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season.Expected to contend for a third stra 5 ם 4 שעות ago #426

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WASHINGTON — Not too many things have gone as planned for the Washington Nationals this ight National League East title Scott Kazmir Jersey , the Nationals instead are closer to elimination than a playoff berth.Right-hander Max Scherzer, however, has been a constant for Washington. Every fifth day Scherzer (16-6, 2.28) gives the Nationals a chance to win.Article continues below ...“Watching him, he’s the best. He really is. Watching him prepare on a daily basis has been incredible,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He competes every day. His work ethic is far beyond what I’ve ever seen. The mental part, the physical part of it.“For four days, he puts his body through a lot and his mind through a lot to get ready for his opponents on the fifth day.”Scherzer, seeking his third straight NL Cy Young Award, enters Saturday atop the National League in wins (16), strikeouts (260), innings pitched (193.2) and opponent’s batting average (.179) Kurt Suzuki Jersey , and third in ERA (2.28).He’s allowed as many as four earned runs in only two starts this season, the last on July 7. Last time out he surrendered three runs in seven innings of a no-decision in a game against the Cardinals that Washington won. He struck out 11 and walked one.The Nationals are 20-9 in games Scherzer has started.Scherzer, 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts against the Cubs, will start the first game of what is now a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 3:05 ET.Friday night was frustrating for everyone who dared venture to Nationals Park. The game was delayed 81 minutes by rain before it started.Then, with two outs in the top of the second inning, the rain and lightning returned. After two hours and 55 minutes, with the rain having stopped, the game was postponed by Major League Baseball.Cubs manager Joe Maddon said earlier in the day he was hoping to get the game in.“It’s supposed to rain here for three days,” Maddon said. “We can plow through. We’ve done that already this year so many times. We’d rather plow through this than a doubleheader and a make-up game. We’re going through 23 in a row, so we need to play this.”Left-hander Jaime Garcia (3-6, 5.93) will pitch the first game for the Cubs. His contract was purchased from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday. Garcia is 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in nine career starts against the Nationals.Chicago right-hander Cole Hamels (4-0, 1.00 since joining the Cubs) was originally scheduled to oppose Scherzer in Saturday’s game , but now with the doubleheader, he’ll pitch the nightcap. The Cubs acquired Hamels from the Rangers at the July trade deadline and have gone 6-1 in his starts.Hamels has fanned 43 and walked 12 in 45 innings for Chicago and has let to allow a home run. He was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for August. Last time out, he gave up two runs in six innings against the Brewers.The former Philadelphia Phillie is 16-9 with a 2.63 ERA in 36 career starts against the Nationals.Washington did not immediately name its Game 2 starter.The Nationals on Friday activated left-hander Sean Doolittle from the 10-day disabled list. The Washington closer missed 54 games with a stress reaction in his left foot.Doolittle is 3-2 with a 1.45 ERA. His 22 saves (in 23 chances) are tied for eighth best in the National League.“It’s tough mentally for different reasons to have to be on the sidelines and watch kind of the way the second half of the season unfolded for us and not being able to contribute, not being out there with the guys was really tough,” Doolittle said. A look at what’s happening around the majors today:DEADLINE DAYTeams have until 4 p.m. EDT to swing a trade without waivers, meaning it could be the last chance for contenders to land some top targets. Could Bryce Harper really be on the move? Will the Rays find a new home for Chris Archer? What about the Rangers and Adrian Beltre? Giants outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and Rays reliever Sergio Romo could go, too. Meanwhile, there hasn’t been any movement from the Mets to trade Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, though Zach Wheeler could still wind up elsewhere.THE CLOSER’S OPENERBefore Roberto Osuna steps onto the mound as Houston’s new closer, the Astros want him to stand in the clubhouse and explain himself. The former Blue Jays closer was traded by Toronto to Houston on Monday, but he won’t pitch until at least next week as he serves a 75-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. Osuna was charged with one count of assault in Toronto in May , which remains pending. Astros pitchers Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr. have been outspoken in their disdain for domestic abusers, and Verlander expects that Osuna will address the team before he makes his Astros debut.”We don’t know the whole story,” Verlander said. ”Obviously I’ve said some pretty inflammatory things about stuff like this in the past and I stand by my words.”But I think with an ongoing case as is this one, just see what happens. But it will be interesting. I think he plans to talk to us when he gets here and we’ll go from there and see what happens.”DEALIN’ DIPOTOMariners GM Jerry Dipoto has given manager Scott Servais a whole new bullpen. Seattle acquired left-hander Zach Duke from the Twins and right-hander Adam Warren from the Yankees on Monday. Dipoto also acquired righty Sam Tuivailala from St. Louis last week. Dipoto said the additions combined with what Seattle already has in its bullpen should help Servais keep everyone fresh.”Obviously a lot of teams are looking to add to the bullpen this time of year with the trade deadline coming up. I’m not surprised,” Servais said. ”It may not be the last thing we do.”BABY BRAVESKolby Allard is set to become the latest prospect to debut for Atlanta this season when the 20-year-old left-hander starts against Miami. Allard was a first-round pick in 2015 and has been at Triple-A all of this season, going 6-4 with a 2.80 ERA. Allard joins Ozzie Albies, Luiz Gohara, Ronald Acuna and Mike Soroka as Braves players to debut before their 22nd birthday since the start of 2017.—
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