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Nats set rotation for big weekend series

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Nats set rotation for big weekend series

The Nationals will give the ball to Jordan Zimmermann first out of the All-Star break, sending the right-hander to the mound Friday night against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the opener of a star-studded weekend series.

Doug Fister, whose turn before the break was skipped, will start Saturday afternoon against fellow right-hander Mike Bolsinger. All of that will be a mere prelude to Sunday's series finale, which pits All-Stars and Cy Young Award contenders Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke against each other at Nationals Park.

The Nationals could have elected to start Scherzer right out of the break, given that he would have been on regular rest after starting last Sunday's first-half finale in Baltimore. But the club chose to give its ace another two days to regroup after attending (but not pitching in) the All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

Scherzer still winds up in the highest-profile matchup of the weekend, putting his 2.11 ERA and MLB-best 0.78 WHIP up against Greinke and his MLB-best 1.39 ERA, not to mention 35 2/3 consecutive-innings scoreless streak. Greinke did start Tuesday's All-Star Game, allowing a leadoff homer to Mike Trout but striking out four over two solid innings.

Sunday's finale may draw the most headlines, but Friday's second-half opener would otherwise be touted as one of the better pitching matchups out there. Kershaw hasn't been able to duplicate his Cy Young numbers from last season, but he still owns a 2.85 ERA and NL-best 160 strikeouts. Zimmermann, meanwhile, enters the second half with an 8-5 record and 3.22 ERA, with 14 quality starts out of 18 overall appearances.

Fister will be taking the mound Saturday after a 12-day break, his last turn in the rotation having been skipped as a result of a rainout against the Reds. The right-hander has been a bit inconsistent since returning from a forearm strain, going 3-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 11 total starts.

Bolsinger has emerged as a surprisingly effective member of the Dodgers rotation this season. The 27-year-old right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 13 starts.

The Nationals haven't announced their rotation plans beyond the weekend yet, but they are now set up to pitch Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark (filling in for the injured Stephen Strasburg) and Zimmermann in next week's series against the second-place Mets.

MORE NATIONALS: Werth to begin rehab Thursday at Potomac

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Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

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USA TODAY Sports

Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

Bryce Harper homered, Max Scherzer struck out seven in six innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Sunday.

Anthony Rendon also had two hits and drove in two runs for Washington, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and helping the Nationals earn a split of the series after Saturday's game was rained out. Adam Eaton and Juan Soto each had three hits.

Two days after a heated exchange with teammate Stephen Strasburg during Friday's 8-5 loss, Scherzer (13-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in his third straight win. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched six or more innings in his last 19 starts.

Kelvin Herrera got five outs for his first save with Washington.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 55 minutes by rain, and another downpour stopped play for almost 100 minutes between the sixth and seventh innings.

Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (7-6) gave up four runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Harper singled in Eaton to give Washington a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Matt Adams added another RBI single in the seventh, and Harper added a solo drive in the eighth for his 24th homer.

Scherzer was staked to an early 3-0 lead and then got some help from his defense.

Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the third with a drive off the wall in center, but he was thrown out by Harper while trying for a double. With a runner on first in the fifth, Freddie Freeman's blast to right was chased down by Eaton on the warning track.

Then in the seventh, Michael A. Taylor made a leaping catch at the wall in center to rob Dansby Swanson of extra bases with one runner on.

Washington got off to a fast start with three runs in the first. Rendon drove in Eaton and Harper with a triple down the right-field line, and then scored on Soto's groundout.

Swanson drove in Atlanta's runs with a groundout in the second and a single in the fourth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: All-Star 2B Ozzie Albies, who left Friday's game with right hamstring tightness, got the day off.

Nationals: RHP Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) experienced extended soreness after throwing off the mound Friday. An MRI Saturday revealed a stress reaction, comparable to a bone bruise, in the bridge of his foot and he is wearing a walking boot. ... RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) was reinstated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

UP NEXT

Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-5, 3.51 ERA) pitches the opener of a two-game series in Miami on Monday. He already has beaten the Marlins twice this season, allowing one run in 12 innings.

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72 ERA) opens a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday night. He is 2-4 with a 4.93 ERA in nine career starts versus the Brewers.

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Nationals trade Brian Goodwin to Kansas City Royals

Nationals trade Brian Goodwin to Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  -- Outfielder Brian Goodwin has been acquired by the Kansas City Royals from the Washington Nationals for minor league pitcher Jacob Condra-Bogan.

The 27-year-old Goodwin hit .200 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 48 games for the Nationals this season. He bruised his left wrist diving for a ball and did not play from April 15 until May 15, when he had two at-bats. He went back on the disabled list, returned June 1 and is hitting .171 (7 for 41) since.

Condra-Bogan, 23, went 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 16 relief outings with Lexington of the South Atlantic League and one appearance with Wilmington of the Carolina League, also Class A.

The trade was announced Sunday.

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