District 34 podcast: What's going on with Bryce Harper?

It's the question that's on every Nationals fan's mind: What's up with Bryce Harper?

Well, Byron Kerr and I don't have the exact answers, but we spend much of this week's episode of the District 34 podcast giving our take on Harper's slump and how he can get out of it.

The Nationals are currently holding a 7 1/2-game lead in the National League East, with the Marlins and Mets losing in their afternoon games as I write on a Nats off-day. That's a comfortable lead, but it's no secret that the Nats are going to need the real Harper come September and into October to make a serious run at a World Series title.

Bryce Harper set bat white.jpgMeanwhile, with Harper nursing a stiff neck and Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list, who besides Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos is going to step up in this lineup? Byron and I will tell you why we both like Anthony Rendon to step up to the plate, so to speak.

And it seems like we can't discuss the Nats lineup nowadays without mentioning Ben Revere and Trea Turner. With Turner's recent offensive production and Revere's spectacular defensive plays this week, will we continue to see these two in the lineup together? Or how else could manager Dusty Baker make it work?

And finally, reports broke this morning that Reynaldo Lopez will make his third major league start on Saturday, with off-days this week giving Baker flexibility with his rotation. But why Lopez and not Lucas Giolito? Is that a sign of how the Nats perceive their two pitching prospects or is it just a scheduling matter?

All of that, plus a rather in-depth preview of this weekend series against the Braves comes your way on this week's edition of the District 34 podcast.

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