Nationals

Quick Links

Behind Max Scherzer, Nationals go for the sweep against Mets

Behind Max Scherzer, Nationals go for the sweep against Mets

BY JEREMY FIALKOW (@JeremyFialkow)

Nationals (46-32) vs. Mets (40-36) at Nationals Park

The Nationals are on the verge of discovering the 'perfect' response to a dismal seven-game losing streak. On Wednesday, Max Scherzer (8-5, 3.52 ERA) takes the mound with one goal in mind: Complete the sweep. In doing so, the Nats would double the N.L. East lead they had entering the series, from three games to six.

Since signing a megadeal to join the Nationals in 2015, Scherzer's posted a 2.00 ERA in five starts against New York, inluding a 2-0 loss on May 17th, where he tossed 6.1 innings, struck out 10, and allowed just two solo home runs.

Opposite Scherzer is Mets reliever Logan Verrett (3-4, 4.14 ERA). 

Verrett is making a spot-start in place of southpaw Steven Matz, who's dealing with a bone spur in his throwing elbow, per MLB's Anthony Dicomo. In five 2016 spot-starts, Verrett posted a 5.79 ERA.

Realistically, the divison could come down to the team that runs away with this head-to-head series of 19 games. 

Thus far, the Nats are winning the battle, taking five of the first eight matchups between the two.

It's evident Dusty Baker is aiming to put the hammer down in the finale of this three-game set with New York, going with his varsity lineup featuring Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos in the heart of the order.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2, SNY, ESPN2
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Mets - Logan Verrett

NATS

1. CF Ben Revere
2. LF Jayson Werth
3. RF Bryce Harper
4. 2B Daniel Murphy
5. C Wilson Ramos
6. 1B Ryan Zimmerman
7. 3B Anthony Rendon
8. SS Danny Espinosa
9. RHP Max Scherzer

METS

1. RF Alejandro De Aza
2. 2B Neil Walker
3. CF Yoenis Cespedes
4. 1B James Loney
5. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
6. 3B Kelly Johnson
7. LF Brandon Nimmo
8. C Rene Rivera
9. RHP Logan Verrett

RELATED: GIOLITO IMPRESSES IN RAIN-SHORTENED MLB DEBUT

Quick Links

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

Quick Links

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE