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Nats set for the All-Star Game: What will Harper do?

Nats set for the All-Star Game: What will Harper do?

When: 8 p.m.
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, Ca.
Radio: ESPN



2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
RF Bryce Harper, Nationals
3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
DH Wil Myers, Padres
C Buster Posey, Giants
1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
CF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
LF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
SS Addison Russell, Cubs
(RHP Jonny Cueto, Giants)


2B Jose Altuve, Astros
CF Mike Trout, Angels
3B Manny Machado, Orioles
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
RF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
C Salvador Perez, Royals
LF Jackie Bradley, Jr., Red Sox
(LHP Chris Sale, White Sox)

Nationals' All-Stars: Harper, 2B Daniel Murphy, C Wilson Ramos, RHP Max Scherzer, RHP Stephen Strasburg

What will Harper do?

As the reigning NL MVP and a guy who set out this year to 'Make Baseball Fun Again,' this is a relatively important All-Star Game for Harper, beyond the fact he can help with home field advantage for the Nationals by contributing to an NL victory. Without a chance to shine in the Home Run Derby, this is his showcase, his opportunity to further make his case to be the new face of baseball.

Of course, if Harper has a bad game no one will care, nor will they remember. But you can bet he's hoping to be much better on Tuesday than he has in his other three All-Star Games in the past. Last summer Harper went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the Midsummer Classic. In 2013, Harper went 0-for-2. And in 2012 as a rookie, Harper went 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout. He hasn't been great in All-Star Games, but the stage seems to be set for him to have a breakout performance.

Will Scherzer pitch?

Scherzer was a late addition to the All-Star Game thanks to Strasburg backing out as an injury precaution. That, plus the fact Scherzer just pitched on Saturday would normally mean the Nats' right-hander is unlikely to see any action on Tuesday night. But so many guys have been declared unavailable, that it wouldn't be a surprise to see Scherzer go out there. Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner will not be pitching and it sounds like Jake Arrieta will be held out as well. Each team usually uses at least eight pitchers and manager Terry Collins still has plenty of them. But there aren't that many stars left. Will he use Scherzer? He would likely only pitch an inning, which could be equated to a bullpen session. And he could then still pitch the second-half opener on Friday night, or just go Saturday if manager Dusty Baker tabs Strasburg for that spot. 

Can Ramos make a name for himself?

Perhaps no Nationals All-Star has more to gain on Tuesday night than Ramos, who is appearing in his first Midsummer Classic in the midst of a breakout year. And with only three catchers on the NL roster, Ramos could see plenty of playing time, perhaps up to three innings depending on how Collins uses Posey and Brewers backstop Jonathan Lucroy. Ramos is not known as well nationally as the other Nats' All-Stars, but has had a heck of a season. He is also in a contract year and you can bet GMs will be keeping a close eye on The Buffalo. 

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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.