content with a wild card berth?"

Adam Eaton remains out as Nationals start critical series against the Braves - (WaPost)
"The Nationals have missed his bat at the top of their order. He was on an offensive tear and hit .329 with 12 extra-base hits, including five homers, in August."

This image of Anthony Rendon in a Phillies jersey will make Nationals fans queasy - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Avert your eyes, Nats fans. This image is NSFW in the DMV."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Pete Alonso, Max Scherzer headline close NL award races - (SI.com)
"Scherzer’s case is tarnished by his time on the IL, his performance has recently fell a bit, and he’s far behind other contenders in innings pitched..."

Strasburg opt-out seen as increasingly likely - (MLB.com)
"While one source made clear [Stephen] Strasburg has not made any firm decisions about his future, there’s increasing speculation in the industry that he will opt out of the remaining four years and $100 million left on his contract with the Nationals..."

Nationals' Stephen Strasburg increasingly likely to opt out of contract after 2019 season, report says - (CBSSports.com)
"This seems like a huge risk given how free agency has bottomed out for a few players these last two offseasons, though it must be said that the biggest names are still getting theirs, for the most part."

MLB: Nationals' Anthony Rendon making case for NL MVP - (USA TODAY)
"Still, in this year of the home run, the Washington Nationals third baseman's overall skill set casts him as a lurker in this environment. That may soon change."

On the Road: A fond farewell to the Pfitz - (MiLB.com)
"In 2020, the P-Nats, currently based in Woodbridge, Virginia, are leaving Prince William County and relocating some 30 miles down the road (read: I-95) to Fredericksburg."

Soto-Acuña debate is the new ‘Trout or Harper?’ - (MLB.com)
"We used to play the debate game with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper back in the day, and oh, how foolish we were. Trout lapped Harper and everybody else."