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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals win 4 of 5, sweep Tampa Bay Rays; next up Atlanta in D.C. + more Nats links...

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news and enjoy your off day...

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals know where they are in the standings right now, and the odds of making it back to the postseason at this point, but they’re still grinding away. So have they just said, ‘Screw it,” let’s see what happens? A reporter asked that question last night. And, yes, they did say, “Screw it,” which got a laugh from reliever Sean Doolittle.

“There’s a familiar feeling that’s starting to come back in the clubhouse, and I wouldn’t say it’s like, ‘Screw it,’ but it’s like, ‘Why not?’ This season has been so weird, so unique already, and I mean, why not?” Doolittle asked rhetorically.

“Let’s see what we can do. Let’s our head down and grind these last like two and a half weeks out and not worry about what other teams are doing.”

Keep your head down too. Enjoy your off day. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Nationals beat Rays to complete two-game sweep - (WaPost)
"The final score, 5-3, reflected an odd and balanced effort. It was also enough for a two-game sweep that inched Washington to 16-25 on the heels of winning four of five."

Months of separation produces a different 2020 grind for Nationals - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The homestand opened Monday with another video montage of players’ family members. It was mostly kids."

Nats outplay Rays again for fourth win in five - (MASN)
"These are not the 2019 Nationals. Not in name and not in style of play. Most likely, they won’t finish the season like their 2019 version did, either. But for now, that’s not worth stressing over."

Injury updates on Soto, Kendrick, Garcia, Bacus - (MASN)
"Martinez said the team has no more clarity about how Soto injured himself: 'He just said he woke up and his elbow was really sore.'"

Soto's back, but no one wants to pitch to him - (MLB.com)
"Playing on Tuesday for the first time since last Thursday, Soto was in the lineup as the designated hitter out of caution for his throwing arm."

'Unbelievable' Doolittle is Clemente nominee - (MLB.com)
"Wednesday is the 19th annual Roberto Clemente Day. Reliever Sean Doolittle represents the Nationals as one of 30 club nominees for the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award..."

Cal Ripken, Mike Rizzo and what might have been - (Washington Times)
"It was a coincidental confluence of the day’s news. But there was a time when it looked like the two men might share something more, a moment when Ripken nearly became the manager of the Nationals."

Despite taking a licking, Kurt Suzuki keeps on ticking - (MASN)
"Whatever the case, it’s impossible not to notice the beating Suzuki has been taking behind the plate this season."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

The Nationals Probably Can’t Repeat Last Year’s Dramatic Turnaround - (Fangraphs.com)
"After 40 games — two-thirds of their season — the Nationals are 15-25, dead last in the NL East. Just two NL teams own worse records than the defending champs."

Sizing up the Miami Marlins, New York Mets and Washington Nationals with three weeks left - (Philadelphia Inquirer)
"If the season ended today, the Phillies would be in the playoffs. So let's take a look at the teams they need to hold off — the Marlins, Mets, and Nationals — to reach October."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Max Fried to return, but can Braves patch rotation for October? - (AJC.com)
"Probably every Braves backer that heard left-hander Max Fried was headed to the injured list figured that if he’s out for the season, then the Braves are finished."

'Amazing' Bohm delivers 1st walk-off hit - (MLB.com)
"Alec Bohm has earned himself a reputation only 93 plate appearances into his big league career."

Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez's last pitch to save Mets bid - (New York Post)
"Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have not seen the dry ink on a deal that makes Steve Cohen the primary owner of the Mets."

The next great pitching star is in Miami - (MLB.com)
"Sixto Sánchez has the 'It' factor -- when you watch him on the mound, you can't help but get the feeling this kid is going to be the face of baseball in Miami for seasons to come."