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Harper is a finalist for NL MVP Award


Harper is a finalist for NL MVP Award

Updated at 7:35 p.m.

Bryce Harper, to the surprise of nobody, is one of three finalists for NL MVP honors. The Nationals' young star will have to wait another nine days to find out if he won the award, and if so, by how much margin.

Harper, and teammate Wilson Ramos, did find out Tuesday evening they will not be adding a Gold Glove Award to their respective mantels.

Harper officially was named an MVP finalist, joining Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Reds first baseman Joey Votto. That means those players finished 1-2-3 in balloting conducted by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America prior to the end of the regular season.

The BBWAA will announce the winner Nov. 19, with Harper a runaway favorite to capture the award, perhaps in a unanimous vote. (There are 32 total voters, two from each NL city.)

Harper's candidacy is as solid as they get. He led the NL with 42 homers, 118 runs scored, a .460 on-base percentage, .649 slugging percentage and 1.109 OPS, while finishing second to Miami's Dee Gordon with a .330 batting average. He was only the ninth player in MLB history to hit .330 with 42 homers and a .460 on-base percentage in a single season.

If he is selected, Harper will be only the third player in Washington baseball history to win an MVP award, joining the Senators' Walter Johnson (1913, 1924) and Roger Peckinpaugh (1925). The highest a Nationals player has ever finished in NL MVP voting is fifth (Anthony Rendon, 2014).

No other Nationals were named finalists for the BBWAA's three other awards (Cy Young, Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year). Max Scherzer is expected to receive Cy Young votes, though, perhaps finishing fourth or fifth.

The Nationals had a pair of Gold Glove Award finalists in Harper and Ramos, but neither emerged with the hardware. Harper lost out to Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward; Ramos lost out to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.


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What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

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What to make of the Strasburg-Scherzer shouting match in the Nationals' dugout

Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had a heated exchange in the Nationals dugout Friday night.

It was another not-so-great moment in an otherwise unspectacular season for the Nats so far.

Things like this often appear worse than they are based on what we can see, not hear, on television. In any case, it has fans and pundits talking about a perceived off-the-field issue instead of the actual game. There's nothing "good" about this, but there are important factors that are "bad" and ones that are "not bad."

Davey Martinez, Strasburg and Scherzer already said this has been settled and wasn't a big deal in the first place, but for a manager who's already faced some scrutiny this year for how he manages his pitchers, having two of them go at it in the dugout isn't ideal.

It also doesn't present the best optics for a team that came out of the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals need to build some momentum heading into the dog days of summer, and after a lackluster first half, this isn't how anybody would want to start the second half.

This was also Strasburg's first start back from a month-long stint on the disabled list. Ryan Zimmerman just rejoined the club as well. Things are shaping up to make for a solid second-half run, but all this does is detract from that.

The Nationals also just hosted the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. Having something like this happen in the dugout where everybody can see it takes away from some of that good publicity.

But there are also positives, or at least non-negatives, to take from this. Scherzer has always been ultracompetitive, and as the best pitcher on the staff, he needs to harness that into leadership. With Strasburg coming off a rough inning, Scherzer may have thought he needed a little tough love from a veteran. There's nothing wrong with that. Strasburg, to his credit, has never been one to focus too much on himself, so if there's anyone who can take something like this constructively, it'd be him.

This isn't Jonathan Paplebon fighting Bryce Harper for not running out a pop fly the day after the Nats were eliminated from playoff contention. These are two veteran guys who play the same position who are both competitive and want to win. It's akin to an older brother pushing his younger brother to do better. Strasburg even hinted at the family aspect after the game.

In the end, there's really nothing to see here. Frustration is part of the game. Talking it out is a part of remedying the frustration.

What really matters is tracking down the Braves and the Phillies. The Nationals can get started on that Sunday in the second game of a rain-shortened two-game series against the Braves.


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Saturday's Nationals game rained out, to be postponed

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Saturday's Nationals game rained out, to be postponed

Following a dicey matchup between the Nats and Braves Friday night which featured a heated argument between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals are getting a much-needed opportunity to regroup.

The Washington Nationals' official Twitter account announced that Saturday evening's matchup will be postponed due to inclement weather just after 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

The Nationals had planned to host "JMU Night" at the ballpark as a part of their "College Day" series, and due to more forecasted inclement weather Sunday, the Nationals decided to call the game off sooner rather than later.

The Nationals have yet to announce when the game will be made up.

If Sunday's game is played as scheduled, Max Scherzer will start.

This post will be updated when more information regarding a makeup date has been announced.