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3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards

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3 Nats win Silver Slugger awards

The first major award of Stephen Strasburg's big-league career was not for anything he did on the pitcher's mound. Instead, it's for what he did in the batter's box.

Strasburg tonight won the Silver Slugger Award, deemed as the best offensive pitcher in the National League by managers and coaches, who also gave the award to Nationals teammates Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche for their offensive performances at shortstop and first base.

Strasburg, Desmond and LaRoche become the third, fourth and fifth players in Nationals history to earn Silver Slugger honors, joining Alfonso Soriano (2006) and Ryan Zimmerman (2009, 2010).

LaRoche joins Zimmerman as a dual Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award winner and becomes the seventh NL first baseman ever to win both awards in the same season, joining Keith Hernandez (1980, 1984), Will Clark (1991), Jeff Bagwell (1994), Todd Helton (2001, 2002), Derrek Lee (2005) and Albert Pujols (2010).

The 32-year-old led all first basemen in his league with 33 homers (a career high) and 100 RBI (matching a career high), though his .510 slugging percentage only ranked fifth.

Desmond's selection is further validation of a breakthrough season that saw the 27-year-old shortstop earn his first career All-Star selection as well as the designation as a finalist for a Gold Glove Award.

Desmond led all NL shortstops with 25 homers, a .292 batting average and .511 slugging percentage. He also stole 21 bases, becoming only the ninth shortstop in big-league history with at least 25 homers and 20 steals in a season.

Strasburg also was an All-Star this season, based entirely on his pitching performance. The 24-year-old right-hander went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts before he was shut down by the Nationals in early September after throwing 159 1/3 innings.

As dominant as he was at times on the mound, Strasburg was equally as dominant at the plate ... at least, for a pitcher. He hit .277 (13-for-47) with a homer, four doubles and an NL-high seven RBI for the season. On July 15, his batting average actually stood at .385, with his OPS at a remarkable 1.102.

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2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

The Dodgers are living their best life right now. 

Cody Bellinger looks like he's just going to go and hit two home runs a game for the rest of the year, Yasiel Puig is fun again and they're fresh off a 10-game win streak. Kenley Janson went 112 batters without issuing a walk. All of this is coming, by the way, during a year when Clayton Kershaw is more Very Good than he is Great. It's a good time to be a fan of an incredibly young and talented team in a top-5 market with a well-regarded front office that's been written a blank check. How did everyone not named the Dodgers do this week? To the rankings! 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

30. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2017 Record: 24-49
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance:  Maikel Franco (.333/.419/.481 last week)

And there goes Maikel Franco, right back on the trade block. The Phillies' rebuild is starting to look a lot murkier. 

29. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

2017 Record: 27-50
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Brandon Belt (.316/.409/.947 last week)

It's weird to see the Giants play THIS poorly. Johnny Cueto is arguably the best available starter on the trade market though, and that obviously bodes well for their future. 

28. CINCINNATI REDS

2017 Record: 29-38
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Joey Votto (.360/.385/.680 last week)

When you go 1-9 over the last 10 and let the Nats put an 18-spot on you, you drop a spot or two in the rankings. Them's the rules. 

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 31-44
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Notable Performance: Yangervis Solarte (.364/.462/.909 last week)

In an annual July tradition, the Padres will fleece someone for one of their relievers. Brad Hand in a Dodgers uniform, anyone? 

26. DETROIT TIGERS

2017 Record: 32-42
Previous Ranking: 15
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Miguel Cabrera (.400/.444/.840 last week)

The Tigers are our biggest fallers of the week. 2-8 in their last 10, including a frustrating Perfect Game bid broken up by a bunt single. Not their best week. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE

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Ten very good Pups in the Park who don't care that the Nats lost

Ten very good Pups in the Park who don't care that the Nats lost

Nationals Park opened its gates to dogs on Sunday for "Pups in the Park." Humans and their doggos got to sit in outfield section 140-143 with tickets being $30 per person and $10 per canine.

The Nationals ended up losing to the Reds, but that didn't put a damper on the afternoon for the guests of honor. 

Sometimes, its a blessing not to know what's going on. Just check out these ten happy puppers. 

1. Teddy, who's cuter than any racing president

2. Steve, who looks great in hats

Steve the dog 🐶 showing his natitude #pupsinthepark #nats

A post shared by Jen (@see_jho_run) on

3. Penny, who probably wasn't easy to carry around

Today was a good day to be Penny. #ballgame⚾️ #natsbestbuds #pupsinthepark

A post shared by Sheri (@pennysmom87) on

We took her out to the ball game! #pupsinthepark #natsbestbuds

A post shared by Sheri (@pennysmom87) on

4. Apollo, a Nats fan from a young age

5. Ellie, who plans to use this photo for #TongueOutTuesday

6. Auryn, who isn't even watching the game

Happiest little corgi in the park #aurynthedog @viano_perez #pupsinthepark #nats

A post shared by Taylor Pittman (@taylorp712) on

7. Moussie, who trimmed his beard just for the occasion

MOUSSIE IN THE PARK ⚾️🐶

A post shared by emma (@emmajekowsky) on

8. Dasher, obviously the favorite granddog

9. Bentley and Abby, whose moms can be overbearing 

Enjoying #pupsinthepark at @nationals game! #Bentley #Abby #ForcedPhotos 🐶🐶⚾️

A post shared by Mary Kennedy (@mkay0310) on

10. PJ, who squeezed into this selfie at the last minute

It's #pupsinthepark day at #nationals park. PJ is ready for a big Nats win!

A post shared by Luke Reeves (@lreevesm) on

Washington is now 13-19 in days games this season, significantly worse than their 31-11 night record. But these furry friends don't know that!

MORE NATIONALS: Roark's shaky start dooms Nats in loss to Reds