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Andrew Stevenson makes game saving catch to help Nationals beat Marlins

Andrew Stevenson makes game saving catch to help Nationals beat Marlins

WASHINGTON -- On a team loaded with stars, two rookies played key roles in Washington's win Thursday night.

Brian Goodwin had two hits, including a home run into the second deck leading off the eighth inning, Andrew Stevenson made a game-saving catch and the Nationals rallied past the Miami Marlins 3-2.

Goodwin broke a 2-2 tie when he connected on a 1-0 fastball from Junichi Tazawa (1-2) for his 13th homer of the season and second RBI of the night.

"He's a quick learner," manager Dusty Baker said. "How many teams could lose two centerfielders (Adam Eaton and Michael Taylor) and then (Goodwin) steps up?"

Due to injuries, Goodwin has played in 72 games for Washington, and his 35 extra base hits rank fourth among NL rookies.

Washington got three innings of scoreless relief from its recent bullpen acquisitions.

Brandon Kintzler handled the seventh inning, Ryan Madson (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth and Sean Doolittle worked around a one-out double by Miguel Rojas in the ninth for his seventh save since coming to Washington.

"Those guys are coming in and they're shutting people down," Goodwin said. "They're going right at hitters and attacking them and they're being kind of vicious about it."

Madson got a huge assist in the ninth from rookie left fielder Stevenson.

Stevenson made a diving catch near the foul line on a bloop by Dee Gordon with a runner on third to save a hit for the game's final out.

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Giancarlo Stanton, who hit his Major League-leading 39th home run of the season, earlier in the game, was on deck.

"Off the bat I knew it was slicing, I figured I had a good chance at it though," Stevenson said. "He was a little late on the fastball. He hit it right where we thought he would."

Washington took three of four in the series and leads second-place Miami by 15 games in the NL East.

Washington starter Tanner Roark allowed two runs, four hits and five walks (two intentional) over six innings. Since the All-Star break, Roark is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA.

Dan Straily of Miami had allowed only one baserunner before Adrian Sanchez led off the sixth with a double just inside third base.

After Roark bunted Sanchez to third, Goodwin smacked a single past a diving Gordon to score Washington's first run. Goodwin stole second, and - after a missed a sign - Bryce Harper doubled off the wall with first base open and Ryan Zimmerman on deck.

"We've got a back pick on (at second), and instead of throwing the back pick we throw a pitch," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "So that cost us basically. We were going to have to go after Zimmerman there instead of Harper, but we ended up going after the wrong guy."

After Gordon singled to open the third, Stanton homered to make it 2-0.

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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USA Today Sports Images

Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

By Ryan Wormeli

Max Scherzer is the ace of the Nationals staff, a fan favorite, and the 2017 National League Cy Young award winner. He's also a soon-to-be father whose wife, Erica May-Scherzer, once accidentally threw out the jersey he wore when throwing his 2nd career no-hitter. This time around, I'm guessing they talked it over first before deciding to sell some of his memorabilia garage-style for a new fundraiser.

We don't have any more information about the fundraiser yet, but May-Scherzer posted some photos on Twitter this afternoon. 

And in case you're wondering, no, the Scherzer family cat featured in one of the pictures isn't for sale (we assume). Plus, even if they were willing to part with their cat, considering Scherzer is on a contract worth over $200 Million, their price would probably be pretty steep. How much would you pay to adopt the cat of a 3-time Cy Young winner?

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.