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Harper hitting second for Nats

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Harper hitting second for Nats

PITTSBURGH -- They've had nearly 48 hours to recover from the craziness of Sunday night's game against the Phillies (and the chaos that followed). Now the Nationals return to the field, beginning a six-game road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati with tonight's series opener at PNC Park.

Davey Johnson's lineup includes both Ryan Zimmerman (activated off the DL) and Adam LaRoche (back after missing four games with a sore oblique). It also features Bryce Harper in the 2-hole for the first time. (Hey, maybe Davey reads this blog!)

Edwin Jackson, meanwhile, gets the start against A.J. Burnett. Given the great pitching (and lack of run production) both of these teams have gotten so far this season, I would highly expect some low-scoring, tense ballgames. Either that, or a 14-13 slugfest.

Updates to come, so please check the Nats Insider live game thread...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Scattered storms, 69 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to LF

NATIONALS (18-10)
SS Ian Desmond
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Wilson Ramos
LF Roger Bernadina
RHP Edwin Jackson

PIRATES (12-16)
LF Jose Tabata
2B Neil Walker
CF Andrew McCutchen
3B Pedro Alvarez
1B Casey McGehee
RF Garrett Jones
SS Clint Barmes
C Rod Barajas
P A.J. Burnett

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Reports: White Sox trade Chris Sale to Red Sox, not Nationals

Reports: White Sox trade Chris Sale to Red Sox, not Nationals

The Nationals missed out on a major trade target when news broke this afternoon that the White Sox had traded ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox. 

The report comes from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. 

Washington had been the frontrunner to land Sale as recently as this morning. And as recently as 30 minutes ago, the Nationals vs. Red Sox contest seemed like it could go either way.

But apparently the Nats couldn't match Boston's offer of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech plus two minor leaguers, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. 

Now, the dream rotation of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Sale won't happen. 

The trade for Sale was so close, it could impact other potential deals for the Nationals. The team reportedly explored trading Gio Gonzalez to the Yankees if Sale indeed ended up in Washington. 

MORE NATIONALS: Report: Nats exploring trading Gio to Yankees

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MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Nationals exploring trading Gio Gonzalez to Yankees

MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Nationals exploring trading Gio Gonzalez to Yankees

Here's an interesting report for Nationals fans to keep an eye on: If Washington lands White Sox ace Chris Sale, they may trade left Gio Gonazlez to the Yankees. 

From Rich Mancuso of New York Sports Day:

A reliable National League source early this morning at the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings confirmed that the Washington Nationals are close to a deal with the New York Yankees that would send lefthander Gio Gonzalez to the Bronx. In return the Yankees would send the Nationals two minor league prospects and maybe another player.

Mancuso stipulates that the trade agreement, which is not yet official, would be contingent upon the Nationals acquiring Sale. 

Gonzalez, 31, is in the last year of his contact with Washington after arriving in 2012 from Oakland. He finished the 2016 season with an 11-11 record, 4.57 ERA and 171 strikeouts. 

UPDATE 1:34 p.m.: The Nationals lost on out Sale, who was instead traded to the Red Sox. 

MORE NATIONALS: Syndergaard already tired of Sale to Nationals hype