The Nationals are breathing a little easier this morning than when they left Chicago last night; Michael Morse, who left yesterday's game after getting hit on the left elbow with a pitch, is fine. X-rays on Morse's elbow were negative, and though he could sit out a day or two, he shouldn't miss extended time.
As we said yesterday, Morse has become almost indispensable to the Nationals' offense, and short of having an extra couple weeks to see Chris Marrero (whom they'll likely see in September anyway), there was no silver lining to be found for the Nationals. They'll be able to start their series in Philadelphia without worrying about it, though.
And of course, Stephen Strasburg makes his second rehab start tonight, pitching for Single-A Potomac at Pfitzner Stadium. Strasburg is scheduled to throw three innings or 50 pitches, whichever comes first. I would expect to see a similar approach from Strasburg as we saw on Sunday in Hagerstown; he'll likely concentrate mostly on throwing his fastball, probably mixing in a few off-speed pitches but not worrying too much about setting hitters up. Strasburg likely won't pitch at the higher levels of the minors until Aug. 22, which comes at a good time; by then, he should be confident enough in his fastball to begin polishing other things.
Byron Kerr will be with you from Woodbridge, Va., tonight; I'm heading to Fargo, N.D., for my wife's 10-year high school reunion. I know what you're thinking, and yes, they have accents, but no, they don't talk as funny as the Coen brothers would have you believe.
I'll chime in with some thoughts on Strasburg and Nationals-Phillies throughout the weekend.