Friday morning Nats Q&A from 35,000 feet over America

Friday morning Nats Q&A from 35,000 feet over America
OK, these are always fun for me. I'm not just answering your Nats questions today. I'm answering them from seat 27F on my flight from Atlanta to New York, roughly 35,000 feet up in the skies over the East Coast. (That's assuming Delta's on-board WiFi works with no problems, of course.) If all goes according to plan, I should be able to start answering questions around 11 a.m. EDT. I'll try my best to get to everything before the descent into LaGuardia. So, as always, submit your questions...
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Reworked bullpen wraps up a win ignited by Strasburg, Zimmerman

Reworked bullpen wraps up a win ignited by Strasburg, Zimmerman
ATLANTA - There are any number of key moments in a one-run game, and there were plenty to choose from in the Nationals' 3-2 victory over the Braves tonight. But the one that may resonate the most, the one that felt like the most significant moment in this game, came from a guy who had all but disappeared from the roster. Oliver Pérez was last seen on the mound throwing a pitch 12 days ago, way back on April 8, as one of the four relievers forced to put in yeoman's work after Jeremy Guthrie...
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Nationals top Braves 3-2 to complete series sweep

Nationals top Braves 3-2 to complete series sweep
ATLANTA - Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg were up to their old tricks, providing the Nationals the slimmest of leads heading into the late innings of tonight's game. The Nats bullpen then found some new tricks to seal the deal in a 3-2 victory and complete a sweep of the Braves. Zimmerman's two-run homer off R.A. Dickey gave the Nationals the lead for good, Strasburg churned out seven more quality innings and then the relief trio of Oliver Pérez, Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley held that...
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Dickey's knuckleball presenting challenges tonight (Nats win 3-2)

Dickey's knuckleball presenting challenges tonight (Nats win 3-2)
ATLANTA - The Nationals haven't seen too many knuckleballs the last few years, but they're seeing one tonight, and they'd better be ready to see a lot more of it as this season plays out. R.A. Dickey is on the mound for the Braves tonight at SunTrust Park for the first of what should be several starts against the Nationals in 2017. The 42-year-old right-hander used to be a regular conundrum for veteran Nats hitters when he pitched for the Mets, but he spent the last four years in Toronto, so...
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Murphy scratched with leg tightness, plus more injury updates

Murphy scratched with leg tightness, plus more injury updates
ATLANTA - The Nationals aren't dealing with any major injuries right now, but they are dealing with a growing list of nagging injuries, and Daniel Murphy joined that list today. Murphy was initially penciled into Dusty Baker's lineup for tonight's series finale against the Braves but had to be scratched after telling his manager he was dealing with "tightness" in his right leg. The veteran second baseman had started all 14 games to date and had a 10-game hitting streak to open the season....
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Game 15 lineups: Nats at Braves (update: Murphy scratched)

Game 15 lineups: Nats at Braves (update: Murphy scratched)
ATLANTA - The Nationals go for the series sweep of the Braves tonight, which wouldn't be a bad way at all to end the first leg of a tough, 10-game road trip that continues Friday night at Citi Field and then heads west Monday to Coors Field. Dusty Baker will hope for a continuation of last night's offensive explosion, though he'll have a different lineup out there for this one. Daniel Murphy has been scratched. Jayson Werth, who had to leave last night's game in the third inning with groin...
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Ross impresses in long-awaited Nationals season debut

Ross impresses in long-awaited Nationals season debut
ATLANTA - In his perfect world, Joe Ross would have spent opening day at Nationals Park, not NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse. But Ross didn't take his season-opening demotion to Triple-A personally, recognizing that the Nationals weren't sending him down for performance reasons, but rather because it made the most sense for a club that didn't need a full-time fifth starter until now. Wasn't that still difficult to accept for a guy whose last start came in Game 4 of the National League Division...
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Minor ailments and issues aside, Nats are rolling early in 2017

Minor ailments and issues aside, Nats are rolling early in 2017
ATLANTA - There are valid reasons to be concerned about the Nationals, most notably a bullpen that fewer than three weeks into the season has required a reshuffling of roles and a spate of minor injuries including the groin spasm suffered by Jayson Werth tonight. This is not a perfect team. Let's not confuse a couple of problem areas, though, for a bad team. Or even a mediocre one. The Nationals are quite good, with a rotation that has been dynamite and a lineup that has proven it is capable...
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Pair of grand slams propels Nats to 14-4 win over Braves

Pair of grand slams propels Nats to 14-4 win over Braves
ATLANTA - Freddie Freeman may own the Nationals, but Bryce Harper's ownage of Julio Teheran supersedes even the mightiest of opponents. Harper added two more homers to his deep collection off Teheran, including a grand slam that helped the Nationals overcome Freeman's latest blast off them and propel them to a 14-4 victory tonight at SunTrust Park. Joe Ross bounced back from a shaky first inning in his first major league start of the season to pitch seven strong innings and earn the win. Ryan...
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Werth injured on checked swing, leaves game (Nats win 14-4)

Werth injured on checked swing, leaves game (Nats win 14-4)
ATLANTA - Jayson Werth had to depart tonight's game after injuring himself on a check-swing in the top of the third inning, the latest Nationals player to go down in the season's first month. Werth checked his swing on a 1-0 pitch from the Braves' Julio Teheran in his second at-bat of the night and appeared to grimace, his left leg perhaps tweaked. After stepping out of the batter's box, he signaled to the dugout for Nationals director of athletic training Paul Lessard, who came out to talk...
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Solís lands on DL with elbow inflammation (Nats lead 6-2)

Solís lands on DL with elbow inflammation (Nats lead 6-2)
ATLANTA - Sammy Solís pitched a key scoreless inning during Tuesday night's victory over the Braves. Turns out he did so with something less than a perfectly healthy left arm. The Nationals placed Solís on the 10-day disabled list today with elbow inflammation, an injury that is not believed to be serious but was concerning enough to convince the club to shelve its top left-handed reliever for the rest of a daunting road trip. Needing to remove somebody from the active roster to clear a...
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Treinen out as closer; Nats will "mix and match" Kelley, Glover

Treinen out as closer; Nats will "mix and match" Kelley, Glover
ATLANTA - Blake Treinen is no longer going to pitch the ninth inning for the Nationals, but the club isn't going to designate one replacement closer for now, choosing instead to split those duties between veteran Shawn Kelley and rookie Koda Glover. The decision was made in the wake of Treinen's latest near-meltdown Tuesday night, when the right-hander entered with a 3-0 lead in hand over the Braves and proceeded to give up two singles and issue two walks (one with the bases loaded) while...
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Game 14 lineups: Nats at Braves (Solís to DL)

Game 14 lineups: Nats at Braves (Solís to DL)
ATLANTA - And we're back at SunTrust Park, as the Nationals and Braves prepare for the second game of their three-game series, hoping for a little less drama (or at least a lot less umpiring drama) than they got last night during what ended as a 3-1 Nats victory. We know who will be pitching the first inning for the Nationals tonight: Joe Ross, who makes his long-awaited 2017 debut after spending the last 2 1/2 weeks at Triple-A Syracuse. We don't know yet who will be pitching the ninth...
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Scherzer talks his way into a seventh scoreless inning

Scherzer talks his way into a seventh scoreless inning
ATLANTA - Had the bottom of the ninth gone according to plan and without incident last night, the biggest takeaway from the Nationals' 3-1 victory over the Braves would have been Max Scherzer's dominant start. As it was, Scherzer's outing took a backseat to the chaos that was the bottom of the ninth, from Blake Trienen's implosion to Shawn Kelley's takeover as closer to C.B. Bucknor's blown call on what everyone thought was the final pitch of the game but wound up as only the...
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Even in victory, Nationals left to fume after chaotic ninth

Even in victory, Nationals left to fume after chaotic ninth
ATLANTA - The Nationals won a ballgame tonight. They probably are going to have a new closer when they wake up in the morning. And, oh by the way, the final out of this game turned into a full-blown fiasco after an egregious mistake that led their veteran leader to go on a postgame tirade that delicately teetered the line between acceptable criticism of umpires and the kind of rant that typically leads to punishment from league officials. Just a run-of-the-mill Tuesday night in suburban...
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Nats beat Braves 3-1 behind Scherzer and bailout from Kelley

Nats beat Braves 3-1 behind Scherzer and bailout from Kelley
ATLANTA - Max Scherzer scoffed after his last start when asked if his ring finger injury was finally behind him. His performance tonight would seem to confirm once and for all it's no longer a topic for discussion. Scherzer dominated the Braves with seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball, appearing to talk his way into taking the mound for his final frame and building up his pitch count to 116, leading the Nationals to a 3-1 victory that wasn't sealed until Shawn Kelley replaced Blake...
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Baker: Turner won't be activated Wednesday (Nats win 3-1)

Baker: Turner won't be activated Wednesday (Nats win 3-1)
ATLANTA - Trea Turner was at SunTrust Park this afternoon, putting his healing hamstring through a rigorous test that included baserunning drills and a full round of batting practice with his Nationals teammates, but it doesn't appear he'll remain here in Atlanta for long. Though he's eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, Turner likely won't play for the Nationals until he's had a chance to get at-bats and innings in a minor league rehab game, manager Dusty Baker...
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Ross will be recalled and start Wednesday night in Atlanta

Ross will be recalled and start Wednesday night in Atlanta
ATLANTA - Joe Ross will make his long-awaited season debut Wednesday night, and the Nationals hope they don't have to make any more changes to their rotation for quite some time. Ross will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and start the second game of the Nationals' series against the Braves at SunTrust Park, manager Dusty Baker said today, slotting in between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for the foreseeable future. The 23-year-old right-hander was healthy coming out of spring...
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Game 13 lineups: Nats at Braves

Game 13 lineups: Nats at Braves
ATLANTA - Hello from SunTrust Park, the brand-new home of the Braves. I'm still taking it all in, but my first impressions of this place are better than I expected. It actually has a few interesting features. Unfortunately, most seem to be lesser versions of similar things in other parks: a brick wall in right field (like AT&T Park in San Francisco), pine trees and rocks in the batter's eye (like Coors Field in Colorado). The main seating bowl has a Citi Field vibe to it, with dark seats,...
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Eaton out to prove he's still an elite center fielder

Eaton out to prove he's still an elite center fielder
Ask anyone who has watched the Nationals through the season's first two weeks to name Adam Eaton's biggest contribution to the team, and you'll get a bunch of answers about his offensive performance. The 28-year-old sports a .326 batting average and .946 OPS and has successfully reached base in all 11 games he has started. Ask Eaton what he believes has been most consistent about his game so far, and you'll get an entirely different answer. "You know what? I don't think there's been much...
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