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Nationals can't find enough offense to snap four-game skid

Nationals can't find enough offense to snap four-game skid

ATLANTA -- Rio Ruiz, Matt Kemp and Tyler Flowers hit home runs and the Atlanta Braves again relied on their bullpen for a 5-2 victory over Max Scherzer and Washington on Saturday night, the Nationals' fourth straight loss.

After Bartolo Colon allowed two runs, one earned, in 4 1/3 innings, five relievers combined for 4 2/3 hitless innings. Ian Krol (1-1) recorded the final two outs in the fifth. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

Four relievers combined for 3 2/3 perfect innings in Atlanta's 7-4 win over Washington on Friday night. The Braves have won seven of nine.

Ruiz and Kemp hit homers off Scherzer (4-3). The shot by Ruiz in the second was his first career homer and first hit of the season.

Ruiz was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday when the team placed Freddie Freeman on the disabled list with a fractured left wrist. Freeman is expected to miss about 10 weeks. The Braves added help at first base by acquiring Matt Adams from St. Louis during the game.

Kemp hit a line-drive homer off Scherzer in the fourth. Flowers hit his second homer off Matt Albers in the eighth.

Scherzer has allowed nine homers, second-most on the team behind the 10 allowed by Gio Gonzalez.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said before the game his relievers were "overworked and overtasked" and he was hoping for a long start from Scherzer. Instead, Scherzer lasted only five innings and had thrown 106 pitches, allowing three runs, four hits and three walks, before a rain delay that lasted almost 2 hours.

Braves first baseman Jace Peterson jumped into the protective net between home plate and the Atlanta dugout to catch Matt Wieters' foul ball in the sixth. Umpires huddled before ruling the catch was legal.

Michael Taylor made a diving catch of Emilio Bonifacio's line drive in the right-center gap in the seventh. Taylor then slid on his chest several feet on the wet grass.

More Nationals: BRAVES HAND NATIONALS THEIR THIRD LOSS IN A ROW​

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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USA Today Sports Images

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.