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Nats saw no noticeable difference in conditions at Turner Field

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Nats saw no noticeable difference in conditions at Turner Field

Much has been made about the field conditions at Turner Field this season with Braves players themselves pondering a grievance with the players' union, according to a report by ESPN. Braves players expressed their displeasure anonymously, but the Dodgers didn't hold back publicly.

"The guys talk about it around the league that it is not the best infield as far as playing," L.A. manager Dave Roberts said.

"There are some tricky hops out there," Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley added.

The theory is that the Braves have been neglecting their field with a new stadium set to open in 2017. The Nationals are one of four teams to play in Atlanta so far this season and several said they saw no difference in the field from past years to this one.

"I have heard some guys complain about it, but I didn't see any difference in Atlanta versus the others, but I'm not on the infield," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said.

Now, the Nationals did play only two games there and the first was on Opening Day. If the Braves were to choose one game all season to make sure the field looked and played well, that would be the one.

But there's another element to all of this that may be noteworthy. One Nats player pointed out how the field has never considered among the best-kept in baseball. Another seemed to agree with that notion and added that the conditions made what Andrelton Simmons used to do at shortstop even more impressive.

There are differences in every infield in baseball and those inconsistencies can present unique challenges to visiting teams. The Phillies, for example, changed their infield to Kentucky bluegrass this winter in order to help their defense and pitching.

Baker has been around long enough to know the tricks of the trade and he shared his thoughts on infields in general this weekend.

"I think tall grass, short grass, wet infield, shorter infield: that's at the discretion of the home team. Since the beginning of time, they would wet infields down in front of the plate when it's a guy that's a sinkerball pitcher. Or, they would wet the bases if they are a speed team. It's at your discretion. If I've got a speed team, I want a fast infield. And if I've got a slow team, then I want a slower infield. It's like that so the other team doesn't have the advantage," he said.

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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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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.