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Instant Analysis: Streak over at eight

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Instant Analysis: Streak over at eight

Diamondbacks 7, Nationals 4

Game in a nutshell: Contrary to popular belief, the Nationals aren't perfect. And they can't win every night. So the winning streak came to an end today, halted at eight games with a lopsided loss to the Diamondbacks in the series finale at Chase Field. The Nats did not play a clean game, from Ross Detwiler's shaky start to Ryan Zimmerman and Kurt Suzuki's throwing errors to Bryce Harper getting picked off first base. They also put up little fight against rookie left-hander Patrick Corbin, who faced the minimum over six innings before finally fading in the seventh. At that point, the deficit was seven runs, so there wasn't much hope of a stirring rally. Thus the Nationals leave the desert with a 6-1 record on the road trip, looking to bounce back tomorrow night in San Francisco.

Hitting lowlight: Make no bones about it, Harper is in a prolonged slump at the plate. Though he was credited with a single in his first at-bat today, the play easily could have been scored an error on shortstop John McDonald. (Plus, Harper immediately was picked off first base.) He's now hitting .249 for the season, the lowest his batting average has stood since May 20. Davey Johnson has sat the rookie twice during this road trip, and it wouldn't be shocking if he gave Harper another day off during this week's series in San Francisco (perhaps Tuesday against left-hander Madison Bumgarner).

Pitching lowlight: Detwiler's numbers -- three hits allowed in 4 23 innings -- didn't look awful, but this was by no means a quality start. The left-hander was done in by a lack of command, leading to a walk and two hit batters. And all three of those batters wound up scoring, adding to the significance of Detwiler's wildness. He wasn't helped by his defense, either, especially in the second inning when Zimmerman and Suzuki each committed throwing errors that led to another run. But mostly, Detwiler just wasn't sharp this afternoon. Which pretty much described the Nationals' overall performance in this game.

Key stat: Michael Morse's seventh-inning single would have given the outfielder a 21-game hitting streak (second-longest in Nationals history) ... but the Phillies' appeal of Morse's Aug. 2 base hit reduced this current streak to only 10 games.

Up next: A marquee matchup opens in San Francisco tomorrow night when the Nationals face the Giants. Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Vogelsong meet in the opener at 10:15 p.m., with Jordan Zimmermann facing Madison Bumgarner on Tuesday and Stephen Strasburg taking on Tim Lincecum in Wednesday's finale.

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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

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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