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Tanner Roark struggles as Nationals drop rubber match of series to Pirates

Tanner Roark struggles as Nationals drop rubber match of series to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Adam Frazier is making the most of his chance as Pittsburgh's new left fielder.

Frazier had a career-high four RBIs, Josh Bell and John Jaso homered, and Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Washington Nationals 10-4 on Thursday.

Frazier hit a two-run double in the sixth inning and a two-run single in the seventh to help the Pirates pull away after Jaso's solo home run in the fifth inning broke a 4-4 tie. Frazier, the leadoff hitter, is 10 for 20 in his last four games.

"He's done a very nice job for us, very professional guy up there, sees pitches, swings the bat," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Frazier started the season as a utility player. However, right fielder Gregory Polanco is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and center fielder Starling Marte suspended until mid-July for violating baseball's drug agreement.

Andrew McCutchen has moved from right field to center field. Frazier who was activated from the DL last Friday after missing nearly three weeks with a strained left hamstring, is getting a chance in left field.

"Coming into the season, I prepared to be ready to play every day, even though there wasn't a spot in the lineup for me," Frazier said "You never know what's going to happen. Now, I'm just trying to do the same things that put me in this position."

Bell, a rookie batting cleanup for the first time in his brief big league career, opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning. It was the switch-hitter's fourth in six games and team-high ninth this season.

"I'm just riding the wave right now," Bell said.

McCutchen and Chris Stewart each had two of the Pirates' 13 hits and Danny Ortiz singled in the seventh inning for his first big league hit. Jaso, who has three home runs, drove in two runs as Pittsburgh took two of three from the NL East-leading Nationals and won for the fourth time in five games.

The Nationals' Daniel Murphy had two hits, including his seventh home run, a solo shot in the second inning. Washington has lost five of its last six road games.

"It was a bad couple days," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We didn't play very well. We made a lot of mistakes. Seems like we weren't there sometimes. We just have to up the intensity and up our concentration."

Tyler Glasnow (2-3) got the win despite allowing four runs -- two earned -- in five innings.

Tanner Roark (3-2) was tagged for seven runs in five innings, remaining winless in four starts. Roark also walked four, his fifth time in six starts with three or more.

KANG LOSES APPEAL

Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who has been on the restricted list since spring training, lost his appeal Thursday of a suspended two-year prison sentence in his native South Korea for fleeing the scene after crashing a car into the guardrail while driving drunk.

Kang had sought to lower the punishment to a fine. His lawyers have called the suspended prison term issued in March a potential "death sentence" to his career, blaming it for visa issues that have prevented him from joining the Pirates.

Team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement that it would be premature to comment.

GETTING A BREATHER

Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman was not in the starting lineup after going 5 for 31 in his last eight games, a slide that dropped his batting average to .374 from .435. He went 1-for-2 with a double after entering in the sixth.

UP NEXT

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.46 ERA) faces Braves RHP R.A. Dickey (3-3, 4.22) on Friday night at Atlanta.

Pirates: Rookie RHP Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41) starts Friday night against visiting Philadelphia and RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.71).

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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.