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Nats-Rockies LIVE game thread - 1:35 p.m.

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Nats-Rockies LIVE game thread - 1:35 p.m.

Chase Hughes here for the final game of the Nationals vs. Rockies series and the final game before the All-Star Break. Mark will pick things up tomorrow for what should be an exciting week for Nationals fans.Jordan Zimmermann will pitch for the Nationals in his 17th start of the season. He has a 2.70 ERA which leads Nationals starting pitchers and ranks 7th in the National League. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a game since May and has allowed two or fewer in four consecutive outings.Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound for Colorado, he is 3-8 on the season with a 6.28 ERA. He allowed three runs in four innings to the Nationals back on June 27. Washington goes for the series win and a chance to hit the 50 mark at the break. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day and feel free to add your comments below.COLORADO ROCKIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALSWhere: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, WDCW 50, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Mostly clear, 97 degrees, Wind 5 mph LF to RF NATIONALS (49-33)

LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jhonatan Solano
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

ROCKIES (32-52)
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
RF Tyler Colvin
1B Todd Helton
3B Jordan Pacheco
SS Jonathan Herrera
C Wil Nieves
RHP Jeremy Guthrie UMPIRES HP Jim Reynolds
1B James Hoye
2B Jim Joyce
3B Mike DiMuro

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2016 MLB Power Rankings: The Cubs are back

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2016 MLB Power Rankings: The Cubs are back

The Cubs are back. After a rough July, the Cubs were the first team to break the 60 win mark and have gotten some of their grove back heading into the dog days of summer. How did the other teams do? To the rankings! 

30. Atlanta Braves (LW: 30)

36 wins and it IS August. 

29. Minnesota Twins (LW: 29)

A Joe Mauer walkoff, just for old time's sake. 

28. Cincinnati Reds (LW: 28) 

Jay Bruce's new team this week: the Dodgers! 

27. Tampa Bay Rays (LW: 26)

Most likely to leave: Archer, Ordorizzi, or Moore?

26.  Arizona Diamondbacks (LW: 27)

It's almost unfathomable that they've made Miller available in trades. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE

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Murphy out of lineup as Lopez, Nats face Giants

Murphy out of lineup as Lopez, Nats face Giants

Nationals (61-42) vs. Giants (59-44) at AT&T Park

The Nationals are off to a good start in their four-game series at the San Francisco Giants with two straight wins. On Saturday afternoon, they will look to secure a series win with rookie Reynaldo Lopez on the mound making his second career MLB start.

Lopez, 22, returns to the Nationals from Triple-A Syracuse. He pitched for the Nats on July 19 against the Dodgers and got rocked for six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of work. In his lone start at Syracuse, he tossed a shutout with seven strikeouts and no walks.

Daniel Murphy is out of the lineup today after he was removed from Friday's win with leg tightness. In his place is Trea Turner at second with Ben Revere remaining in center field.

Pedro Severino is starting behind the plate to catch Lopez. The two have worked together in the minor leagues.

The Giants got a big boost just before the game with Hunter Pence coming off the disabled list. The three-time All-Star has not played since June 1.

First pitch: 4:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2, FS1
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Reynaldo Lopez vs. Giants - Jake Peavy

NATS

2B Trea Turner
CF Ben Revere
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Jayson Werth
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
C Pedro Severino
RHP Reynaldo Lopez

GIANTS

SS Eduardo Nunez
LF Angel Pagan
3B Connor Gillaspie
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
2B Joe Panik
CF Gregor Blanco
RHP Jake Peavy

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Scherzer, Werth shine in Nats' thrilling victory over the Giants

Scherzer, Werth shine in Nats' thrilling victory over the Giants

Analysis of the Nats' 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night at AT&T Park.

How it happened: Sometimes when your team is in a jam, you have to do something no one has ever done before to get them out of it.

On Friday night in San Francisco, the Nats pulled off the unimaginable. Called in cold off the bench as part of a triple-switch, Ryan Zimmerman generated the first triple play in team history to end the eighth inning and essentially save a Nationals win. It was the first 3-3-5 triple play ever executed by a major league team.

With the bases loaded and Sammy Solis on the mound, Zimmerman caught a Brandon Crawford line drive, stepped on first for the second out, then threw it across the diamond to Anthony Rendon, who stepped on third. The Nats escaped with their 4-1 lead intact and one inning later secured the victory.

Few MLB players have had more publicized issues throwing the baseball than Zimmerman, yet it was his accurate throw that led to the third out. Baseball, man.

That play helped save another strong outing for Max Scherzer, who went seven innings of one run ball. Jayson Werth, Ben Revere and Rendon each landed RBI singles. Daniel Murphy added an RBI triple, as the Nats won their third straight game.

The Nats' bullpen again showed its ugly side by loading the bases in the eighth and then seeing two baserunners reach in the ninth. They got out of each situation, though, to their credit.

What it means: The Nats are now 2-0 against the Giants this season and 61-42 overall. They hold a six-game lead over the Marlins and a 7 1/2 advantage over the Mets, as both teams lost on Friday.

Scherzer carves again: It may be flying under the radar after his slow start and with how good his teammate Stephen Strasburg has been, but Scherzer is having arguably the best season of his career. The Nats ace was efficiently dominant against the Giants on Friday with just one run allowed on five hits, two walks and six strikeouts on 116 pitches in seven innings of work. It was the seventh straight outing that Scherzer has gone at least six innings with two runs or less. Six times during that stretch has he given up one run or less.

Scherzer's worst game of this season was back on May 11 at the Chicago Cubs. But in the 15 starts since - roughly half a season - he has a 2.13 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 105 2/3 innings. Opponents have hit just .169 with a .529 OPS against him in those 15 games.

Scherzer has lowered his season ERA in six consecutive starts, all the way down to 2.85, which is very close to his career-best mark of 2.79 set in 2015. His 146 ERA+, 11.3 strikeouts-per-nine rate and 6.2 hits-per-nine are all career-bests. 

Werth gets them started: The Nationals ended up having their way with Jeff Samardzija, but it didn't start out like that. Samardzija limited them to just two walks and no hits through the first three innings. Then, in the fourth inning, things started unraveling for the Giants right-hander. He gave up a one-out double to Wilson Ramos, then an RBI single to Werth. For Werth, it was the 32nd straight game he's reached base. Werth's overall numbers during that streak are largely unremarkable, he's hitting just .248 with 29 strikeouts. But on Friday, he was a big help for the Nats with two hits, a walk, an RBI and a run.

Murphy's triple: Good things came in threes for the Nats on Friday, as Murphy's triple was another big play in their win over the Giants. It was Murphy's fifth triple this season, which is a new career-high. Twice had he notched four on one season, most recently in 2013. Murphy has been on fire lately. In his last 15 games, he's 21-for-54 (.389) with six homers, 20 RBI, eight doubles and a triple.

Up next: The Nats carry on with the Giants as rookie Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 11.57) makes his second career start. He'll pitch opposite veteran Jake Peavy (5-9, 5.42)

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