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Nats set season-high for runs and hits in blowout victory over D-Backs

Nats set season-high for runs and hits in blowout victory over D-Backs

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 14-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night at Chase Field.

How it happened: Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos may have finally found some guys who can keep up with them.

The two All-Stars have carried the Nats' lineup for much of this season, and they didn't stop in the Nats' 14-1 blowout win over the Diamondbacks on Monday night. But they had more help that usual this time in game the Nats set a season-high in runs and hits (19).

Yeah, this one was never close. The Nats batted around their order and scored four runs in the first inning alone. They topped that with a five-run eighth inning and had five more spread in between. 

Daniel Murphy went 3-for-3 with three runs. Wilson Ramos had three hits and two RBI. Anthony Rendon had two hits and three RBI. Trea Turner had two hits including a two-RBI triple.

Danny Espinosa, Clint Robinson, Wilmer Difo and Chrise Heisey all drove in runs. Jayson Werth extended his streak of reaching base to 34 games. Bryce Harper walked twice and scored three runs.

Even Stephen Strasburg got in on the action with an RBI and three hits, which tied a career-high. Those three hits matched all that Strasburg allowed on the mound. He went six innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts and two walks. 

Their bullpen combined for three scoreless frames after that, including the ninth when newly-acquired closer Mark Melancon made his Nationals debut with a perfect frame. Jonathan Papelbon, who he replaced, toss a perfect seventh inning.

Diamondbacks starter Archie Bradley was not as lucky. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings with eight runs on 12 hits allowed.

The Nationals snapped a two-game skid to win the opener of their series at Arizona and scored more runs in one night than they did in all of their previous four games combined.

What it means: The Nats moved to 62-44 on the season. With losses for both the Marlins and Mets, the Nats now lead their NL East counterparts by five and 7 1/2 games, respectively.

Rendon keeps heating up: The emergence of Rendon over the last month has been a massive development for the Nats. After posting a strong month of July (.909 OPS), Rendon kicked off August on a positive note with two hits. He hit a two-run double - the 100th of his career - and a sac fly to total three RBI.

Rendon is looking more and more like the 2014 version of himself by the day by filling up the box score in a variety of ways. He is now 17-for-51 (.333) with four homers, 12 RBI, four doubles, seven runs and three steals in his last 13 games.

Strasburg still rolling: Strasburg (15-1) became the first MLB starter to reach 15 wins this season. That also tied his career-high (2012). It was the 69th win of his career, which puts him just one away from the Nats all-time leader, Jordan Zimmermann who left for Detroit with 70.

Strasburg has allowed just one run in his last 17 innings and has given up one run or less in six of his last seven starts. He holds a 2.63 season ERA.

Murphy returns convincingly: Murphy pinch-hit in the ninth of Sunday's loss to the Giants, but this was his first start after being held out of the lineup for two days with leg tightness. Murphy didn't miss a beat with his 42nd multi-hit game of the season. It was the 10th time he's had three hits or more and the third time he's had both three hits and three runs.

Up next: The Nats continue their series in Arizona with another 9:40 p.m. first pitch. Tanner Roark (10-6, 2.96) and former Nats prospect Robbie Ray (5-10, 4.70) are your starters.

[RELATED: State of the Nats: D-backs up next, Giolito's workload]

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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

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm