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Instant analysis: Nats 5, Phillies 1

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Instant analysis: Nats 5, Phillies 1

Game in a nutshell: Knowing they could clinch the No. 1 seed for the NL playoffs with a victory today -- regardless of the result of the Reds' game tonight in St. Louis -- the Nationals went out and took care of business. Edwin Jackson tossed 6 23 strong innings to rebound from his disastrous last start. Ryan Zimmerman, Tyler Moore and Michael Morse all blasted home runs to pace the offensive attack. Shoot, they even let Teddy win the Presidents Race for the first time, eliciting a huge roar from the announced crowd of 37,075. And by finishing off the Phillies, the Nationals finished with a 98-64 record, locking up the top seed for the postseason. Game 1 of the NLDS will be Sunday at the winner of Friday's Wild Card game between the Braves and Cardinals, with Game 2 on Monday. The series will come to Nationals Park for Games 3-5 Wednesday through Friday. The Reds and Giants will open their NLDS on Saturday in San Francisco.

Hitting highlight: Who knew all it would take to bring the Nationals' bats alive was a giant-headed Teddy winning the Presidents Race? Whether that had an actual impact or not, facts are facts: Moments after the fourth-inning race, Zimmerman crushed his 25th homer of the season, tying the game 1-1. Morse and Moore immediately followed with back-to-back doubles, giving the Nationals the lead. Two innings later, Moore belted his 10th homer of the season, providing a key insurance run. And then Morse added the final blow, a two-run shot in the eighth. Ah, the power of Teddy.

Pitching highlight: Coming off a disastrous start in St. Louis, Jackson was in serious need of a bounce-back performance. He delivered big-time. The right-hander allowed one run over 6 23 innings, walking only one batter while striking out six and keeping his pitch count at 97. And thanks to some run support, he was rewarded with his 10th win of the season, joining the other four members of the Nationals' Opening Day rotation in double digits. Would Jackson have been in danger of losing his rotation spot for the postseason based on his September struggles? Probably not. But this standout performance should ensure he starts either Game 3 or 4 of the NLDS next week.

Key stat: With an announced crowd today of 37,075, the Nationals ended the regular season with a total attendance of 2,370,794 over 79 home dates. That averages out to 30,010 per date, the franchise's highest total since the inaugural 2005 season at RFK Stadium.

Up next: The regular season is over, but now the real fun begins. The Nationals will get the next three days off, then they'll hit the road for Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Sunday, facing the winner of Friday's Wild Card game between the Braves and Cardinals.

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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