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Two Nationals players are being predicted as the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player

Two Nationals players are being predicted as the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player

We all know that Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is good enough to win MVP any given year, but what about another Nats position player?

After exploding onto the scene last season and finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting, ESPN analyst Eduardo Perez is predicting that Trea Turner will win the NL MVP in 2017. 

In 73 games last season, the NC State product posted a blistering .329 batting average, while adding 13 homers, 40 RBI and 33 stolen bases. In 2017, Turner will be even more important to the team as he moves to his natural position of shortstop, following the team trading for Adam Eaton, and trading away Danny Espinosa in the offseason. 

Of course in addition to Turner, right fielder Bryce Harper is garnering MVP predictions from different baseball writers, as is usually the case for him during spring training. After winning MVP in 2015, Harper followed that performance up with a subpar season (for his standards) in 2016. Last season Harper batted .243 with 24 homers and 86 RBI. While Harper didn't have the individual season he would've liked to have last year, he certainly seems poised to bounce back to his MVP form judging by how he's swung the bat in spring training. With just a couple exhibition games left before the regular season, Harper has hit an MLB-leading eight home runs to go along with his .304 batting average. 

While Harper and Turner are getting attention for the MVP award, it seems as if second baseman Daniel Murphy is sort of the forgotton man, even though he had a career year in 2016 on his way to finishing second in MVP voting to Kris Bryant. 

With three-legitimate stars on offense, and a dominant starting rotation, the Nationals are certainly in a good spot to repeat as NL East champions, and maybe finally win a playoff series. 

Related: Nationals name Blake Treinen their closer

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Max Scherzer was adamant Tuesday he would pitch for the Nats Wednesday night

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Max Scherzer was adamant Tuesday he would pitch for the Nats Wednesday night

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer now owns blue, brown and black eyes.

Scherzer -- who has heterochromia, resulting in one blue and one brown eye -- also now has bruising under his right eye after fouling a practice bunt attempt into his face Tuesday. He left Nationals Park on Tuesday with a splint across his broken nose, a clean CT scan and adamant he would be pitching later Wednesday.

Whether Scherzer pitches the second game of a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday is to be determined. He was still asleep, which is normal for his game-day routine, when manager Davey Martinez spoke to reporters Wednesday morning at 11. So, the last the Nationals knew, the expectation was for Scherzer to be ready for Wednesday night.

“I am convinced right now Scherzer is going to pitch the second game, and we’ll go from there,” Martinez said.

The Nationals have not played baseball since Sunday. Patrick Corbin was supposed to start Monday and Tuesday before those games were snuffed out by rain following lengthy delays. Corbin started the first game on Wednesday.

If Scherzer cannot pitch the second, Erick Fedde or Austin Voth will. Voth was brought in from Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday to be the 26th man on the roster for the doubleheader. He had a laborious trip to get to the District: Voth left Fresno on a 6 a.m. flight with a connection in Salt Lake City. He missed it because his first flight was delayed by weather and mechanical problems. He was rerouted to Detroit -- which took him out of first class and put him into a middle seat in coach -- then eventually landed in Washington. His baseball bag made the whole journey. His personal bag did not.

The Nationals hope they don’t have to use Voth as a starter. He could fill three roles: relief in the first game, starter in the second or relief in the second. He is likely to pitch somehow Wednesday in order to protect the other bullpen members during a stretch of six games in five days (should Mother Nature finally relent).

So, the Nationals are waiting on a call from Scherzer to map everything out. He’s expected to ring the team’s head trainer, Paul Lessard when he arises. The team is concerned about possible breathing complications for Scherzer both prior to and while pitching after Scherzer left the stadium with a splint across his damaged nose on Wednesday. Martinez was not sure if his $210 million right-hander would wear the splint if he pitches in a game.

What the Nationals do know is they have run into another odd situation during a strange year. A bad start, a manager on the hot seat, a recent rally toward relevancy, then back-to-back rainouts against a key opponent with an ace’s broken nose mixed in. Several players wore black “Stay in the fight” T-shirts which were draped across their clubhouse chairs when they walked in Wednesday morning. That slogan applied to Scherzer’s mentality on Tuesday night.

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Max Scherzer a game-time decision to pitch Wednesday after breaking nose in batting practice, Mike Rizzo says

Max Scherzer a game-time decision to pitch Wednesday after breaking nose in batting practice, Mike Rizzo says

After two consecutive rainouts, the Nationals are scheduled for a doubleheader Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Max Scherzer is slated to pitch one of those games, but after breaking his nose during batting practice Tuesday, Scherzer will be a game-time decision according to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo.

“‘We’ll see when he arrives today if he’s capable of pitching tonight," Rizzo said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday morning.

Following his hit in the face while attempting to bunt during BP, Scherzer also underwent a CAT scan to be sure there were no further injuries other than the broken nose.

Rizzo said he saw Scherzer Tuesday night and reported he had a bandage and splint on his nose but was breathing "fairly normally." However, swelling from a broken nose typically spreads to the eye region, which could potentially deter Scherzer's start.

“We’ll see if that curtails his ability to start or not," Rizzo said. 

Rizzo said Scherzer will be a game-time decision.

“I think we’ll see what happens when he wakes up today," Rizzo said.

The Nationals are set for a split day-night doubleheader against the Phillies Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. and 7:05.

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