Team Record: 79-57
Fedde on facing Harper in Little League - When the Nationals introduced 2014 first round pick Erick Fedde in a press conference after he was signed, Bryce Harper not only showed up to the event but posed for pictures alongside Fedde and Nats brass. There was good reason for that, as Fedde and Harper were teammates at Las Vegas High School long before they became part of the Nats organization.
The two, in fact, go even further back than high school. Fedde and Harper played against each other on club teams as kids. And also in town were Cubs star Kris Bryant - the frontrunner for this year's NL MVP award - and Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo. All four were first round picks in the MLB Draft.
Looking back, it's hard to imagine that much talent all being on one kids' baseball field. Fedde recalled those days with CSN last week.
"It was nice to get a feel for what real talent is like when you're at a younger age," Fedde said. "In high school they would hit just total nukes. You don't see that every day. It was fun growing up around that. It seemed normal, but it really wasn't."
Fedde remembers playing against Gallo and Harper, who were on the same team.
"I think Gallo and Harp were maybe on the Bulldogs team and they were like number one in the nation. They kicked everyone's butt. I was a really late bloomer. I didn't really hit my stride until college," Fedde said.
As most kids do, Fedde and Harper played many positions growing up. Fedde ultimately found his best track to be pitching, while Harper focused on the catcher position before eventually switching to the outfield in the pros. Harper, though, also pitched growing up and Fedde remembers it vividly.
"I remember hitting off Bryce. Oh, he threw so hard when we were little. I just remember sitting in the box. It was like that 'Rookie of the Year' movie when he's standing in the corner of the box, so he doesn't hit you," he joked.
For more on Fedde and his first full season in the pros, click here.
Strasburg close? - It looks like Stephen Strasburg is on track to return to the Nationals on Wednesday when they close a three-game series against the Braves in Washington. Strasburg threw around 50 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday at Citi Field, manager Dusty Baker told reporters in New York. Strasburg has been out since Aug. 21 with right elbow soreness.
Getting Strasburg back will be huge for the Nats, who have maintained a first-place lead in the NL East despite having issues in their rotation. They have relied on a host of rookies including Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole. All three have had their moments, but none of them has been able to produce consistently. Strasburg was the team's best pitcher for much of the season and getting him back to full strength could be a huge determinant to how far they go in the playoffs, if they are fortunate enough to make it there.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Bryce Harper 9/2 vs. Mets - 2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, SB
Pitching line of the week: Tanner Roark 8/29 vs. Phillies - 7.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 5 SO, BB, 100 pitches (63 strikes)
Quote of the Week
"Mine are usually 'I hope your career ends' or 'I hope you blow out your knee.' Stupid things like that. It's just absurd. Fans are always going to be fans and root for their team. I totally understand that. But, some of the fans, it's just not human. Some of those things you shouldn't be saying. Especially when my back is turned to you. I more than welcome people to talk about me to my face. But if you talk behind my back, that's on you."
Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week
Mon. - 4:05 p.m. vs. Atlanta Braves (Scherzer vs. Weber)
Tue. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Atlanta Braves (Gonzalez vs. Foltynewicz)
Wed. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Atlanta Braves (TBA vs. De La Cruz)
Thu. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Cole vs. Velasquez)
Fri. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Roark vs. Thompson)
Sat. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Scherzer vs. Eickhoff)
Sun. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Gonzalez vs. Morgan)
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