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Nats vs. Brewers series preview

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Nats vs. Brewers series preview

By Doug McKinney
CSNwashington.com

Nationals @ Brewers
58-39 1st in NL East 44-53 4th in NL Central

The Rundown
Thursday, July 26 - Sunday, July 29
Series 33
Season Series Record vs. Brewers: First meeting of 2012

Pitching Probables
denotes left handed pitcher

Thursday, July 26 8:10 pm
Edwin Jackson (5-6, 3.73 ERA) @ Yovani Gallardo (10-4, 2.66 ERA)

Friday, July 27 8:10 pm
Ross Detwiler(5-3, 3.01 ERA) @ Mike Fiers (3-4, 1.96 ERA)
Saturday, July 28 7:10 pm
Jordan Zimmermann (7-6,2.31 ERA) @ Randy Wolf (3-6, 5.46 ERA)

Sunday, July 29 2:10 pm
Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 3.13) @ Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.44 ERA)

Whos Hot & Whos Not
Nationals
Hot: 2B Danny Espinosa .400 AVG, 2 HR, 7 RBI in last 10 games
Not: RP Henry Rodriguez 6.43 ERA, 6 BB in last 7 IP

Brewers
Hot: RF Corey Hart - .304 AVG, 2 HR, 11 RBI in month of July
Not: Closer John Axford 15 ER, 4 L since June

A Series Look
Winners of five straight, the Nationals should not have a problem against the faltering Brewers in this weekends four game series. The Brew Crew has lost six games in a row, including three heartbreaking losses in Philadelphia. Milwaukees pitching staff ranks 13th in ERA in NL. They have one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball.

Thought to be a postseason contender by pundits and analysts in the preseason, the Brewers are 9.5 games out of the wild card and are deemed total sellers at the trade deadline. They feature one of the biggest trading chips in SP Zack Greinke (who may be of interest to the Nationals).

Ryan Braun is still Ryan Braun and is putting up his typical numbers (28 HR, 69 RBI). But outside of him and a few complementary pieces (Hart, Aramis Ramirez), the Brewers line-up is badly missing Prince Fielder.

While the Nationals are 6-18 all-time at Miller Park and have yet to win there since 2009, there is no excuse for Washington to go into Milwaukee and not take three out of four. At the very least, they should come away with a split which would make for a 5-2 road trip.

Prediction: Nationals win 3-1

News and Notes
>MASH update: OF Jayson Werth (wrist) could return to the big leagues on Tuesday when his former team, the Phillies, are in town for a 3-game series. Werth is currently rehabbing in AAASyracuse and last night he led off playing CF.

>Odds & Ends: GM Mike Rizzo continues to say the wild RP Henry Rodriguez is assured a roster spot, but the club will have some difficult decisions to make once Werth and Chad Tracy (groin) are back. Rodriguez, who has a great deal of potential, lacks confidence as well as control on the mound. At some point you just have to cut ties If OF Rick Ankiel, who was recently designated for assignment, doesnt get picked up by the Yankees, it wouldnt surprise me if the Nationals persuaded the former pitcher to play for AAASyracuse (with a chance for September call-up). The Nationals love his defense and clubhouse presence.

Down on the Farm

>AAASyracuse: Give credit to SP John Lannan for his victorious spot start on Saturday night against the Braves. In his 7 inning, 2-run performance, Lannan stopped the bleeding after the Nats blew a 9-0 lead the night before and dropped the first game of a day-night doubleheader. That performance went a long way with not just his teammates who remain very close with the two-time Opening Day starter but the Nationals front office. He should be back up on August 3 for the Nationals doubleheader with the Marlins.

>AAHarrisburg: OF Brian Goodwin has struggled to hit since being called up, but when he does make contact, they have usually gone for extra base hits. Goodwin has two homers in seven games Fellow OF prospect Destin Hoods bat has really come to life, hitting .353 in his last 10 games.

>A (Advanced)Potomac: 2011 1st round pick SP Alex Meyer has yet to give up an earned run in Class A Advanced. The 69 righty is 1-0 with 12 strikeouts.

>A (Short Season)Auburn: 2011 1st round pick 3B Anthony Rendon is playing 3B for Auburn tonight. Expect him to play there for up to a week and then be promoted to Potomac. Rendon hit two home runs for the GCL Nationals.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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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