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Murphy scratched as Nationals begin 2nd half against Pirates

Murphy scratched as Nationals begin 2nd half against Pirates

Nationals (54-36) vs. Pirates (46-43) at Nationals Park

The All-Star break was a nice respite from the grinding MLB season, but on Friday night the Nationals return to action with the Pittsburgh Pirates in town. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. in the opener of a 10-day homestand for the Nats.

Starting for the Nationals will be Stephen Strasburg (12-0, 2.62), who did not pitch in the All-Star Game despite being invited. He went seven strong innings with just one run allowed against the New York Mets on July 8. That was his second game back from the disabled list.

Lefty Francisco Liriano (5-8, 5.15) will get the ball for Pittsburgh. He has not been good this year, but was decent his last time out, also on July 8, when he gave up two runs (one earned) against the Cubs in five innings of work.

The Nationals will be without Daniel Murphy, who was originally set to play first base. He was a late scratch with what the team described as leg soreness. Clint Robinson is now in at first.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Stephen Strasburg vs. Pirates - Francisco Liriano


2B Trea Turner
CF Michael Taylor
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
1B Clint Robinson
RHP Stephen Strasburg


2B Josh Harrison
1B David Freese
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
RF Matt Joyce
3B Jung Ho Kang
SS Jordy Mercer
C Eric Fryer
LHP Francisco Liriano

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.