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State of the Nats: All eyes on Giolito, Papelbon fares well in rehab outing

State of the Nats: All eyes on Giolito, Papelbon fares well in rehab outing

Team Record: 45-32

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All eyes on Giolito - The future is here for the Washington Nationals, who will promote Lucas Giolito on Tuesday to make his major league debut against the New York Mets. The game was already an interesting one given the high stakes these matchups offer in the NL East and now we have one of the most anticipated big league debuts in franchise history to keep an eye on.

As far as what to expect, electricity may be a good word. Not only will the crowd likely push a sellout, Giolito is probably going to light up the radar gun with triple-digit heat. It may remind some of Noah Syndergaard, who touched 100 with regularity in Monday night's series opener.

High velocity fastballs are fun, but baseball fans may most enjoy watching Giolito's curveball. It's a 12-6 hook many scouts believe could become an elite out-pitch at the big league level. It will be interesting to see how Mets batters fare when they see it for the first time.

Giolito has been strong this season at Double-A Harrisburg with a 3.17 ERA in 14 starts and a 2.41 mark over his last nine. He has, however, issued a lot of walks with 34 offered in 71 innings. He's given up four or more in five of his last 12 games. Surely the Mets will try to take advantage of that.

For manager Dusty Baker's thoughts on Giolito, go here. And here you can find GM Mike Rizzo's take.

Bryce Harper also weighed in on what he expects from Giolito, who is considered the top prospect in baseball.

"Having a guy like this, he's unbelievable. To be able to have a guy like this, look at the Mets last year. They brought up [Noah] Syndergaard and [Steven] Matz and really took advantage of the East and took advantage of everybody. So hopefully Giolito can come up here and do what he can, throw the ball a billion and have the curveball like he does and just play this game hard. I'm looking forward to watching him from right field tomorrow, so we'll see what happens."

Papelbon fares well in rehab outing - Jonathan Papelbon pitched his first rehab assignment game on Monday night with the Single-A Potomac Nationals. The Nats' closer needed just 10 pitches to get through the first inning against Winston-Salem, getting a strikeout, a flyout and a groundout.

The 35-year-old showed up in the Nationals' clubhouse afterwards and spoke to the D.C. media about his outing. Papelbon said he feels "ready," but is likely to throw a simulated game on Wednesday before the next step in his rehab is determined.

“I felt great," he said. "It’s the first time in my big league career I’ve been able to get A-ballers out. I’ve never been able to get them out in spring training before, so that’s quite the accomplishment for me.”

Papelbon has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 13 with a right intercostal strain.

NL East Standings

Offensive game of the week: Ben Revere 6/27 vs. Mets - 4-for-5, RBI, 3 R, 3 SB

Pitching line of the week: Tanner Roark 6/26 vs. Brewers - 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 7 SO, BB, 95 pitches (63 strikes)

Quote of the Week 

"Giolito's pitching tomorrow. He's ready for the task."

- Dusty Baker on who is pitching Tuesday.

Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week

Road Ahead

Mon. - 11-4 win vs. New York Mets
Tue. - 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Giolito vs. Harvey)
Wed. - 7:05 p.m. vs. New York Mets (Scherzer vs. Matz)
Thu. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Reds (Gonzalez vs. Finnegan)
Fri. - 6:05 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Reds (Roark vs. DeSclafani)
Sat. - 7:15 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Reds (Ross vs. Straily)
Sun. - 1:35 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Reds (Giolito vs. Lamb)

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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.