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Playoff feeling in D.C. as Dodgers visit the Nationals this weekend

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Playoff feeling in D.C. as Dodgers visit the Nationals this weekend

Just a couple of days ago, the upcoming weekend series between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers had huge significance. At Nationals Park there was a potential to have the title of best team in the league switching hands.

Battling back from being 14.5 games down, the Nationals moved back into contention for the top seed in the National League post-season.

This of course is due in part to Los Angeles losing 16 of a stretch from 17 games.

Since then the Dodgers have won two in a row, while the Nationals have lost two of their last three. The Dodgers lead for home-field has now pushed back up to 5.0 games.

This will be the final regular season series between the two squads. In Los Angeles back in June, the Nationals took two out of three with their only loss being against Clayton Kershaw.

Fortunately for the Nationals, Kershaw (17-3, 2.12 ERA) is not scheduled to start in this series.  Then again, the Nats ace, Max Scherzer (14-6, 2.59 ERA) will not see the mound either.

MORE NATS: TREA TRUNER SHOWS OFF BASEBALL IQ AFTER GETTING CALLED OUT

As of Thursday evening, here are the projected starters:

Alex Wood (14-3, 2.81 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (5-5, 3.88 ERA)

Rich Hill (9-8, 3.67 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (13-4, 2.64 ERA)

Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-7, 3.59 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (14-7, 2.68 ERA)

Notice who else is missing for the Dodgers? No Yu Darvish.

While you could easily make the case that Wood deserves to be the No. 2 starter behind Kershaw, Darvish will be one of their three post-season starters. Meaning for the Nationals, they will only see one of their potential opposing starting pitchers this weekend if the two teams were to meet in the post-season. The Dodgers will see two with Strasburg and Gonzalez.

All three of the earlier head-to-heads in 2017 were low scoring. Hits were few and far between for each team.

But this is line-up is completely different than in the spring and going against different parts of the rotation. There is no Bryce Harper or Daniel Murphy available for the team; they drove in three of the Nationals seven runs in their earlier series. Howie Kendrick has taken over in left field and Jayson Werth is now back.

Not too many changes for the Dodgers in their line-up. The big addition is Curtis Granderson, but only if he gets the start in a loaded outfield.

During their dismal stretch of one win in 17 tries, only Yasiel Puig has kept the bats alive. Since August 15, Puig is hitting .303 with 27 hits. Of the 27, 15 have been for extra bases. In the spring though, he only had one hit and three strikeouts for nine at-bats vs. the Nationals.

For those with short memories, last year the Dodgers defeated the Nationals 3-2 in the Divisional Series. It didn’t matter that Washington had home-field as the No. 2 seed.

RELATED: LOOK INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM ONCE THE NATS CLINCHED

It is all but a lock that the Dodgers and Nationals will not meet this post-season until the NLCS, with both taking the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. Unlike the NLDS, the League Championship is a best-of-seven which will be a completely different scenario when they meet up. Both teams have already clinched a playoff spot and the Nationals have claimed the 2017 NL East title. As far as the two are concerned, they are just battling for who plays at home for four games as opposed to three.

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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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.