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Dusty Baker wants to finish season strong, fall to Phillies

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Dusty Baker wants to finish season strong, fall to Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- At some point, Dusty Baker will sit down and start thinking about the Chicago Cubs.

That wasn't the main topic on the Washington Nationals manager's mind Wednesday night.

"My thoughts are to finish the season strong, then to worry about Chicago," Baker said after falling by a 7-5 margin to the Philadelphia Phillies. "We want to finish strong and to go into the new season with some momentum."

For the Nationals, who clinched the NL East more than two weeks ago, Wednesday's most significant action occurred in St. Louis. That's where the Cubs beat the Cardinals to wrap up the NL Central and ensure they will play Washington in the NL Division Series starting Oct. 6.

Washington won four of the seven games against the Cubs in the regular season.

MORE MLB: LATEST WILD CARD STANDINGS/ UPDATE

"It will be fun," said Washington starter Tanner Roark, an Illinois native who could possibly start Game 4 of the Division Series at Wrigley Field. "It will be loud."

Roark (13-11) struggled with command, walking five hitters and allowing six earned runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.

"I just didn't feel like I had anything," Roark said. "I was battling myself to throw strikes. They took advantage of some fastballs. It was one of those games."

Michael A. Taylor homered among his three hits for Washington. Trea Turner reached base all five times and recorded his 44th stolen base of the season.

Bryce Harper went 1 for 4 with a single and scored a run in his second game since returning from the disabled list with hyperextended left knee.

MORE NATS: WERTH, HARPER NAIL GAME OF THRONES NIGHT

For the Phillies, Aaron Altherr tied the game at 5 with a triple in the fifth. He later scored on Odubel Herrera's double.

Rookie Yacksel Rios (1-0) got his first career victory, getting two outs in the fifth in relief of starter Mark Leiter Jr.

Phillies relievers threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings after throwing four perfect innings in Tuesday's win.

Hector Neris worked a perfect ninth for his 20th consecutive save conversion and 26th in 29 opportunities overall. It is the most for a Phillies reliever since Brad Lidge converted all 41 save opportunities during the 2008 season.

In their last 30 games dating back to Aug. 27, Phillies reliever have posted a 2.52 ERA.

"I'm proud of the guys, the fact that they play hard the entire season in my opinion," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "We just didn't have the offense clicking the first half and that was part of our problems. But in the second half things started clicking. We started playing better baseball."

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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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.