As the Nationals enter the second half attempting to live up to expectations and defend their National League East crown, they are looking up at the Phillies, who want to make a significant acquisition, and the Braves, who have the prospect currency necessary to make a big deal before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
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Few things have gone smoothly for the Nationals through the first 96 games of the season, where they have fallen from heavy division favorites to a .500 record and third place in the National League East. They have been injured, their stars have underperformed and the emergence of the Braves and Phillies has put Washington in jeopardy of missing the postseason for the first time since 2015.
Infinite Jess: Bryce Harper's dad is strong
Max Scherzer compared the atmosphere of pitching in the All-Star Game to the postseason, a fact that would only be amplified by pitching in his home ballpark. Then Scherzer gave the hometown crowd a reason to get excited during Tuesday's 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park.
The ball wasn't flying out of Nationals Park quite as frequently as it did during Bryce Harper's heroic hometown homer binge a night earlier, but it was flying all the same in a dinger-driven, record-breaking 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night.
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg will be activated off the disabled list on Friday and make his first start since June 8, manager Dave Martinez announced on Tuesday. First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is also slated to return from a strained right oblique.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the All-Star Teen Room at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington on Tuesday morning, which included MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Nationals officials, seven club members entered the room for the first time.
Who do the Nationals have in the pipeline? Get scouting reports, video, stats, projected ETAs and more for Washington's Top 30 Prospects on MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Watch.
The Nationals will begin the second half with a 7:05 p.m. ET matchup against the Braves on Friday at Nationals Park. Stephen Strasburg will be activated from the disabled list to make his first start since June 8, while Atlanta counters with Anibal Sanchez.
Bryce Harper gave the 43,698 fans the show they had so eagerly anticipated in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night, staging a late rally to win the final round against the Cubs' Kyle Schwarber.
Although National League manager Dave Roberts briefly considered some of his other options, deciding the starting pitcher for 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard was a simple decision.
Bryce shows off amazing Home Run Derby style
Bryce Harper's every move has been scrutinized and closely monitored since he arrived in Washington, so it is only natural that he is once again the center of attention with the 89th MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX coming to Nationals Park. It is the halfway point of the much anticipated final year on his contract with the Nationals, one that so far has not lived up to the enormous expectations it carried.
Harper hit 9 HRs in 50 seconds to win Derby
It was a memorable, record-breaking night in the nation's capital as eight competitors battled it out in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Nationals Park.
Harper also won a HR Derby when he was 11
The participants of the All-Star Commissioner's Cup and the Jennie Finch Classic aren't just receiving valuable baseball and softball experience during their time in Washington, D.C. Some of that time in the nation's capital has been a learning experience, too, such as their visit to the Library of Congress on Monday morning.
To the wide smiles and admiring faces of several dozen little leaguers on Monday morning, Bryce Harper left another imprint on the Washington, D.C. area with the dedication of the Bryce Harper All-Star Complex at Fred Crabtree Park.
Daniel Murphy delivered a tie-breaking, pinch-hit, two-run single to give the Nats a lead they would not relinquish in a win to close out the first half of the season on Sunday at Citi Field. Jeremy Hellickson posted a strong quality start, allowing one run over six innings as he continues to prove his value to Washington's rotation. Corey Oswalt threw another terrific outing, allowing just two hits over five scoreless innings, but the Mets' decision to pull the righty after just 59 pitches cost New York when the bullpen coughed up five runs in the seventh.
Ever since winning the inaugural All-Star Armed Services Home Run Challenge presented by T-Mobile last week, both U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jacob Hensal and Naval Cryptic Technician Russ Newbern couldn't have expected to be where they were Monday night: in the batter's box at Nationals Park. And the country was watching.
The Nationals reject the notion that their competitive window is closing. Even with key players approaching free agency and some aging stars, the Nats point to the talent in the pipeline. Talent such as Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia, who represented Washington at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday.
On May 31, Connor Curtin said he underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor of his leg bone that was supposed to sideline him for a month. Curtin said the tumor was larger than doctors expected, so his doctor told him he couldn't participate in contact sports for eight weeks, which Curtin expected to keep him out of the Commissioner's Cup.
When visiting the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on Saturday afternoon, Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to almost every team playing in the Commissioner's Cup and Jennie Finch Classic, tournaments for players ages 17 and under from MLB Youth Academies.
Artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, experts and ready-to-learn attendants descended upon Washington D.C.'s Blind Whino Arts Club Saturday to celebrate culture in the nation's capital during MLB's inaugural "Culture + Code" event.
Each team slugged four home runs, but it was Team USA who came out on top in a 10-6 victory at Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park.
Austin Voth made his long-awaited MLB debut in front of a gaggle of family and friends who ventured with him to Citi Field on Saturday. They witnessed the right-hander match some dubious history. The seven earned runs Voth allowed in what ended as a 7-4 loss to the Mets marked the most surrendered by a big league pitcher this season in his debut.
Saturday morning's Color Run MLB All-Star 5K presented by Nike provided an enjoyable experience for participants. The route for the 8 a.m. ET event took runners -- many from in or around Washington, D.C. -- from the home-plate gate of Nationals Park over the bordering Anacostia River and back ... and throwing distance from the brand new stadium for Major League Soccer's D.C. United.
A major component of every Legacy Project initiative during All-Star Week includes reintroducing youth baseball fields that have been renovated, restored and spruced up for area kids to play on. Not only now, but for generations to come. Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals unveiled one of those fields on Saturday morning at Walker Mill Regional Park -- home of a brand new, refurbished "Nationals All-Star Field" in Maryland's Prince George's County.
In the five days since his last start, Tanner Roark conferred with his manager, pitching coach and other members of the Nationals' field staff. They sifted through video and mined reams of data, searching for ways to rejigger Roark's sliding season.
One hundred and fifty-three home runs. No, this number is not associated with Major League sluggers like J.D. Martinez, Jose Ramirez or Aaron Judge. This was the total number of blasts 16 participants in the third annual Jr. Home Run Derby launched at Nationals Park on Saturday morning.
Sometime before the Nationals and Mets continue their four-game set on Saturday from Citi Field, Nationals manager Dave Martinez plans to call Bryce Harper into his office. There, the first-year skipper will have "a conversation" with his star player about one of the more notable plays from Friday's 4-2 loss to the Mets.
The first- and second-place winners of the All-Star Armed Services Home Run Challenge presented by T-Mobile will swing for the fences at Nationals Park once again on Monday's Home Run Derby in between the breaks in action.
Roark legs out gloriously bizarre triple
Harper relieved he held on for snow-cone catch
Kids of all ages participated in the Miracle League-Challenger Game, a matchup involving special needs kids that provided an opportunity to play baseball on the very field that the Major League All-Stars will occupy on Tuesday.
Dave Martinez hopped out from behind his desk in the visiting manager's office at Citi Field. He fell from his chair and spun, crawling with his back along the carpet floor. Looking up at the ceiling, he recounted a story as he demonstrated it.