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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals lose 3 of 4 to Chicago Cubs; Stephen Strasburg returns tonight + more Nats links...

Welcome back, Stephen. Catch up on all the latest Nats news while you wait for the boys to take the field at home tonight...

Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

How excited are Stephen Strasburg’s teammates to get him back on the mound in the majors tonight?

Josh Bell was asked just that in a post game Zoom call after yesterday’s loss to the Cubs.

How big a deal is it for the Nationals to get Stras back?

It’s huge,” Bell said. “I saw what he was doing in camp. I’ve faced him for years now. In my mind I think he’s got the best changeup in the league. Everyone talks about his fastball, but for a left-handed hitter myself, I think that having the best changeup in the league as a right-handed pitcher is huge.

“I think he’s going to be able to come out, throw multiple innings, work deep in games, get a lot of early contact and keep us off our feet on defense.

“We’re all thumbs up, smiles, knowing that he’s going to start here soon.”

We’re all thumbs up, smiles too. Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Josh Bell, Kyle Schwarber homer back-to-back in loss to Cubs - (MLB.com)
"If it helps illustrate a lackluster day for the Nationals, Washington’s Twitter account didn’t have a single highlight to tweet out between Schwarber’s home run and the final score."

Nats fall again, but have Stephen Strasburg lined up Friday vs. Orioles - (WaPost)
"Joe Ross struggles again, failing to make it out of the fourth inning as the Nationals close their trip with a 5-2 loss to the Cubs. The good news? Stephen Strasburg is set to start Friday."

Ryan Zimmerman: Nationals dugout was 'cracking up' watching Davey Martinez's rant - (NBC Sports Washington)
"While that was an intense moment in the game, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman told the Sports Junkies on Thursday that Washington's dugout had a lot of fun watching Martinez get after it."

Davey Martinez 'beside myself' over Trea Turner's baseline interference - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Nationals manager Davey Martinez immediately came out to argue, which led to him picking up the base and throwing it into foul territory. Naturally, he was ejected -- the first time he's been tossed this season."

Juan Soto working on hitting the ball in the air - (MLB.com)
"Dating back to the beginning of an 11-4 loss to the D-backs on May 15, 15 of the 20 balls Soto has put in play have been grounders."

Dave Martinez, Trea Turner and Max Scherzer slam MLB interference rule - (WaPost)
"“Honestly, I am beside myself now with this whole out-of-the-baseline thing. I think it’s awful," Martinez said."

Max Scherzer discusses status of Erick Fedde, who is vaccinated but positive for the coronavirus - (WaPost)
"Erick Fedde tested positive for the coronavirus and landed on the IL along with reliever Tanner Rainey, who is not vaccinated but was deemed a close contact."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Dave Martinez's Base-Stealing Meltdown Was Almost Perfect - (Defector)
"This wasn’t the first time Martinez had reacted this way to a similar call, but he hadn’t grabbed a base during his first tantrum."

Yadiel Hernandez, Sleeping Giant - (Fangraphs)
"Yadiel Hernandez looks like the kind of hitter that good teams need, an above-average bat summoned from the minors. Due to the team’s roster construction, he’s been banished to the bench."

Top prospect performers for May 20 - (MLB.com)
"Nationals: Evan Lee, LHP (No. 24), High-A Wilmington - Lee seemingly had everything working as he twirled 4 2/3 scoreless innings."

NL East notebook: Biggest question for each club - (MLB.com)
"Washington constructed its starting rotation to be a dominant one, and the question of what Strasburg will deliver when he returns is a big one."

How the Nationals inspired GW softball on the way to its first NCAA tournament - (WaPost)
"The Colonials, led by three graduate students, are taking a 'go 1-0 every day' mind-set to this weekend's Baton Rouge Regional."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies honor First Sergeant Arthur Wimberly - (MLB.com)
"Like many soldiers returning from the Vietnam War, First Sergeant Arthur 'Sonny' Wimberly never received much of a homecoming."

Francisco Álvarez has chance to be elite catcher - (MLB.com)
"Power-hitting catchers are a rare breed. The Mets have reason to believe they’ve found one in Francisco Alvarez."

Eury Perez Bets On Himself And Wins - (Baseball America)
"Eury Perez has already reached 97.6 mph as a skinny, 205-pound righthander who is still filling out his impressive frame."

Shane Greene expected at Triple-A next week - (AJC.com)
"Braves reliever Shane Greene is expected to begin pitching for Triple-A Gwinnett early next week as he builds closer to joining the big-league team, Braves manager Brian Snitker said."