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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 1


Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 1

Game in a nutshell: The Nationals had to like their chances with Stephen Strasburg on the mound against a Marlins lineup he's owned. And they really had to like their chances after they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second, with Strasburg and Adam LaRoche each delivering two-run singles. Strasburg did the rest of his damage on the mound, tossing six scoreless innings to bounce back from a ragged outing five days ago. Craig Stammen gave up a run in the seventh, but Sean Burnett tossed a scoreless eighth and then Drew Storen -- yes, Drew Storen -- pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. Thus, the Nationals took three of four from the Marlins and improved to 22 games over .500: a new season high.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals scored four runs in the bottom of the second, thanks to a pair of clutch hits from their most-consistent offensive players this season: LaRoche and Strasburg. Seriously, who has been a more consistent force with the bat than Strasburg, who is now hitting .343 with seven RBI? (That's more RBI than the Marlins' Nos. 1 and 2 hitters had entering today, by the way.) The big guy came to the plate with two on in the second and promptly sent a base hit to right field, bringing both runners home. Later that inning, LaRoche delivered his latest clutch hit: another two-run single. That gave the veteran first baseman 71 RBI for the season, which ranks seventh in the NL.

Pitching highlight: Coming off arguably the worst start of his brief career, Strasburg found solace in a familiar foe: the Marlins. The right-hander hasn't given up a run to Miami since last season (when the franchise's "city" name was still Florida). He's now thrown 27 consecutive scoreless innings against the Fish, including six superb frames today. Following his coaching staff's message, Strasburg relied mostly on his fastball, and because of it he managed to stay efficient. At 91 pitches through six innings, Davey Johnson could have left his starter in a bit longer. But why take a chance at this point in the season?

Key stat: Strasburg has given up four or more earned runs five times in his career. His ERA the next time he pitches: 0.90.

Up next: The Nationals hit the road for a 10-game, three-city road trip. It all begins at 8:05 p.m. Monday in Houston, with Edwin Jackson facing lefty Dallas Keuchel.

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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.

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

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Nats' Max Scherzer wins second straight NL Cy Young Award

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals has coasted to his third Cy Young Award and second straight in the National League.

Scherzer breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The honor was announced Wednesday on MLB Network.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit. He became the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs.


Scherzer was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and a league-leading 268 strikeouts for the NL East champion Nationals.

Kershaw has already won three NL Cy Youngs, and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians easily won his second AL Cy Young Award earlier in the day. He got 28 of the 30 first-place votes, with Boston's Chris Sale second and Luis Severino of the New York Yankees third.

Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball.