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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 1

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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Marlins 1

Game in a nutshell: The Nationals had to like their chances with Stephen Strasburg on the mound against a Marlins lineup he's owned. And they really had to like their chances after they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second, with Strasburg and Adam LaRoche each delivering two-run singles. Strasburg did the rest of his damage on the mound, tossing six scoreless innings to bounce back from a ragged outing five days ago. Craig Stammen gave up a run in the seventh, but Sean Burnett tossed a scoreless eighth and then Drew Storen -- yes, Drew Storen -- pitched the ninth for his first save of the season. Thus, the Nationals took three of four from the Marlins and improved to 22 games over .500: a new season high.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals scored four runs in the bottom of the second, thanks to a pair of clutch hits from their most-consistent offensive players this season: LaRoche and Strasburg. Seriously, who has been a more consistent force with the bat than Strasburg, who is now hitting .343 with seven RBI? (That's more RBI than the Marlins' Nos. 1 and 2 hitters had entering today, by the way.) The big guy came to the plate with two on in the second and promptly sent a base hit to right field, bringing both runners home. Later that inning, LaRoche delivered his latest clutch hit: another two-run single. That gave the veteran first baseman 71 RBI for the season, which ranks seventh in the NL.

Pitching highlight: Coming off arguably the worst start of his brief career, Strasburg found solace in a familiar foe: the Marlins. The right-hander hasn't given up a run to Miami since last season (when the franchise's "city" name was still Florida). He's now thrown 27 consecutive scoreless innings against the Fish, including six superb frames today. Following his coaching staff's message, Strasburg relied mostly on his fastball, and because of it he managed to stay efficient. At 91 pitches through six innings, Davey Johnson could have left his starter in a bit longer. But why take a chance at this point in the season?

Key stat: Strasburg has given up four or more earned runs five times in his career. His ERA the next time he pitches: 0.90.

Up next: The Nationals hit the road for a 10-game, three-city road trip. It all begins at 8:05 p.m. Monday in Houston, with Edwin Jackson facing lefty Dallas Keuchel.

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2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

2017 ballpark foods that are way better than peanuts and Cracker Jack

Back in the olden days, cotton candy or a plate of nachos were considered bold ballpark snacks. Thankfully, the olden days are over, and a new era of ballpark food has begun.

And in this era, a menu item isn't considered complete until it's fried, sandwiched between something else and then finally drizzled with some sort of sauce. 

So, what's on the menu for 2017? Well, peanuts, hot dogs and apple pie nachos, of course.

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

With a new season about to begin, CSNmidatlantic.com has identified 10 of the most eye-popping and artery-clogging foods available around Major League Baseball in 2017. To see them, simply click on the link above or below to open our gallery (no fork and knife necessary).

After all, while peanuts and Cracker Jack are cute, they simply can't match up with a hot dog topped with bacon and a fried egg. 

CLICK HERE TO FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE CRAZIEST BALLPARK FOODS YOU'LL FIND AROUND MLB THIS YEAR

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Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals Ace Max Scherzer will not be team's opening day starter

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team's opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation. 

Scherzer has been the team's starter on opening day for the past two seasons, but a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger caused him to miss the start of spring training, and the World Baseball Classic. 

Scherzer did, however, make his first MLB spring training start of 2017 on Wednesday. The 2016 NL Cy Young award winner allowed two earned runs on five hits over 4.2 innings. He added four strikeouts and one walk, and reportedly looked just like you would expect from Max Scherzer. 

"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes, that's a great first outing," Scherzer told Eddie Matz of ESPN after the game. "Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now."

With Scherzer set to open the season as the third starter in the rotation, that likely means that Stephen Strasburg will start on opening day against the Miami Marlins, and Tanner Roark will slot in behind him. 

While it's nice to have your ace pitcher starting on opening day, it's not a huge deal to have Scherzer start the season third in the rotation, especially because the Nationals starting rotation is the strength of the team

RELATED: Nationals' Tanner Roark pitches four scoreless innings to help Team USA beat Japan in WBC