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Ultimate Guide to 2018 MLB All-Star Week in Washington D.C.

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USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Guide to 2018 MLB All-Star Week in Washington D.C.

Major League Baseball is quickly approaching the halfway point of the 162-game season, which means it's almost time for the 89th annual Midsummer Classic. 

On Tuesday, July 17, Nationals Park will play host to the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. But All-Star Weekend is far more than just the All-Star Game. 

With Washington, D.C. playing host to the MLB All-Star Game for the first time since 1969, the city will serve as the epicenter for all things baseball, providing events and activities for diehard and casual fans like.

Individual tickets for the 2018 Home Run Derby are available on the secondary marketplace like StubHub and are currently priced around $150 a seat for Monday night.

Tickets for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game are sold as part of a package. But individual tickets are for sale on the secondary marketplace. The cheapest ticket for the MLB All-Star Game is currently in the $250 price range. 

MLB All-Star Weekend in Washington, D.C.: Schedule

Friday, July 13 to Tuesday, July 17:
— All-Star FanFest. Washington Convention Center (9am - 8pm daily)
— PLAY BALL Park. The Yards. (10am - 7pm daily)
— Armed Services Classic. Nationals Park (5 p.m.)

Saturday, July 14: 
— The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K. The Yards Park (8:00 a.m.)

Sunday, July 15:
— Futures Game, Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. Nationals Park (4:00 p.m.)
— All-Star Weekend Sunday Cookout. Lost & Found DC, (all day)

Monday, July 16: 
— All-Star Workout Day
— 2018 MLB Home Run Derby. Nationals Park (8:00 p.m.)
— Home Run Derby Party at Up Top Acres. The Farm at 55 M Street (7pm - 2am)

Tuesday, July 17:
— 2018 MLB All-Star Game. Nationals Park ( 8:00 p.m.)
 

MLB All-Star Weekend in Washington, D.C.: Things To Do

1. 2018 MLB All-Star FanFest
When: Friday, July 13 to July 17 (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Where: Washington Convention Center.
Tickets: Tickets for all the All-Star Weekend events can be purchased online by clicking here.

Get your best selfie face ready and hang out with current and former big names surrounding the Nats' organization. Find the detailed schedule here. 

Tickets are priced at $35, but follow along on Twitter for special deals leading up to events:

2. PLAY BALL Park 
When: Friday, July 13 to July 17 (10 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily)
Where: The Yards, Parcel A, Lot 854 Square, near First and M Streets SE

The 56,000 square-foot interactive area provides fun, engaging, and educational activities for youth baseball and softball players and their families. Tickets start at $32.99.

3. Armed Services Classic
When: Friday, July 13 (5 p.m.)
Where: Nationals Park

The Armed Services Classic is a co-ed adult softball tournament comprised of teams of active duty personnel from each of the five military branches.

Tickets are free, and available here.

4. MLB All-Star 5K 
When: Saturday, July 14, (8:00 a.m.)
Where: Yards Park, near First and M Streets Southeast

Register here

5. The Futures Game and Legends & Celebrity Softball Game 
When: Sunday, July 15 (4:00 p.m.)
Where: Nationals Park

The best Minor League prospects go head-to-head in a nine-inning battle followed by a not-so-average game of softball with some familiar faces. Last year's celebrity lineup featured names like Jamie Foxx, Bernie Williams, Jennie Finch and Jessica Mendoza. Tickets are still available. 

Shaq and Florida Georgia Line will each perform, too. 

6. All-Star Weekend Sunday Cookout
When: Sunday, July 15 (all day)
Where: Lost & Found DC, 1240 9th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20001

Live music and no cover fee. Join the BBQ Bus Smokehouse cookout from 12-5 p.m. 

7. All-Star Workout Day
When: Monday, July 16 (immediately preceeding the Home Run Derby)
Where: Nationals Park

8. Home Run Derby Party at Up Top Acres
When: Monday, July 16
Where: The Farm at 55 M Street, 55 M Street Southeast, Washington, DC 20003

$4 entry tickets give customers access to purchase Bluejacket beer, wine, burgers and hot dogs. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Find more information here

9. 2018 MLB Home Run Derby
When: Monday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on ESPN
Where: Nationals Park
Ticket Prices: Click here for Home Run Derby tickets

Participants will be announced in the week leading up to July 15. J.D. Martinez, Mike Trout, Jose Martinez, Aaron Judge, Francisco Lindor, Nelson Cruz, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are among MLB's home run leaders.  

10. 2018 MLB All-Star Game
When: Tuesday, July 17 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX
Where: Nationals Park
Ticket Prices: Click here for MLB All-Star Game tickets

The top players from around the League are chosen by fans and select insiders to compete in a nine-inning contest. On Monday, MLB released voting updates: 

N.L.

C- Buster Posey
1B- Freddie Freeman
2B- Ozzie Albies
3B- Nolan Arenado
SS- Brandon Crawford
OF- Nick Markakis
OF- Matt Kemp
OF- Bryce Harper

A.L.

C- Wilson Ramos
1B- Jose Abreu
2B- Jose Altuve
3B- Jose Ramirez
SS- Manny Machado
OF- Mookie Betts
OF- Mike Trout
OF- Aaron Judge

Pitchers for both leagues are chosen through a combination of player voting and Commissioner's Office selections.

As of Monday, Jose Altuve was the lead overall vote-getter with 3.4 million, Mookie Betts was second with 3.1 million and Jose Abreu and Manny Machado had the fewest at 1.3 million.

MLB All-Star Weekend in Washington, D.C.: Parking and Transit

Much like during the Caps' Stanley Cup Final run, D.C.'s Metro is expanding its hours on the nights of the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. MasterCard is sponsoring the Metro's late-night hours this time. The last Green Line trains will leave the Navy Yard/Ballpark Station toward Greenbelt at 12:22 a.m. and toward Branch Avenue at 12:48 a.m. OR 30 minutes after the event ends, whichever is later.

The city is expecting over 100,000 visitors throughout the week. For the most up-to-date weather, traffic and safety updates, text "DCSports" to 888-777. For the best ways to travel to, from and through D.C. during All-Star week, click here.

Parking passes for the Home Run Derby and 2018 MLB All-Star Game are available on StubHub with prices starting around $50. 

MLB All-Star Weekend in Washington, D.C.: Bars & Restaurants

— Aslin Beer Co. (1299 First St. SE, Washington, DC 20003)

Walking distance from Nationals Park, the beer garden is adjacent to developer Grosvenor's new residential building F1RST, at the corner of First Street and N Street, SE. 

Visit their website for more information on beer choices here

— Bluejacket Brewery (300 Tingey St. SE, Washington, DC 20003)

— The Bullpen  (1201 Half St. SE, Washington, DC 20003)

Located just outside of Nationals Park, watch All-Star coverage on big screens and projectors with a young D.C. crowd. Visit their website here

— Justin's Cafe (1025 First St. SE, Washington, DC 20003)

Looking for a no nonsense sports bar that makes you feel like you're at a neighboorhood block party? Justin's Cafe is for you. 

— Whaley's (301 Water St. SE, Washington, DC 20003)

While not technically a sports bar, Whaley's is one of the premier seafood spots near the ballpark. They have a rose wine garden and the Old Bay chips are very good.  Reserve a table here.

Follow @NBCSNationals for an inside source on all the latest news and conversation leading up to MLB's 89th annual Midsummer Classic at Nationals Park. 

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Bryce Harper drives in 3, Nationals snap skid, beat Cardinals 5-4

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Bryce Harper drives in 3, Nationals snap skid, beat Cardinals 5-4

ST. LOUIS -- Koda Glover rewarded his manager's faith.

Bryce Harper had three hits and drove in three runs, Glover earned the save in the first opportunity since Ryan Madson was placed on the disabled list, and the Washington Nationals snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

The Nationals won for just the third time in their last 10 games and snapped the Cardinals' season-high, eight-game winning streak.

"We needed a win today," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "Get on that plane, have a nice happy flight and come back tomorrow and be at home and be ready."

Tanner Roark (8-12) gave up four runs, three earned, in six innings.

A beleaguered bullpen that had blown two leads to start the losing streak took care of the rest. Justin Miller pitched two scoreless innings before Glover closed it out.

"There's been a lot of changes (in the bullpen)," Miller said. "It's unfortunate, a couple of injuries and stuff like that, but I don't really look at it as I've got the seventh or eighth or anything like that. I'm just going out there just trying to do my job."

Glover took the loss in the series opener on Monday, giving up a game-ending homer to Paul DeJong.

"The first game of the series didn't go as I would have liked for it to have went," Glover said. "So to get put back in that situation or even a better situation to get a save, I'm happy with that outcome."

Harper drove in the game's first run with a double in the first and knocked in two more with a bases-loaded single in the fourth to give the Nationals a 4-1 lead.

A pair of errors helped the Nationals extend their lead to 5-1 in the fifth. St. Louis committed three errors in the game after committing just four total errors during the winning streak.

"A couple plays clearly we expect to make and will make and just didn't go our way for a little bit there," Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt said. "To the guys' credit they regrouped, settled down, and started playing back to the baseball they know they can play."

The Nationals had opportunities to pad the lead, leaving the bases loaded in the third and fifth while stranding nine runners in the first five innings.

"When you have an opportunity to put teams away you've got to do that," Martinez said. "Especially with how hot the Cardinals are playing right now. They're going to come back."

The Cardinals got within one in the sixth. After DeJong and Kolten Wong came up with back-to-back, two-out RBI hits, Harrison Bader hit a slow grounder to third. Anthony Rendon's throw to first got away from Ryan Zimmerman for an error, allowing Wong to score from second to cut the Nationals' lead to 5-4.

Just two of the four runs Luke Weaver (6-11) allowed in his 3 2/3 innings were earned. He gave up seven hits, including two to Roark, who scored both times.

Tyson Ross allowed one unearned run in 3 1/3 innings of relief.

Bader homered in the third and Matt Carpenter walked twice to extend his on-base streak to a career-high 34 games.

TRAINING ROOM

Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson will have an MRI on his sore right wrist on Friday. RHP Joe Ross (right elbow surgery) threw 3 2/3 scoreless innings at Class A Potomac on Thursday and is hoping for a September return.

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder strain) will begin a rehab Friday at Double-A Springfield. RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow inflammation) threw two scoreless innings Thursday night at High-A Palm Beach.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (15-5, 2.19 ERA) will take the mound as the Nationals return home for a three-game series Friday night against the Miami Marlins and RHP Dan Straily (4-5, 4.42 ERA). Scherzer is 3-0 with a 3.43 ERA in three starts this season against the Marlins.

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (6-6, 3.22 ERA) kicks off a three-game series Friday night as the Cardinals host the Milwaukee Brewers and RHP Freddy Peralta (5-3, 4.47 ERA). Flaherty struck out a career-high 13 batters in his last start against the Brewers on June 22.

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Is Juan Soto a lock for National League Rookie of the Year?

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Is Juan Soto a lock for National League Rookie of the Year?

In April, it would have been unfathomable. In May, it would have been laughable. In June, it would have been improbable. In July, it started to look possible. In August, it might even have been likely. Now, it’s a complete toss-up.

Juan Soto is the worthiest National League Rookie of the Year. So is Ronald Acuña.

It’s one of the most exciting rookie races in recent memory, not simply for the otherworldly numbers each freshman sensation is putting up, but for just how good they are at such young ages. Juan Soto is a jaw-dropping 19. Acuña, by comparison, is the wizened veteran at the old age of... 20. 

The two are preternaturally talented, and their mature-beyond-their-years games have translated perfectly well to the big leagues. The question now is: which one will actually take home the hardware?

(Before we continue, I’ll note that Jack Flaherty, Brian Anderson, and Walker Buehler are all very talented young players who would at least be in the conversation in normal years).

The first step is to look at the numbers.

On the season Acuña is slashing .287/.347/.571, and his wRC+ is 144. He’s got 19 home runs and 8 stolen bases in just 68 games and his fWAR is 2.3. bWAR has him at 2.8

Soto’s slash line is currently .293/.420/.534, to go along with 15 home runs. His wRC+ is 153, and his fWAR is 2.7. His bWAR sits at 2.2.

Obviously, the numbers are terrific for both. Acuña has been up longer, but thanks to injury Soto has actually played 8 more games. Acuña has the edge in power, both in home runs and slugging percentage, plus he’s clearly the speedier player and better defender. If you’re looking for all-around game, he’s probably your man. Plus, for those who care about such things when voting on awards, the Braves are several games ahead of the Nats in the standings.

However, Soto’s performance has a couple things going for it. First of all, as impressive as it is that Acuña is taking the league by storm as a 20-year old, Soto is nearly a full year younger. It cannot be overemphasized how wild it is what Soto is doing as a teenager. He may very well be the greatest teenage batter in baseball history.

Secondly, Soto has been incredibly consistent. He’s basically been an All-Star level hitter since the day he was called up in May, whereas Acuña’s numbers, while very legitimate, are buoyed by his recent hot streak. He’s hit 8 home runs in 8 games, and of every hitter with at least 100 plate appearances since the All-Star Game, he has the highest wRC+ in that span. He’s had plenty of valleys to his peaks, though, and Soto has been a model of consistency. Of all hitters with at 200 at-bats this entire season, Soto ranks 7th over the entire season, That’s astounding.

Another point in Soto’s favor is just how historic his numbers are. Voters love a narrative, and as mentioned above, Soto is having literally the best offensive season a teenager has ever had. The highest wRC+ by a 19-year old in baseball history is Mel Ott with a 140 exactly 90 seasons ago. Soto is beating that by 13 so far.

The true separator, though, is Soto’s on-base percentage. His .420 mark is a comfortable 4th of all players with at least 300 plate appearances, behind elite batting eyes Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Joey Votto. And, once again, we’re talking about something historic.

Soto’s .420 on-base percentage, if it holds, will be the only OBP over .400 for a teenager with 200 plate appearances in Major League history. In fact, outside of Ott’s .397 in 1928, no other teenager has ever reached base at a .360 clip, let alone Soto’s astronomical .420.

Ultimately, I believe more in Acuña’s future, but I think Soto’s been the better player this season. Acuña is more well-rounded, but Soto’s elite batting eye has made him a top 10 hitter in baseball already. If Soto had been up on Opening Day and played at this level, he’d be on pace for a 5.5 WAR, which would top even Bryce Harper’s 2012 season.

As mentioned, though, voters love a narrative. If Acuña comes back from his injury and stays as hot as he’s been all August, it’ll be tough to ignore his performance during the Braves’ stretch run. This award is not over, but for now, Soto should be considered the favorite.

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