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Strasburg goes yard, pitches a gem in series finale vs. Marlins

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Strasburg goes yard, pitches a gem in series finale vs. Marlins

WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg tossed a complete game six-hitter and also homered, Wilmer Difo added a home run and the Washington Nationals defeated the Miami Marlins 4-0 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep.

Washington, which has won four in a row, extended its lead in the NL East to 15 games over the Marlins.

Miami, which had won 13 of 16 prior to arriving in Washington, had not dropped three in a row since July 14-16.

The Marlins had no answer for Strasburg (11-4), who struck out eight. Strasburg threw 110 pitches. It was Strasburg's second complete game in 179 starts and his first since Aug. 11, 2013, against Philadelphia.

Strasburg is 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts since returning from a disabled list stint for right elbow nerve impingement.

Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors with 51 home runs and has 18 this month, went 0 for 4.

Miami left-hander Adam Conley (6-6) made it through the first four innings unscathed before Strasburg launched the first pitch of the fifth to right-center for his second home run this season and third of his career. Two batters later, Difo connected for his fifth homer of the year.

Anthony Rendon had a two-out RBI double in the seventh and Alejandro De Aza scored on a passed ball in the eighth to pad Washington's lead.

J.T. Realmuto had three hits for the Marlins, who went 2-8 at Nationals Park this season.

DIFO DELIVERS

Difo was 2 for 4, extending his hitting streak to eight games. In that span, he is hitting .394 (13 for 33). The Nationals improved to 25-6 when Difo starts and bats in the No. 2 spot.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Marlins: Manager Don Mattingly said the team has not finalized plans for 1B Justin Bour (right oblique strain) to begin a rehabilitation assignment, but hopes it will happen before the minor league season ends. "We're running out of time, so it's going to be fairly soon here," Mattingly said. "Hopefully after this series or a couple days after he'll go out because he needs to try to get his timing back."

Nationals: OF Bryce Harper, on the disabled list since Aug. 13 with a hyperextended left knee, said he had no set target date for a return. "The knee's feeling OK," Harper said. "Going through a calf strain and, of course, the bone bruise, it takes time. It's all it's been. I'm just trying to take some time. It's only been two weeks plus three days. It's still fairly new. I'm just trying to take it day by day."

UP NEXT

Marlins: RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (0-1, 3.70 ERA) starts against Philadelphia on Thursday as Miami returns home to begin a seven-game homestand.

Nationals: Washington opens a four-game series at Milwaukee on Thursday as LHP Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 2.40), who allowed two runs in seven innings against the Brewers on July 26, gets the nod.

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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.