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2017 MLB Power Rankings: Bryce Harper had himself a nice Mother's Day

2017 MLB Power Rankings: Bryce Harper had himself a nice Mother's Day

Signing a one-year contract for $21 million and then hitting a walkoff homerun isn't a terrible way to spend 24 hours. 

That's how Bryce Harpers weekend went, and despite the Nationals' bullpen blowing a few games to the Phillies, the Nationals continue to be one of the best teams in baseball. Outside of DC, the Yankees continue to be both shockingly young and good, the Cubs are feeling the World Series hangover, and the Twins might actually be good? It's been a weird two months. 

How'd your team do this week? To the rankings! 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

30. ATLANTA BRAVES

2017 Record: 13-21
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance: Freddy Freeman (.316/.409/.632 over last week)

It's safe to say that Freeman is no longer slumping. Swanson, though, isn't looking any better. 

29. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 14-25
Previous Ranking: 24
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Manuel Margot (.316/.364/.526 over the last week)

They're 2-8 in their last 10 and have lost six of their last seven. The bullpen, usually one of their strengths, has been awful this year. 

28. OAKLAND ATHLETICS

2017 Record: 16-21
Previous Ranking: 23
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Notable Performance: Yonder Alonso (.250/.400/.813 with 3 HRs last week)

They're five games under .500, last in the AL West, yet two games out of second place. The AL West is underwhelming this year. with four home runs last week)

27. KANSAS CITY ROYALS

2017 Record: 16-21
Previous Ranking: 28
Last 10 Games: 7-3
Notable Performance: Eric Hosmer (.375/.444/.458 over the last week)

Maybe they're not dead after all. 7-3 in their last 10 g

26. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

2017 Record: 15-24
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Notable Performance: Buster Posey (.412/.524/.941 with 3 HRs last week)

They only went 4-6 last week, but they're out of the NL West cellar, they got a fun walkoff homer in the 17th inning from Buster Posey and their first three-game sweep this week. Not bad for a bad week. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS

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Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games. 

All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.

"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."

Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick. 

"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.

"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound

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Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

Nationals offense provides no support in Strasburg's return

SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run off Stephen Strasburg in the first inning of the right-hander's first start in almost a month and the San Diego Padres beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 Saturday night.

Strasburg (10-4) retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a single to Jose Pirela and then the homer to the switch-hitting Solarte, who drove a 96-mph fastball to right for his 13th.

Strasburg then settled down against his hometown team, retiring 10 straight batters and 13 of 14. He went six innings, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out eight and walking one.

He hadn't pitched since July 23, when he went only two innings at Arizona. He went on the disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement.

Strasburg pitched at West Hills High in suburban Santee and then at San Diego State for coach Tony Gwynn before going to the Nationals with the No. 1 pick overall in the 2009 draft.

While Strasburg pitched well, the Nationals had only three hits.

San Diego's Travis Wood (2-1) also settled down after laboring through the first inning, when he threw 35 pitches but didn't allow a run. He was unscathed until the fifth, when he allowed a one-out single to Jose Lobaton and a two-out double to Adrian Sanchez. The run was unearned because of Woods' throwing error on Strasburg's sacrifice bunt that advanced Lobaton.

Wood allowed just the unearned run on three hits in seven innings, with two strikeouts and two walks.

Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 11th save.