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Nats Stock Watch: During tough week, Strasburg stands out

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Nats Stock Watch: During tough week, Strasburg stands out

Each week this season, we’ll take the temperature of the Nationals roster to see whose stock is rising or falling.  

Record: 2-4

Team slash: .239/.332/.410

Team ERA: 5.76

Runs per game:  5.16


STOCK UP 

Stephen Strasburg, SP: 2 GS/ 1-1/ 1.38 ERA 

The Nats rotation's had a pretty tough time of late, struggling so often that the title of "most reliable starter" has changed seemingly every other week. But right now that throne belongs to Strasburg, who's been pretty steady both times he's come off the disabled list this season. In his last six starts he's 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA, 43 strikeouts and just six walks. So uh, perhaps it was too soon to bury him, yeah? It pretty much goes without saying that if the Nats are to turn this around and catch the Mets in the standings, they'll need Strasburg to continue to look like vintage Strasburg the rest of the way.

Ian Desmond, SS: .348 AVG/ .988 OPS/ 5 RBI 

Make it two weeks in a row that Desmond has made it here, so perhaps we're finally one step closer to saying he's out of his season-long rut (for real this time). He's having his best offensive month of the year by a landslide, hitting .313 in August with four home runs, 13 RBI and a .934 OPS. The key is that he's seeing the ball much better; he's only struck out 14 times this month compared to the 33 times he whiffed in both May and June. Like many Nats hitters this year, he's not going to finish the season with gaudy numbers. But does that even matter anymore? All that matters is putting together five good weeks of baseball, and Desmond is showing signs that he could do just that. 

STOCK DOWN 

Max Scherzer, SP:  0-1/ 3.0 IP/ 18.00 ERA  

Remember when Scherzer was dominant in June and seemed like a shoe-in for the NL Cy Young? Yeah, that seems like eons ago now. Much like the team as a whole, his season has unraveled quickly. His August ERA has ballooned to 7.80, which seems unfathomable given how impressive he was during the first half of the season. For a big stretch of 2015, he was the guy the club could count on to be the stopper. Now what? 

Anthony Rendon, 2B: .071 AVG/.143 OPS/ 6 K 

It's been nearly an entire season, and fans are still waiting for Rendon to resemble the guy that finished fifth in NL MVP voting in 2014. Instead, for whatever reason, he's looked like a shell of himself. Sure, he's had to fight through two different DL stints this year, but he's had enough at-bats that we're well past the point of "shaking off the rust". It seems Matt Williams has reached the same conclusion, giving Rendon a few days off in Colorado to insert Danny Espinosa in the lineup to try to generate a spark. 

Wilson Ramos, C: .450 OPS/ 0 XBH 

The irony of Ramos' struggles this season is that they have nothing to do with health, which has usually been the case with him. Now, it's just about being plain ineffective. Prior to 2015, fans were clamoring to see what his numbers would look like over a full season. But four-and-a-half months into the season? Not so much. He's homerless in August and has a .454 OPS (!) since July. Ouch.

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In wake of the Eaton-Frazier dilemma, what are the biggest former teammate beefs in sports?

In wake of the Eaton-Frazier dilemma, what are the biggest former teammate beefs in sports?

Some sports beef just never go away.

On Monday, former Chicago White Sox teammates Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier had to be separated during the third inning of the New York Mets 5-3 victory over the Nationals. The two have never liked each other, and their beef with one another extends as far back as 2016. 

D.C. Sports Live's Julia Donaldson and Travis Thomas discuss what other teammate beefs in recent memory compare with the saga between Eaton and Frazier.

Donaldson initially brought up the beef between former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. The two were very critical of each other vocally to the media throughout their final season together in Pittsburgh. Their relationship reached a point of no repair, as the Steelers shipped their All-Pro receiver to the Oakland Raiders in March.

For Thomas, the first teammate beef that came to mind was the incident between former Nationals teammates Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon. It's hard to forget the image of Papelbon choking out Harper for not hustling and running out the bases.

Sticking with baseball, another teammate beef from recent memory is the everlasting dislike between Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants. The two were teammates from 1997-2002, and their dislike for another was very much in the public eye. Their hatred for another reached a peak in June 2002, when the two of them had to be separated from another, and Kent publicly said he wanted to leave the team. He was then dealt to Houston in the offseason. 

Other former teammate sports beefs that come to mind are Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal when they were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers. The two stars both wanted to be the clear main No. 1 option, which led the Lakers to trade Shaq to the Miami Heat. The trade ended up working out for both parties, as O'Neal won a championship in Miami, while Bryant led the Lakers to two more championships in 2009 and 2010.

What other teammate sports beefs come to mind?

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Mike Rizzo: Nationals are 'aggressively' trying to re-sign Anthony Rendon

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Mike Rizzo: Nationals are 'aggressively' trying to re-sign Anthony Rendon

The Washington Nationals have every intention of trying to reach a long-term deal with Anthony Rendon, GM Mike Rizzo said, looking to quell concern after a report Tuesday that he may be on his way out after the 2019 season.

"Anthony Rendon is a guy that we drafted, developed, signed and watch turn into a star in front of our eyes," Rizzo said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "He’s a guy that we’d like to have long-term. We’re certainly going to be aggressive and try to make that happen and hopefully, it will."

Nationals fans are growing anxious after the front office couldn't get a deal done with Bryce Harper, hoping a repeat wouldn't happen with Rendon who has had a breakout career with the Nats.

"We have shown that we’re not afraid to sign our own players, we’re not afraid to sign free agent players, and we’re not afraid to spend money on stars of the game and I don’t think Anthony Rendon would be any different," Rizzo said.

Grant Paulsen said on Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan's "Grant and Danny Show," that he believes the Nationals have missed their opportunity to re-sign Rendon.

"Here's something I heard from someone who recently talked to Scott Boras," Paulsen said. "Apparently, he told that person that the Nationals already missed the boat on getting a deal done with Anthony Rendon." 

Rizzo and the Nationals have already offered Rendon a contract extension in late March, to which he turned down. Since then, nothing has come to fruition. 

"It also takes two to get a deal done," Rizzo said. "We're aggressively trying to sign Anthony Rendon. We’d love to have him here as a National long-term.”

The Nationals look to bounce back after two straight losses to the New York Mets tonight at 7:10 p.m.

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