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Gonzalez continues to struggle, Revere and Taylor splitting time?

Gonzalez continues to struggle, Revere and Taylor splitting time?

Notes and observations from Sunday's 6-3 Nationals loss to the San Diego Padres…

Gio gets rocked: It continues to be a tale of two seasons for Gio Gonzalez. The lefty had appeared to turn a corner over his previous two outings before Sunday, but in the Nats' 6-3 loss to the Padres he had one of his rockiest starts of the year so far.

Gonzalez was tagged for six runs, five of them earned, on eight hits, four walks and two HBPs. The 14 baserunners were a season-high. Sunday was the fifth time in his last nine starts that Gonzalez has allowed five or more earned runs in an outing. 

Gonzalez had a 1.15 ERA before his appearance on May 7, but in his nine starts since has a 6.14 mark. During that stretch opponents hold a .358 OBP and a .814 OPS against him.

Gonzalez has been the weakest link in the Nats' rotation over the last two months. It hasn't hurt the Nats all that much considering they're 5 1/2 games up in first place, but they need to get him straightened out.

Taylor homers twice: Michael Taylor had been quietly heating up over the last few weeks and on Sunday put in the best game of his career, a four-hit performance highlighted by two home runs. Taylor is now batting a scorching .390 in the month of June with eight runs, four doubles, six RBI and a 1.053 OPS.

Sunday was the third straight game Taylor started for the Nationals and the second time in three days he's played instead of Ben Revere. On one hand, Taylor has earned more playing time with the way he's produced at the plate. But Revere has also been swinging it well with a .340 average over his last 11 outings.

It's ironic that Taylor struggled so much in April when given the opportunity to play everyday, then Revere was slow to get going in May once he returned from injury. Now both are heating up at the exact same time.

Whether a true platoon is starting to develop is not entirely clear, but Taylor is playing a lot more these days than the usual bench player. And whatever you want to call, it's working. Manager Dusty Baker has both Revere and Taylor playing their best baseball of the season right now.

Espinosa hits No. 12: Danny Espinosa also homered on Sunday, a solo shot off Padres starter Drew Pomeranz in the top of the fifth. It was Espinosa's 12th homer of the season, which puts him just one away from his total of 13 last year.

Espinosa now has nine homers in his last 22 games, with a .981 OPS during that stretch. Those nine homers are more than he hit in all of 2014 when he played 114 games. Espinosa is currently tied for third among MLB shortstops with 12 homers and is on pace to club 28 this year.

In June, it hasn't only been home runs for Espinosa. He's getting on base at a .365 clip, holds a 1.001 OPS and leads the Nationals with 15 runs scored. Those are excellent numbers, especially for a guy hitting in the eighth spot most nights.

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

Its 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

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm