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Instant Analysis: Nats 9, Giants 4


Instant Analysis: Nats 9, Giants 4

Game in a nutshell: In the first morning game in Nationals history, the home team came out of the gates a bit sluggish. Edwin Jackson gave up three runs in the top of the first, and Giants starter Madison Bumgarner faced the minimum the first time through the order.

But then the Nats' lineup got hot once again, thanks to a few familiar faces. Ian Desmond delivered yet another clutch hit (a two-out, two-run single in the third). Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse delivered back-to-back homers in the fifth, each slugger continuing his torrid pace at the plate. And even Jhonatan Solano chimed in with his second career homer. Jackson settled down after his shaky first inning, and the Nationals cruised to a second straight victory over the NL's second-best club. At 47-32, they're now 15 games over .500, matching their best mark of the season.
Hitting highlight: Lots of candidates to choose from here yet again, including Zimmerman, Morse and Desmond. But let's throw some love to Solano, who has come out of nowhere to provide a potent bat at the bottom of the Nationals' lineup. The rookie catcher -- summoned to the big leagues only after injuries to Wilson Ramos, Jesus Flores, Sandy Leon and Carlos Maldonado -- blasted an opposite-field homer to right and added a single and a stolen base in this game. "The Onion" is now hitting .423 with two homers and six RBI in limited playing time but sure is making a case to get more regular at-bats.
Pitching highlight: What is it about Jackson and his aversion to the first inning? He's now allowed 17 earned runs in 16 first frames this season, equating to a 9.56 ERA. In every other inning, that number plummets to 2.64. Whatever the reason, the right-hander just seems to have trouble locating his pitches early in games, but he manages to quickly find it after that. Jackson was very sharp from the second through the fifth innings today, retiring 12 of 14 batters.Key stat: How clutch has Desmond been? Well, 25 of his 47 RBI this season have come with two outs. That doesn't sound like an anomaly.
Up next: Both teams will have plenty of time rest (or catch some fireworks) before they return for tomorrow night's series finale. Ross Detwiler faces Matt Cain at 7:05 p.m.

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Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Bryce Harper sends 'Wow' tweet after Nationals trade for Adam Eaton

Nationals star Bryce Harper has had an eventful week, which included finding out that he might not be the Nationals star much longer. 

An anonymous club executive said that the Nationals won't meet Harper's demands for a 10-year, $400 million contract, and are prepared to let him walk when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season. 

That happened on Monday, then on Tuesday Washington missed out on trading from White Sox ace Chris Sale, who ended up going to Boston. 

And then on Wednesday, the Nats ended up trading their pile of top pitching prospects to the White Sox anyway, but instead of getting Sale, they got centerfielder Adam Eaton

Eaton, 28, has never been an All-Star. But he finished last season with a .284 batting average, .362 slugging percentage, 59 RBIs and 14 home runs. He's also an asset defensively in the outfield. 

But the pitching prospects Washington gave up – Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning – amounted to a steep price for Eaton. So steep that the Nats reportedly offered almost the same package of prospects for Sale. 

Within minutes of the Eaton trade news breaking, Harper tweeted this. 

He followed it up with a message of welcome a few minutes later.

Obviously, the initial tweet is what grabbed peoples' attention. But who can really say if Harper meant it as a positive or negative reaction to the Eaton trade? Frankly, it might not have anything to do with the trade at all. 

Plenty of other "wow" things happened this week. 

MORE NATIONALS: Dusty Baker takes part in “Play Ball” clinics in D.C.

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Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

Nationals deal top prospects Giolito, Lopez and Dunning to White Sox for Adam Eaton

The Washington Nationals were unable to trade the farm to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for former Cy Young winner Chris Sale. But still looking to make a splash, the Nationals went back to the White Sox, and have made a deal.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Nationals will trade Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning to the White Sox for outfielder Adam Eaton, pending physicals.

Eaton, 28 years old, will be entering his sixth season, having played two seasons with the Diamondbacks and two season with the White Sox.

Eaton has never made an All-Star team, but has a solid OBP of .357 and has back-to-back seasons of 14 home runs and at least 50 RBIs. He also has a very friendly contract, having recently signed a five-year, $23.5 million contract.

In return, the White Sox get a treasure trove of prospects.

Giolito is the top prospect in the Nationals' organization and one of the top prospects in all of MLB. He appeared in six games for the nationals in 2016, finishing with a 6.75 ERA and 11 strikeouts. Lopez, the No. 4 prospect in the organization, appeared in 11 games in 2016, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 42 strikeouts.

Dunning, one of the ace of the Florida Gators' staff, was selected by the Nationals with the 29th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft.

But considering the Nationals were willing to give up numerous top prospects for Chris Sale or Andrew McCutchen, it's puzzling that the Nationals would receive just Eaton in return.

Heading into the 2016 winter meetings, it was well known that the Nationals were interested in making a big splash and shaking things up.

It looks like they're doing just that.