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Max Scherzer and Juan Soto nominated for end of season awards

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USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer and Juan Soto nominated for end of season awards

The Nationals' 2018 campaign ended much earlier than people expected, as Washington went from a preseason World Series contender to missing the playoffs with an 82-80 record.

Despite having a dissapointing season as a whole, there were plenty positives that Nationals fans can take away from it. 19-year-old rookie phenom Juan Soto had one of the best seasons of any teenager in MLB history, and every fifth day, the Nationals knew they would be watching something special when Max Scherzer was on the bump.

Both Scherzer and Soto have the chance to bring home some hardware next Monday, when the winners of the NL Cy Young and NL Rookie of the Year are announced. 

Scherzer, the award winner the past two seasons, has the chance to claim his third straight and fourth overall Cy Young.

Although 'Mad Max' led the National League in wins and strikeouts in 2018, he's not the favorite to win the award. The other two finalists, New York Mets Jacob deGrom and Philadelphia Phillies Aaron Nola, posted better wins above replacement (WAR) and earned run average (ERA). Still, Scherzer's 2018 season (18-7, 2.53 ERA, 300 strikeouts, and 9.5 WAR) was nothing to short of amazing.

When the Nationals defeated the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day, Juan Soto was in Hagerstown, playing for the Nationals Single-A affiliate. But in less than two months, Soto worked his way up to 'The Show,' where he quickly proved he belonged.

The 'Childish Bambino' finished the season with a .292 average, 22 home runs, and 70 RBIs in just 114 games. Soto led all rookies in RBIs, on-base-percentage, and OPS (on-base-plus-slugging-percentage), and won NL Player of the Month in June, July and September.

Like Scherzer, Soto is also not the favorite to win his respective award. Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna edged Soto in batting average, and led all NL rookies with 26 home runs. He was also a much better defensive player than Soto, while an important piece for a team that won the division. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler is also a finalist for the award. In 24 starts, Buehler went 9-5 with a 2.62 ERA.

Although nor Scherzer or Soto are expected to come home with hardware on Monday, they both have seasons they can look back on and be proud of. Should a surprise occur and they do win, nobody can say it was not deserving.

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Andy Martino of SNY refutes the reports that the Nats are out on Harper

Andy Martino of SNY refutes the reports that the Nats are out on Harper

Despite Mark Lerner's comments to NBC Sports Washington that the team hasn't been in recent contact with Bryce Harper and has filled out the roster, SNY's Andy Martino says not to give up hope.


"Do not believe that the Nationals are out on Harper," Martino said. "People I talk to around the situation are saying don't rule the Nationals out until the moment that Harper signs elsewhere."


Martino believes that the clearest options may not be what they seem.


"The Phillies of course are pursuing him, but I continue to hear they have a tough road to get Harper to come to Philly," he said. "The Phillies are possible but I don’t know that I would call them frontrunners."

After the news of Manny Machado signing with the Padres, all eyes turn to Bryce Harper and how long this continues to drag out. 

The clock is ticking.

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How to watch NBC Sports Washington's full interview with Nationals owner Mark Lerner

How to watch NBC Sports Washington's full interview with Nationals owner Mark Lerner

When Nationals principal managing owner Mark Lerner  see his team lose, he has a postgame ritual that rivals one of the most ordinary passionate fan.

“ I go into a closet and scream a little after,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas in an exclusive interview in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday. “No, no. That’s one thing that’s good about baseball. You’re going to play the next day. But I go home. I’m totally depressed. I won’t turn on the sports news or anything and get up the next morning, it’s a new day, get up and go after it again today. When I’m sitting down there, I’m very passionate as a fan. I’m yelling at the umpires like everybody else. I want to win. I hate losing exhibition games let alone regular-season games.”

Lerner also spoke about Bryce Harper's future - or lack thereof - with the team, Anthony Rendon and what he expects from the team this season.

The interview is now available in full on the MyTeams app, which can be downloaded here.

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