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Nats try to beat heat in Atlanta

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Nats try to beat heat in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- The good news: It's a bit cooler today in Atlanta than it was yesterday when the city's all-time record high temperature of 106 degrees was set. The bad news: "Cooler" in this case is a whopping five degrees. It's still expected to be 101 degrees when Tim Hudson takes the mound at 1:35 p.m.

Like Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez has been preparing for this for several days, knowing what the conditions were going to be like here. The Miami native hopes to fare better than his San Diegan teammate did.

By the time this game begins, Strasburg, Gonzalez, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Tyler Clippard will know whether they've been named to this year's All-Star team. It should be a cool scene inside the clubhouse as multiple players learn their fates. Check back for a full report on that, and please check the Nats Insider live game thread for updates throughout...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 50, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 101 degrees, Wind 3 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (44-32)
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
C Jhonatan Solano
LHP Gio Gonzalez

BRAVES (41-36)
CF Michael Bourn
LF Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
2B Dan Uggla
1B Freddie Freeman
SS Andrelton Simmons
C David Ross
RHP Tim Hudson

UMPIRES
HP Tim McClelland (cc), 1B Brian Runge, 2B Ted Barrett, 3B Marvin Hudson

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Bryce Harper returns to lineup as the Nationals host the Marlins

Bryce Harper returns to lineup as the Nationals host the Marlins

Nats (93-66) vs. Miami Marlins (78-80) at Nationals Park

At long last, we've reached the final series of the regular season. The Nationals will host the Miami Marlins in a weekend set that will likely determine playoff seeding. Washington's magic number to clinch home-field advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series is two, so a win and a Los Angeles loss could sew it up on Friday night.

Seeding aside, the biggest development heading into this game is the return of Bryce Harper, who's back in the lineup after missing four games with a thumb injury. Prior to the injury, Harper had hits in five out of his previous seven games. The Nats have to hope he can pick up where he left off.   

Right hander A.J. Cole, who is currently appealing his five-game suspension as a result of Sunday’s brouhaha with the Pittsburgh Pirates, will get the start tonight. The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA. He’ll be opposed by the Marlins Andrew Cashner (5-11, 5.13 ERA).

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - A.J. Cole vs. Miami Marlins - Andrew Cashner

NATS 

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Stephen Drew
1B Clint Robinson
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP A.J. Cole

MARLINS

TBA

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Max Scherzer argues Metro should stay open later for Nats playoffs

Max Scherzer argues Metro should stay open later for Nats playoffs

The Nationals are back in the postseason, which means it's time once again to revisit D.C. Metro's policy about staying open late.

As of now, it is not in the plans for Metro to remain operative beyond their usual 12 a.m. cutoff. And, with games that often run late and past midnight, that could leave many fans at Nationals Park for playoff games with a choice between leaving early or getting stranded.

Scherzer joined Grant and Danny on 106.7 The Fan on Friday and spoke out on the matter:

“God, I would hope to believe that playoff games here in D.C. would mean more than shutting down the lines for a couple hours,” Scherzer said.

“I mean, isn’t it a supply and demand issue? We have a supply of people that demand to use the line to go the park. Why wouldn’t you want to meet that?”

Scherzer went on to suggest a movement on Twitter to convince Metro to make an exception.

“You need to get like a hashtag going and like keep the metro line open, and try to get some peer pressure through social media that way."

Metro responded to calls for staying open late by arguing it would be a "slippery slope" and lead to other requests throughout the year. They are holding strong on it, too, as they have in the past. In 2012, the company Living Social paid to keep Metro open later. And in 2014, American University did the same. The price to keep Metro open is around $30,000 an hour.

It may take another company to step up like that to ensure Nats fans won't be left out in the cold.

[RELATED: Wilson Ramos hopes to be back with Nationals]

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