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Scherzer, Cain face-off as Nats look to sweep Giants

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Scherzer, Cain face-off as Nats look to sweep Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bryce Harper will get a chance to hit against one of his least favorite pitchers when the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants complete a three-game series Wednesday night.

The Nationals won the first two games 3-0 and 6-3 to move within one victory of their third road series sweep of the season.

Washington went 9-1 during a three-city trip in April, sweeping three straight from Atlanta and the New York Mets before taking three of four at Colorado.

The Nationals pounded out 14 hits in the Tuesday win over the Giants despite getting nothing out of Harper's five at-bats. He struck out three times.

Harper learned earlier in the day that he was suspended by Major League Baseball for four games for charging the mound and participating in a brawl during the eighth inning of the Monday win.

RELATED: MLB HANDS SUSPENSIONS TO HARPER, STRICKLAND

Harper believed he was justified in taking action because he felt Giants reliever Hunter Strickland intentionally hit him with a pitch. MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre seemed to agree with Harper, handing Strickland the stiffer of the penalties, a six-gamer.

Both players appealed their suspensions. They are eligible to play until their appeals are heard.

Harper clearly wasn't totally focused on the Tuesday game, having been badgered with more questions beforehand.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker tried to deflect some of the attention, insisting to a large group of reporters that he felt Harper's suspension was unfair.

"I just don't think that the judges, whoever the judges were, have ever been in the situation," he said. "Probably only Martin Luther King (Jr.) or Gandhi would have turned the other cheek and not done something reactionary."

On Wednesday, Harper must face Giants starter Matt Cain (3-3, 4.45 ERA).

Harper has only one career hit -- a three-run home run -- against Cain in 10 at-bats. The veteran Giants right-hander has struck him out the last four times they have dueled.

Cain has handled most Nationals recently, not allowing a run in either of his last two starts against them. He is 7-5 with a 3.30 ERA against Washington in his career.

Cain will be opposed by a familiar opponent -- Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer (5-3, 2.77 ERA).

The two went head-to-head in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series, with Cain and the Giants prevailing 4-3 to complete a four-game sweep of Scherzer's Detroit Tigers.

In an effort to improve upon a 2-4 record and 5.52 ERA in six career starts against the Giants, Scherzer will have to deal with someone he has never faced -- Giants outfielder Orlando Calixte.

Called up from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day and immediately plugged into the leadoff spot, Calixte got his first two major league hits Tuesday, including a double that drove in two of the Giants' three runs.

"I thought he had good at-bats," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's nice to get a hit your first time up leading off the game."

With the Giants searching for a regular left fielder, and with right fielder Hunter Pence on the disabled list and with center fielder Denard Span siting out the start because Washington was throwing a left-handed pitcher, Bochy wound up playing Calixte at all three outfield positions over the course of the Tuesday contest.

He became the first Giant in eight years to accomplish the feat.

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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.