The National League East has proven through the start of the season that it will be one of the most interesting divisions to watch throughout this baseball season. There were four teams within 3 1/2 games of first place entering Wednesday with a lot to sort out and the fifth team surprising some with its competitive start.
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The rainouts from last week altered the Nationals' pitching rotation, requiring a spot starter for Wednesday's series finale against the Padres at Nationals Park. So they turned to their top pitching prospect, right-hander Erick Fedde, who endured some weather-related delays before arriving in Washington for his first start of the year.
Bryce Harper battled the sun for the entire game in right, including a tough play at the wall on Christian Villanueva's two-run double, which ended up as the difference in the game.
Nationals shortstop Trea Turner joined MLB vice president for social responsibility Billy Bean in offering students from 11 D.C.-based schools encouragement and advice on Wednesday afternoon.
Harper's dream Stanley Cup Final is set
After an off-day Thursday, the Nationals will travel to Miami for the first time this season for the start of a three-game road trip at Marlins Park on Friday. Max Scherzer will take the mound with the benefit of an extra day of rest. Since the start of last season, he is 10-1 with a 2.39 ERA with five days of rest in between starts. Jose Urena will take the mound for the Marlins, with first pitch at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Michael A. Taylor, who has struggled at the plate this season, took a big sigh of relief after swatting a double off the center-field wall to bring home the game-winning run in the ninth inning. The Nationals center fielder kept the game tied in the sixth with a 98.8 mph throw to the plate to throw out a runner. Franchy Cordero (449-foot home run) and Bryce Harper (NL-best 15th homer) provided the early fireworks.
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 32 MLB.com reporters were polled on the 2018 Cy Young races and here are the results.
Taylor hits most expressionless walk-off ever
In the middle of another strong outing and given the trust to pitch deeper into the game, Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson exited in the sixth inning of Tuesday's game against the Padres with an apparent blister on his pitching hand.
Perhaps Bryce Harper's bat is beginning to heat up again. He crushed a solo home run to straightaway center field in the fifth inning against Padres left-hander Eric Lauer on Tuesday night at Nationals Park, his National League-leading 15th home run of the season.
For the first time in more than a week, Nationals right-hander Ryan Madson went to the outfield to play catch, making about 25 throws at about half effort to gauge the feeling in his strained pectoral muscle. Despite the minimal effort, Madson was pleased by the way the ball jumped out of his hand.
Hellickson makes snag on line drive look easy
Bryce Harper is excited to cheer the Golden Knights
Nationals prospect Juan Soto is set to make his first big league start on Monday night. The 19-year-old outfielder was in the starting lineup announced by the club, hitting sixth and playing left field against the Padres.
Juan Soto, Bryce Harper and Mark Reynolds (twice) homered to back Gio Gonzalez's seven strong innings, as the Nationals took care of the Padres in the series opener. San Diego starter Robbie Erlin struggled to the tune of six runs over his four innings, although Franmil Reyes hit his first career home run for the Friars.
Nats' academy kids react to Soto's first homer
Soto does Harper hair flip after first homer
When left-hander Tim Collins found out he was coming back to the Majors for the first time since 2014, he admitted his reaction was not what he expected. The feeling was surreal, even arriving in the Nationals' clubhouse for Monday's game against the Padres.
Harper's place in baseball eyewear history
The Nationals leaned on a strong outing from right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who yielded three runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He fanned seven and walked four. Washington struck on offense with Trea Turner's two-run home run in the third inning, but it was unable to push across more in the 7-2 loss to the Dodgers.
The Nationals promoted Juan Soto, the club's No. 2 prospect and the No. 15 overall prospect as rated by MLB Pipeline, to the Majors on Sunday, making him the youngest active player in MLB. He skyrocket through the club's system, beginning the season at Class A and mashing his way to three promotions in a month, culminating with his arrival in Washington for this series finale against the Dodgers.
Former teenage OF Harper now joined by phenom Soto
Matt Wieters had some encouraging news prior to Sunday afternoon's game against the Dodgers. A few days after he underwent surgery to repair his left hamstring, the timetable for his return could end up being much sooner than expected.
Sean Doolittle blamed himself for mixing up the sign on the pitch that ultimately led to the Nationals' 5-4 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday night. It was Doolittle's first blown save of the season and just his second since joining Washington last summer. It spoiled a dominant effort from Max Scherzer, who collected a run-scoring single and struck out 13 in seven innings.
Howie Kendrick suffered a ruptured Achilles during Game 1 of the Nationals' doubleheader vs. the Dodgers and will miss the rest of the season.
Perhaps the long layoff created some rust for these Nationals, who dropped the first game of Saturday's split doubleheader, 4-1, to the Dodgers at Nationals Park.
The Nationals had not played a full game in nearly a week, but when they returned to the field in Saturday afternoon's 4-1 loss in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Dodgers, Bryce Harper had a new addition to his face.
Spencer Kieboom received his first career start on Saturday afternoon in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Dodgers, and he collected his first Major League hit in the third inning, lining a single into left field against right-hander Ross Stripling.
The Nationals suffered another blow to their outfield depth now that outfielder Rafael Bautista will require season-ending surgery on his left knee after a collision in the outfield at Triple-A Syracuse. The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.
Frank Howard, who is considered one of the greatest power hitters in the history of the nation's capital, averaged 34 home runs per season during his seven years with the Senators from 1965-71. He was affectionately known as "The Capital Punisher," and, man, did he earn that nickname.
The National League East has been one of the most competitive divisions in baseball with four teams posting winning records through roughly one quarter of the season. MLB.com this week looks back and ahead at the season's quarter point.
Rain has washed away the conclusion of the Nationals' Interleague series against the Yankees, as both games of the set at Nationals Park -- Tuesday's suspended game and Wednesday's scheduled game -- have been postponed and scheduled to be made up on Monday, June 18.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo looks like he's going to have those Executive of the Year awards wrapped up without anyone needing to waste time counting votes.
Anthony Rendon got the Nationals on the board in the hurry in the first inning of their marquee series against the Yankees, taking right-hander Masahiro Tanaka deep for his fourth homer of the year on Tuesday night at Nationals Park, supporting lefty Gio Gonzalez. The homer was the second in three games and third in five games for Rendon, whose club entered the day seeking a fifth consecutive win. New York (28-12) hit the nation's capital with the best record in the Majors.
Updates from Adam Eaton on the status of his injured left ankle since he landed on the disabled list on April 11 have been scarce and, most recently, nonexistent. That is, until Tuesday, when he arrived at the Nationals' clubhouse on crutches and sporting a cast on his left leg a few days after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove cartilage from the ankle.
For as long as Bryce Harper's pending free agency has been discussed, people have been sizing him up for pinstripes, speculating on the possibility that he would eventually sign with the Yankees. On Tuesday, however, Harper was uninterested in answering questions about any of that. "I'm a National now," Harper said.