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Bye, bye Hanley: A Nats killer

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Bye, bye Hanley: A Nats killer

When the Miami Marlins traded former All-Star Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, it represented a sort of shift for the franchise. After opening a new stadium and escalating their payroll in the offseason, the Marlins have apparently seen enough of their 2012 roster and want to go in a different direction.

The Marlins beginning to blow things up means lots for the N.L. East as a division, it is now clearly a two-team race between the Braves and Nationals. It could, however, help the Nationals more than anybody.

Ramirez may not be the MVP candidate he was in 2009, but perhaps no team felt the wrath of Hanley more than Washington. Ramirez has hit more home runs (27) and RBI (74) against the Nationals than any other team in his career. He also carries a career average of .342 against the club, part of a 1.067 OPS.

Hanley may have regressed back into mediocrity over the last few years, but against Washington that hasnt been the case. This season he has a .355 average with two homers and five runs in nine games against the Nats.

Having him out of the division should be a positive for Washington, especially with a 42-74 record against the franchise since Ramirez became an everyday player in 2006. He does, however, boost a Dodgers lineup that could find itself playing the Nationals in October if both teams qualify for the postseason.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.