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Nats set rotation for big weekend series


Nats set rotation for big weekend series

The Nationals will give the ball to Jordan Zimmermann first out of the All-Star break, sending the right-hander to the mound Friday night against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the opener of a star-studded weekend series.

Doug Fister, whose turn before the break was skipped, will start Saturday afternoon against fellow right-hander Mike Bolsinger. All of that will be a mere prelude to Sunday's series finale, which pits All-Stars and Cy Young Award contenders Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke against each other at Nationals Park.

The Nationals could have elected to start Scherzer right out of the break, given that he would have been on regular rest after starting last Sunday's first-half finale in Baltimore. But the club chose to give its ace another two days to regroup after attending (but not pitching in) the All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Scherzer still winds up in the highest-profile matchup of the weekend, putting his 2.11 ERA and MLB-best 0.78 WHIP up against Greinke and his MLB-best 1.39 ERA, not to mention 35 2/3 consecutive-innings scoreless streak. Greinke did start Tuesday's All-Star Game, allowing a leadoff homer to Mike Trout but striking out four over two solid innings.

Sunday's finale may draw the most headlines, but Friday's second-half opener would otherwise be touted as one of the better pitching matchups out there. Kershaw hasn't been able to duplicate his Cy Young numbers from last season, but he still owns a 2.85 ERA and NL-best 160 strikeouts. Zimmermann, meanwhile, enters the second half with an 8-5 record and 3.22 ERA, with 14 quality starts out of 18 overall appearances.

Fister will be taking the mound Saturday after a 12-day break, his last turn in the rotation having been skipped as a result of a rainout against the Reds. The right-hander has been a bit inconsistent since returning from a forearm strain, going 3-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 11 total starts.

Bolsinger has emerged as a surprisingly effective member of the Dodgers rotation this season. The 27-year-old right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 13 starts.

The Nationals haven't announced their rotation plans beyond the weekend yet, but they are now set up to pitch Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark (filling in for the injured Stephen Strasburg) and Zimmermann in next week's series against the second-place Mets.

MORE NATIONALS: Werth to begin rehab Thursday at Potomac

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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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.