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ROY poll leaders working on historic seasons

Nationals' Soto, Yankees' Torres hold comfortable leads in sample voting
MLB.com @RichardJustice

Maybe the highest compliment to 19-year-old Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is that we've come to accept that he's just one of those special talents that comes along every so often. We understand that references to his age and lack of Minor League experience and all that other stuff do not matter. Sometimes, a guy is just different.

That's why Soto received 31 of 32 first-place votes to open up a big lead over Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. in the latest poll of MLB.com's reporters.

Maybe the highest compliment to 19-year-old Nationals outfielder Juan Soto is that we've come to accept that he's just one of those special talents that comes along every so often. We understand that references to his age and lack of Minor League experience and all that other stuff do not matter. Sometimes, a guy is just different.

That's why Soto received 31 of 32 first-place votes to open up a big lead over Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. in the latest poll of MLB.com's reporters.

Soto began this season in the Class A South Atlantic League, and he had been widely projected to make his Major League debut in the second half of the 2019 season. When the Nationals were hit hard by injuries, general manager Mike Rizzo didn't hesitate to give the youngster a chance, and Soto hasn't disappointed.

Meanwhile, Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres continues to lead the American League rookie race, with teammate Miguel Andujar coming in second. Torres got 21 of 32 first-place votes, followed by Andujar (seven) and the Angels' Shohei Ohtani (four).

Here's a breakdown of the latest voting:

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Video: WSH@STL: Soto cracks a go-ahead 2-run homer in 7th

Juan Soto, Nationals (158 points)
Soto leads all Major League rookies in OPS (.968), OBP (.421) and walks (53). Despite not making his debut until May 20, he's sixth with 15 home runs. Soto's 15 home runs rank as the sixth most among teenagers in big league history. He's just one behind Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., who is fifth on the list.

Video: MIA@ATL: Acuna Jr. hits 2 leadoff HRs in doubleheader

Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves (69 points)
If not for Soto, Acuna probably would be the runaway choice for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He made his debut on April 25 and promptly homered a day later. Acuna was hitting .421 at the end of April, and except for a month on the DL with a left knee injury, he has been an electric performer. On Monday, the 20-year-old became just the fourth player in MLB history to lead off both games of a doubleheader with a home run, giving him 10 homers in 23 games since moving to the top spot in the order at the All-Star break.

Video: NYM@MIA: Anderson spins and fires to nab Frazier

Brian Anderson, Marlins (40 points)
Anderson's rookie season has been a spectacular success. He leads all MLB rookies in multihit games (37), and he is batting .398 with runners in scoring position. Anderson also has eight outfield assists, which is just two off the MLB lead shared by four players.

Others receiving votes: Dereck Rodriguez, Giants; Jack Flaherty, Cardinals; Jesse Winker, Reds; Harrison Bader, Cardinals; Seranthony Dominguez, Phillies; Walker Buehler, Dodgers.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Video: NYY@CWS: Torres lifts a solo home run to left

Gleyber Torres, Yankees (133 points)
Torres is the seventh MLB player in history to hit at least 18 home runs in his first 75 games before turning 22. His seven three-run home runs are tied for most in the Majors, and he was voted onto the AL All-Star team via the player ballot, becoming the fourth Yankee named to the All-Star team at 21 or younger, joining Joe DiMaggio (1936), Mickey Mantle ('52-53) and Willie Randolph ('76).

Video: NYM@NYY: Andujar skies a towering 2-run home run

Miguel Andujar, Yankees (92 points)
Andujar leads MLB rookies with 31 doubles, 51 extra base hits and 58 RBIs. Including his five-game stint last season, his 52 extra-base hits in his first 111 career games tied him with Joe Gordon, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez for third most in Yankees history, trailing only DiMaggio and Bob Meusel.

Video: DET@LAA: Ohtani belts opposite-field 3-run homer

Shohei Ohtani, Angels (47 points)
Ohtani was on his way to being the runaway AL Rookie of the Year Award winner until a right elbow injury interrupted his pitching career in early June. The Angels won seven of his nine starts, and he averaged just over a baserunner per inning and 11.1 strikeouts per nine. Ohtani has an .826 OPS in 31 games since returning from the disabled list as exclusively a hitter, but the Halos are hopeful he will pitch again this season.

Others receiving votes: Lou Trivino, Athletics; Brad Keller, Royals; Shane Bieber, Indians.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres

Bullpen squanders HRs by Harper, Soto

MLB.com @JamalCollier

ST. LOUIS -- The way the Nationals lost on Sunday night in Chicago -- on a walk-off grand slam in a game they'd never trailed -- could have been a crushing setback in their attempts to get back into playoff contention. So this four-game series at Busch Stadium against, perhaps, the hottest team in the National League was going to test their resolve.

And Washington responded on Monday. The Nats overcame a first-inning deficit. They rallied back from a bullpen meltdown in the eighth inning to tie the score in the top of the ninth. And yet they still lost, 7-6, when Koda Glover surrendered a walk-off home run to Paul DeJong in the bottom of the ninth, handing them their second straight walk-off loss in crushing fashion.

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ST. LOUIS -- The way the Nationals lost on Sunday night in Chicago -- on a walk-off grand slam in a game they'd never trailed -- could have been a crushing setback in their attempts to get back into playoff contention. So this four-game series at Busch Stadium against, perhaps, the hottest team in the National League was going to test their resolve.

And Washington responded on Monday. The Nats overcame a first-inning deficit. They rallied back from a bullpen meltdown in the eighth inning to tie the score in the top of the ninth. And yet they still lost, 7-6, when Koda Glover surrendered a walk-off home run to Paul DeJong in the bottom of the ninth, handing them their second straight walk-off loss in crushing fashion.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: WSH@STL: DeJong launches walk-off homer in the 9th

Had the Nats hung on to win on Monday night, they could have pulled closer to first place in the NL East. Instead they are seven games behind the first-place Braves and eight back in the loss column, placing their postseason hopes in serious jeopardy.

"It's tough when you have your closer, your setup guy, your seventh-inning guy all beat up," manager Dave Martinez said. "We just have to keep battling. Those other guys, they have to step up."

With his team ahead by two to start the eighth, Martinez was forced to mix and match to protect the lead. Injuries have put Sean Doolittle and Kelvin Herrera on the disabled list, and Ryan Madson was unavailable after his back injury flared up on Sunday. The Nats are also short on bullpen depth after trading Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley. Once one of the team's biggest strengths -- armed with four pitchers with closing experience less than a month ago -- this bullpen has suddenly become its biggest weakness.

The Nats turned to Sammy Solis to protect a one-run lead in the eighth inning, but he surrendered a three-run homer to Matt Carpenter. Solis has struggled this season, with a 5.24 ERA, but he's had an especially tough time against lefties.

"I don't know what else to do," Martinez said. "He's got to get lefties out. I put him up against lefties. I know it's not easy, but that's his job, and he hasn't been able to do that."

"Obviously, it's tough right now," Solis added. "Every miss is being punished."

Even after blowing the lead late, Washington rallied to score twice in the ninth inning against Cardinals closer Bud Norris, with a pair of RBI singles from Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters tying the score. But Glover, pitching on back-to-back days for the first time since returning from a shoulder injury, fell behind, 3-1, to DeJong and challenged him with a fastball that was deposited over the right-field fence.

Video: WH@STL: Murphy plates Rendon with a single to center

The Nationals felt like they played well enough to win three games this weekend, but instead dropped two of three. They played well enough to win on Monday and have nothing to show for it.

"After yesterday, they could have come in here and played flat. They didn't. They came in, they battled," Martinez said. "We fell behind, guess what? We battled again to tie the game. I'm proud. These guys all know big moments are coming. They've got to prepare for them. Some guys just got to step up and do the job. These other guys just keep playing the way they're playing."

SOUND SMART
Bryce Harper matched his home run total from the entire 2017 season with his 29th home run in the fourth inning. Juan Soto continued his stretch of never going more than two games without recording a hit when he connected with his 15th home run of the year.

Video: WSH@STL: Soto cracks a go-ahead 2-run homer in 7th

HE SAID IT
"Just two games where we didn't play 27 outs. We didn't finish the game off, and that's what we have to do." -- Wieters, on the back-to-back losses

Video: WSH@STL: Wieters ties game with a single in the 9th

"There's no panic. There's none of that. I think that's created from the outside, from the fans. We all believe in each other. We're working hard. Obviously, it's not going our way right now, but I know I'm capable. I know Madson's capable. I know Koda's capable. And they do, too. We all know that. We're all just trying to pull in the same direction and get some results." -- Solis, on the state of the bullpen

UP NEXT
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start the second game of a four-game set on Tuesday at Busch Stadium. Gonzalez put together a strong outing in his most recent start, limiting the Braves to one run in seven innings, and the Nats are hopeful that can be a starting point for a turnaround after he struggled mightily the past two months. Right-hander John Gant will start for the Cardinals; first pitch is at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper

Madson's back issues a surprise to Martinez

Closer reveals discomfort after giving up walk-off grand slam
MLB.com @JamalCollier

ST. LOUIS -- Even though he has been battling back issues on and off for the past few days, Ryan Madson had not informed the Nationals or manager Dave Martinez, thinking he could pitch through the pain. So Martinez was "very surprised" to learn Madson told reporters about his back injury after Sunday's 4-3 walk-off loss to the Cubs.

"Yesterday was the first I've heard of it," Martinez said prior to Monday's game against the Cardinals. "Apparently, he didn't want to say anything, he wanted to pitch through it. He feels like he can pitch through it. I told him, 'You've got to be honest with me moving forward.'"

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ST. LOUIS -- Even though he has been battling back issues on and off for the past few days, Ryan Madson had not informed the Nationals or manager Dave Martinez, thinking he could pitch through the pain. So Martinez was "very surprised" to learn Madson told reporters about his back injury after Sunday's 4-3 walk-off loss to the Cubs.

"Yesterday was the first I've heard of it," Martinez said prior to Monday's game against the Cardinals. "Apparently, he didn't want to say anything, he wanted to pitch through it. He feels like he can pitch through it. I told him, 'You've got to be honest with me moving forward.'"

View Full Game Coverage

While warming up in the bullpen before pitching the ninth inning on Sunday, Madson said his back trouble began flaring up again, sending pain shooting down his right leg. He did not have control of his curveball or changeup, which reduced him to trusting only his fastball -- and David Bote deposited one into the stands for the walk-off grand slam.

Even though he has been battling the issue for a few days, Madson said Sunday was the first time it was bad enough to affect him on the mound, even though he has given up five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in his two most recent outings.

But he believes he should be able to avoid a stint on the disabled list, and arrived at Busch Stadium early on Monday to begin receiving treatment and start taking anti-inflammatories.

"I've taken those before, and they've really worked, and quickly," he said. "I've noticed a difference in a day or two. If I can just knock the pain down a little bit, I should be fine."

Considering the state of the Nationals' bullpen, Madson may have felt added pressure to remain in the game. He has been slotted into the closer's role with Sean Doolittle and Kelvin Herrera on the DL. The Nats also traded Brandon Kintzler and Shawn Kelley in the past two weeks, turning a bullpen that was once a strength into a bit of a question mark. The team has dropped four of its past six games; the bullpen has posted an 8.03 ERA during that span.

Still, Martinez wished Madson had told him about his back troubles sooner. There is often a fine line for players to straddle, when they are more than four months into a season and virtually everyone is battling some sort of nagging issue, of knowing when an issue becomes too much to handle or if it can be played through.

"I would appreciate them telling me what's going on, but a lot of times they don't," Martinez said. "They feel like they can work through it, and they want to continue to help the team win. And I get it. He's been around a long time, and he knows his body better than anybody."

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Ryan Madson

Zim slugs way to Player of the Week honors

MLB.com

Major League Baseball recognized last week's top performers Monday, naming the Red Sox's J.D. Martinez and the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman as the American League and National League Players of the Week presented by W.B. Mason.

Martinez has been a catalyst for the red-hot Red Sox all season, and last week was no exception. The Boston slugger batted .464/.531/1.071 (13-for-28) with five doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs. Two of Martinez's homers came in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader, including the game-winner in the 6-4 victory.

Major League Baseball recognized last week's top performers Monday, naming the Red Sox's J.D. Martinez and the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman as the American League and National League Players of the Week presented by W.B. Mason.

Martinez has been a catalyst for the red-hot Red Sox all season, and last week was no exception. The Boston slugger batted .464/.531/1.071 (13-for-28) with five doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs. Two of Martinez's homers came in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader, including the game-winner in the 6-4 victory.

Video: AL Player of the Week - J.D. Martinez

Martinez entered Monday leading the Majors in home runs (37) and RBIs (104), and he ranks second behind teammate Mookie Betts (.350) in the third Triple Crown category with a .333 batting average.

"I would love him to win the Triple Crown, but if he wins the batting title, that means the other guy got into a slump," Red Sox manager Alex Cora joked Friday. "I like the way it is now, honestly."

This is Martinez's second such award this season after winning for the week of May 20. Teammate Xander Bogaerts also won in July.

Past winners: AL | NL

Zimmerman, meanwhile, finished the week with a .476/.538/1.048 (10-for-21) slash line, three doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs in seven games. The first baseman earned his award with a big game Saturday against the Cubs, homering twice and driving in six runs as the Nationals won, 9-4, at Wrigley Field.

Zimmernan's been Washington's hottest hitter since coming off the disabled list on July 20, batting .354 with four homers and 18 RBIs in that 15-game span.

Video: Ryan Zimmerman named NL POTW with impressive stretch

"I think since the All-Star break, we've been swinging the bats well and putting some good at-bats together, grinding out at-bats a little better than we were before," Zimmerman said. "Our lineup's getting longer and deeper than it's been all year."

Zimmerman is the fourth Washington player to win the NL Player of the Week award in 2018, joining Mark Reynolds (July 8), Max Scherzer (April 15) and Adam Eaton (April 2).

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez, Ryan Zimmerman

Rendon helps kids through Hooton Foundation

MLB.com @JamalCollier

ST. LOUIS -- Anthony Rendon doesn't remember hearing much about anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in his high school health classes. That is one of the reasons he has happily served as the Nationals' player representative on the advisory board for the Taylor Hooton Foundation for the past few seasons, and why it was a no-brainer for him to do so again this year.

Rendon is one of 38 active players on the board for the foundation, which is widely recognized as the leader in the advocacy against PED use by the youth of America.

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ST. LOUIS -- Anthony Rendon doesn't remember hearing much about anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs in his high school health classes. That is one of the reasons he has happily served as the Nationals' player representative on the advisory board for the Taylor Hooton Foundation for the past few seasons, and why it was a no-brainer for him to do so again this year.

Rendon is one of 38 active players on the board for the foundation, which is widely recognized as the leader in the advocacy against PED use by the youth of America.

View Full Game Coverage

"You can go after something, you can chase a dream, but you don't have to boost yourself up or stick yourself with a needle to try and get an edge," Rendon said. "You can do it on your own. You can do it the right way."

This year players on the advisory board are also participating in a public-service campaign titled "It's All Me." A print PSA featuring each member has been created and will be available to each team for its program/magazine, and will also appear in MLB's League Championship Series and World Series programs after already making an appearance in the All-Star Game program.

Rendon is a perfect fit, considering he is one of the Nats' most active players when it comes to youth engagement. His work with the Taylor Hooton Foundation has included participating in a youth camp at Nationals Park each year, run by the team's athletic training staff, and he has assumed a large role at the Nationals' Youth Baseball Academy.

"You can do it with eating better and exercising right," Rendon said about his message to kids. "You don't have to stick yourself with a needle or take these pills or whatever it is to get bigger, faster, stronger. There are other ways to do it without harming your body in the long run. I think it's important that way."

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals

Nationals' nicknames for Players' Weekend

MLB.com

For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers will put their personalities and passions on the field when Players' Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26.

Here are the nicknames the Nationals will wear on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms:

For the second consecutive year, Major Leaguers will put their personalities and passions on the field when Players' Weekend takes center stage during all games from Friday, Aug. 24, through Sunday, Aug. 26.

Here are the nicknames the Nationals will wear on their backs while sporting colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms:

Video: Get ready, 2018 Players' Weekend is August 24-26

Shop for Players Weekend gear
2018 Players Weekend nicknames
Best nickname for every team
All you need to know about Players Weekend

:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::

Matt Adams: "BIG CITY"

Adams has embraced this nickname, which dates back to his days with the Cardinals, even if there is not much "city" about him. Earlier this season during one of his hot streaks, Nats players made a shirt for him that said "Big City Doing Big City Things"

Joaquin Benoit: "JACK"
Wilmer Difo: "EL DE"
Sean Doolittle: "DOC"
Adam Eaton: "SPANKY"
Erick Fedde: "FEDDECCINI"
Koda Glover: "BEAR

Glover's first name means "Bear" in Cherokee, and the Oklahoma native is proud of his heritage after growing up in a town of fewer than 200 people. 

Gio Gonzalez: "DOUBLE G"
Matt Grace: "GRACEY"
Bryce Harper: "MONDO"
Jeremy Hellickson: "HELLY"
Kelvin Herrera: "K 40"
Greg Holland: "HOLLY"
Howie Kendrick: "TRUCK"
Spencer Kieboom: "BOOMER"
Ryan Madson: "BLEST"

It's an acronym for the names of his five children: Ben, Luke, Ella, Sean and Tyler. 

Justin Miller: "J. MILLZ"
Tommy Milone: "TOMASO"
Daniel Murphy: "MURPH"
Anthony Rendon: "ANT"
Mark Reynolds: "SHERIFF"
Tanner Roark: "T-RO"
Joe Ross: "JR"
Max Scherzer: "BLUE EYE"

A lot about Scherzer stands out, but one of his defining physical traits are his different colored eyes. Although he has said his pitching eye is his brown eye, he decided to use the name "Blue Eye" on the back of his jersey. 

Jhonatan Solano: "TATAN"
Sammy Solis: "BIG ANGUS"

Two years ago, former Nats reliever Matt Belisle gave the nickname to Solis shortly after their introduction because Solis was a big, meaty guy, according to Belisle, Solis recalled. Solis texted him a picture of the jersey when he got it. 

Juan Soto: "JUANJO"
Wander Suero: "THE ANIMAL"
Stephen Strasburg: "STRAS"
Michael A. Taylor: "MIGGY"
Trea Turner: "TRIPLE TREA"
Matt Wieters: "MAUI"
Ryan Zimmerman: "ZIM"

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals

Madson gives up walk-off slam after Max's gem

MLB.com @JamalCollier

CHICAGO -- Dave Martinez sat his office in the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field, his mind still processing how the Nationals managed to lose Sunday night to the Cubs in a game where they played so well for nearly the entire game.

He shook his head, paused often and measured his words during his postgame news conference. He pointed out that his team had played so well Sunday, and has been playing so well for weeks and that the Nats will be fine, and then he repeated himself a few times almost as if he was trying to still convince himself after a 4-3 loss in heartbreaking fashion.

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CHICAGO -- Dave Martinez sat his office in the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field, his mind still processing how the Nationals managed to lose Sunday night to the Cubs in a game where they played so well for nearly the entire game.

He shook his head, paused often and measured his words during his postgame news conference. He pointed out that his team had played so well Sunday, and has been playing so well for weeks and that the Nats will be fine, and then he repeated himself a few times almost as if he was trying to still convince himself after a 4-3 loss in heartbreaking fashion.

View Full Game Coverage

David Bote hit a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam against Ryan Madson with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning to hand the Nationals one of their most crushing regular-season defeats in club history. The setback spoiled a dominant start from Max Scherzer, cost them a chance to pull closer to first-place than they have been in more than month and saddled the Nats with a series loss when they could very easily have earned a sweep.

Video: Must C Comeback: Bote's grand slam completes comeback

"It's a gut punch," Scherzer said.

"For 8 2/3 innings we played really good baseball," Martinez said. "Really good baseball. We left here with one win, we should have had three."

The Nats led, 3-0, entering the ninth inning and appeared to be headed toward one of their best wins of the season, making what transpired that much more deflating.

After coming in as a defensive replacement, Wilmer Difo could not make a play to retire Jason Heyward on a grounder to second base for an infield single. Then Madson hit both Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras with errant pitches. That set the stage for Bote, who hammered a two-strike fastball that caught too much of the plate. After the game, Madson would reveal he has been battling a back issue that sends pain down his right leg, and it flared up while he was warming up in the bullpen.

"I had a good fastball. I tried to cut a couple tonight again, but with the back issue, especially the last one, it almost feels like the ball comes out muted out of my hand," Madson said. "It probably looks a lot better to the hitter. That was the last one. It didn't come out of my hand very well."

Video: WSH@CHC: Zimmerman leaps, tags Almora to end the 4th

Scherzer was at his best, grunting and screaming on the mound as he traded zeros with Cole Hamels. The Nats gave him a 1-0 lead in the second inning, and Scherzer was ready to make it hold, striking out 11 in seven shutout innings and flummoxing the Cubs' lineup. Scherzer is perhaps the favorite to capture his third straight NL Cy Young Award, and his effort Sunday was one of his best this year.

Max let's out epic grunt while fanning Baez

Hamels was also locked in on the mound, as he gave up one run on one hit in seven innings while striking out nine and retiring the final 18 batters he faced.

"That's just when you need to dig down deep and find a way to keep throwing up zeros, because of how important this game is," Scherzer said. "That's where it's fun to compete, those type of games."

Video: WSH@CHC: Zimmerman grounds a 2-run single to center

The Nats were clinging to a 1-0 lead until the ninth, when Ryan Zimmerman collected a two-run single after the Cubs intentionally walked Bryce Harper to load the bases, a scene that called flashbacks to a series at Wrigley Field in 2016, when Chicago walked Harper 13 times in four games.

"I was on the other side when we walked him upteen times," Martinez said. "It was good to see. I loved it, good for him and I'm proud of him."

Given that extra breathing room, it made the ninth inning even more crushing. The loss keeps the Nationals 5 1/2 games behind the Braves and Phillies, who are tied for first place in the NL East.

"Sometimes this happens. It's about how you respond to this," Scherzer said. "We've got an important series beginning in St. Louis tomorrow. We've got to come ready to play. We really need a win tomorrow to get momentum back on our side, cause tonight sucks. There's no other way to say it. We just didn't get the job done. And we've got to find a way to play really good baseball again tomorrow."

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Nats won a crucial challenge in the eighth inning after Javier Baez was ruled safe on a grounder to Mark Reynolds at third base after hustling down the line in an even 4.00 seconds with an elite max sprint speed of 30.3 feet per second, as measured by Statcast™. But the call was overturned after a review of 1:52 seconds, to end the inning and protect Washington's 1-0 lead.

Video: WSH@CHC: Reynolds nabs Baez on overturned call in 8th

HE SAID IT
"I want it to linger right now for 30 minutes and think about it. And let's come back tomorrow and not make the same mistakes. Let's keep playing the way we're playing, because we're playing with a lot of intensity. They're fired up. The boys are playing really well." -- Martinez, on rebounding after a tough loss

"I've gotten a lot of pats on the back like, 'Get 'em tomorrow.' That's the sign of a good team, a quality team that's together. I was expecting that, but it's more than usual." -- Madson, on support from his teammates

UP NEXT
The Nationals travel to St. Louis for a four-game series with the Cardinals starting Monday at 8:10 p.m. ET. The Nats are hopeful third baseman Anthony Rendon will be back in the lineup after missing the past two starts with a left wrist contusion. Tommy Milone will be on the mound for Washington against St. Louis' Miles Mikolas.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Ryan Madson, Max Scherzer

Max lets out epic grunt, fans Baez

Max Scherzer does nearly everything better than any other pitcher in baseball. He strikes out more batters (227), he tallies more wins (15), he posts a lower WHIP (0.897) and he records more shutouts. 

And during Sunday's heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Cubs, he showed that he also grunts louder than anybody else in the league. Listen to this roar while striking out Javy Baez.

Rendon should return to lineup in St. Louis

MLB.com @JamalCollier

CHICAGO -- Anthony Rendon was out of the Nationals' starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Cubs, missing his second straight start after being hit on the wrist with a pitch during Friday's game. The Nats diagnosed Rendon with a left wrist contusion. X-rays were negative, but he still feels some discomfort when swinging a bat.

Fielding grounders at third base is not an issue for Rendon, but taking four plate appearances might put too much pressure on his wrist, said manager Dave Martinez. Rendon will be available off the bench with the hope he can return to the starting lineup on Monday against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

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CHICAGO -- Anthony Rendon was out of the Nationals' starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Cubs, missing his second straight start after being hit on the wrist with a pitch during Friday's game. The Nats diagnosed Rendon with a left wrist contusion. X-rays were negative, but he still feels some discomfort when swinging a bat.

Fielding grounders at third base is not an issue for Rendon, but taking four plate appearances might put too much pressure on his wrist, said manager Dave Martinez. Rendon will be available off the bench with the hope he can return to the starting lineup on Monday against the Cardinals in St. Louis.

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"He swung yesterday, but it's just sore," Martinez said. "We'll see if we need him. He's definitely available to play defense, but throughout the day, he's going to take his swings."

Rendon was plunked in the first inning on Friday, but he played the remainder of the game. Each time he swung and missed, he felt some pain in the wrist, and Martinez thought it was best not to risk further injury.

Rendon has been one of the Nats' most consistent hitters this season. He's played in 91 games and posted an .851 OPS with 16 home runs. Mark Reynolds started at third base in his place.

Doolittle could throw off mound soon
Sean Doolittle felt encouraged after simulating his throwing motion on Sunday afternoon off a mound, testing to see how the stress reaction in his left foot would feel. He could throw off a mound as soon as Monday, which would be his first time doing so since landing on the disabled list last month.

"I know it's baby steps, but it's progress," Doolittle said. "You string enough good days along, string enough good mornings along, and you start to make some progress. The last two or three days have been really really good, so I'm starting to feel really optimistic."

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Anthony Rendon

Rodriguez fans career-high 11 for Syracuse

MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Sunday.

Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso, the No. 63 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, added to his prodigious power numbers on Sunday with another home run -- his 29th of the season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas -- and a pair of RBIs to bring his total to 105, the most of any player in the Minor or Major Leagues, in a 3-1 win over Reno.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Sunday.

Mets No. 2 prospect Peter Alonso, the No. 63 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, added to his prodigious power numbers on Sunday with another home run -- his 29th of the season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas -- and a pair of RBIs to bring his total to 105, the most of any player in the Minor or Major Leagues, in a 3-1 win over Reno.

Watch: Alonso goes yard

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The 23-year-old first baseman has homered in five of his last seven games for Las Vegas, and is hitting .260 with a .931 OPS in 47 Triple-A games. He slashed .314/.440/.573 with 15 homers in 65 Double-A games before being promoted.

Other top prospect performances on Sunday:

• A trio of D-backs prospects had big games Sunday. Jasrado Chisholm (No. 2) and Pavin Smith (No. 4) each shined in Class A Advanced Visalia's 7-3 victory over Modesto, while No. 6 prospect Alek Thomas continued his hot streak at the plate for Rookie level Missoula in its 9-6 win over Orem.

Chisholm went 3-for-4 with a double and a three-run homer, his sixth of the season. The 20-year-old shortstop is 9-for-18 with a pair of homers over his last four games, and is slashing .349/.393/.639 in 20 games since his promotion from Class A Kane County. In the same game, Smith also went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. The first baseman is hitting .245/.340/.379 with 10 homers in 103 games this season.

Thomas went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and two walks out of the leadoff spot for Missoula. The second-round selection in this year's MLB Draft is hitting .421 (16-for-38) with three doubles and two homers in nine Pioneer League games.

Dodgers No. 1 prospect Alex Verdugo, the No. 28 prospect overall, went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and two RBIs in Triple-A Oklahoma City's 9-0 victory over Memphis. He's hitting .346/.395/.500 with nine home runs in 76 Triple-A games this year.

Watch: Verdugo launches homer

Yordan Alvarez, the Astros' No. 3 prospect and the No. 41 prospect overall, belted a solo home run as part of a 2-for-3 performance in Triple-A Fresno's 9-4 win over Albuquerque. Since being promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi, the 21-year-old outfielder is slashing .240/.342/.462 with seven homers in 30 games.

Watch: MiLB Video

Meanwhile, another Houston prospect, Alex McKenna (No. 30), went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI in Class A (Short Season) Tri-City's 7-3 win over Vermont, improving his line to .328/.423/.534 with five homers in 32 games after being selected in the fourth round of this year's Draft.

• Right-hander Jefry Rodriguez, the Nationals' No. 11 prospect, was dominant over six innings in Triple-A Syracuse's 8-1 victory over Gwinnett. He yielded a run on six hits, walking two and striking out 11. The performance lowered his season ERA to 3.40 in 19 starts between Double-A Harrisburg (13) and Syracuse (six).

Watch: MiLB Video

• A pair of Red Sox prospects turned in strong performances in Double-A Portland's 6-2 victory over Akron. Boston's No. 1 prospect (and No. 99 overall), Michael Chavis, doubled and drove in three as part of a 2-for-3 afternoon, while No. 6 prospect Bobby Dalbec doubled, homered and drove in three runs of his own while going 2-for-4.

Watch: MiLB Video

Chavis, a first baseman, is hitting .309/.404/.556 with five homers in 22 Double-A games. Dalbec, a third baseman, has been red hot in nine games for Portland since being promoted from Class A Advanced Salem (.256/.372/.573, 26 homers), batting .364 with five homers.

Padres No. 10 prospect Cal Quantrill tossed six strong innings in Triple-A El Paso's 4-1 win at Sacramento, giving up a run on six hits, walking one and fanning six. The No. 8 overall selection in the 2016 Draft has given up three runs in 12 Triple-A innings since his promotion from Double-A San Antonio.

Watch: Quantrill notches strikeout

• Left-hander Cole Irvin, the Phillies' No. 10 prospect, blanked Louisville for seven innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley's 4-0 victory. He surrendered just three hits, walked three and struck out two. In 23 starts for Lehigh Valley this season, he owns a 2.85 ERA.

Watch: MiLB Video

• Patrick Mazeika, the Mets' No. 28 prospect, went 3-for-3 with his seventh home run of the season during Double-A Binghamton's 8-5 loss to Reading. The catcher is hitting .218/.322/.342 in 72 games this season.

Athletics No. 27 prospect Parker Dunshee gave Double-A Midland 7 1/3 scoreless frames in its 2-0 victory over Arkansas. The right-hander has turned in scoreless performances in three of his last four outings, lowering his season ERA to 2.51 in 21 appearances (19 starts) between Class A Advanced Stockton and Midland (nine starts).

Watch: MiLB Video

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

The Nats jersey number likely to be retired next

MLB.com @williamfleitch

Over the weekend, the Giants retired the No. 25 worn by Barry Bonds and the Tigers retired Jack Morris' No. 47. Bonds became the 12th Giant and Morris the seventh Tiger so honored (along with Jackie Robinson's No. 42 for both teams, of course). Bonds played for the Giants for 15 seasons and Morris pitched for the Tigers for 14 years and was just inducted into the Hall of Fame: It was a no-brainer for the Tigers once he was in.

This whole exercise got us thinking: Which active players might end up with their own jerseys retired? Who potentially has that immortality in their future? Thus, this week at The Thirty, in honor of Bonds and Morris, we take a look at the most likely active player to someday have their number retired for every team. Note the wording there, by the way: The player has to be active, but he does not have to be actively playing for the team that will retire his number at this specific moment.

Over the weekend, the Giants retired the No. 25 worn by Barry Bonds and the Tigers retired Jack Morris' No. 47. Bonds became the 12th Giant and Morris the seventh Tiger so honored (along with Jackie Robinson's No. 42 for both teams, of course). Bonds played for the Giants for 15 seasons and Morris pitched for the Tigers for 14 years and was just inducted into the Hall of Fame: It was a no-brainer for the Tigers once he was in.

This whole exercise got us thinking: Which active players might end up with their own jerseys retired? Who potentially has that immortality in their future? Thus, this week at The Thirty, in honor of Bonds and Morris, we take a look at the most likely active player to someday have their number retired for every team. Note the wording there, by the way: The player has to be active, but he does not have to be actively playing for the team that will retire his number at this specific moment.

Now, some of these teams have a rule that they won't retire anyone's number who wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame. In this case, if there is no obvious Hall of Fame candidate, when necessary, we'll pick the player most likely to be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. But the general principle remains: Who's the active player most likely to go down in history for each specific franchise? Here's our list.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays
19: Jose Bautista

This is probably the last year for Bautista, who is peddling his wares for the Mets, his second team this season. This jersey retirement probably won't end up happening, so they may just have to do a statue of his bat flip.

Video: MLB Tonight uses Statcast™ on Bautista's bat flip

Orioles
10: Adam Jones

Jones may be traded in August, but he'll be forever an Oriole. He's Captain America for crying out loud.

Rays
3: Evan Longoria

He's the best player in franchise history by a wide, wide margin.

Red Sox
15: Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia is already one of the franchise's 10 best players by WAR (per Baseball Reference) in history, and if he ever gets healthy again, he'll pass David Ortiz (whose No. 34 is already retired) in a matter of weeks. Also, those two World Series championships don't hurt.

Video: 2007 WS Gm1: Dustin Pedroia leads off with homer
Yankees
99: Aaron Judge

It's obviously early, but it's not like anyone else is clamoring for the number.

AL CENTRAL

Indians
12: Francisco Lindor

This is a tough call: Corey Kluber (28) is right there, too, but Lindor could be here for decades to come as a franchise icon.

Royals
13: Salvador Perez

Anybody else get the feeling that come 2028 we're going to be having the same Hall of Fame arguments about Perez that we're having about Yadier Molina right now?

Video: Perez receives World Series MVP Award in presentation

Tigers
24: Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera will end up having been a Tiger for 16 years by the time his contract is over … and heck, maybe even longer.

Video: WS2012 Gm3: Miggy receives trophy for Triple Crown

Twins
7: Joe Mauer

Remember, Kent Hrbek has a statue outside Target Field. If he has a statue, they should probably just name the stadium after Mauer.

White Sox
49: Chris Sale

Probably pushing it here, but if he ends up spending longer than seven years -- the amount of time he spent with the White Sox -- with any other team, we'll be surprised.

AL WEST

Angels
27: Mike Trout

Sorry, Vlad.

Astros
27: Jose Altuve

The jersey might be retired before the player is.

Video: Watch Jose Altuve's top 10 moments of the 2017 season

Athletics
26: Matt Chapman

Without question the toughest call on the board, but we'll just imagine a theoretical future where he turns into Brooks Robinson and plays with the A's for the next 15 years.

Mariners
51: Ichiro Suzuki

He's not technically retired yet, remember.

Video: A look at Ichiro's first and last hits in the Majors

Rangers
29: Adrian Beltre

If only he could have won one of those World Series…

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves
5: Freddie Freeman

He's still only 28 years old. The guy the Braves didn't trade years ago may end up being an Atlanta lifer … and perhaps someday a champion.

Marlins
27: Giancarlo Stanton

He's the Marlins' all-time leader in bWAR, by a significant margin. But by the time he retires, will anyone remember he ever played here?

Video: Stanton caps off historic 2017 with NL MVP Award

Mets
5: David Wright

Oh, what could have been.

Nationals
31: Max Scherzer

He's under contract with the Nationals through 2021, which gives him a lot of time to win some more Cy Young Awards.

Video: BOS@WSH: Scherzer records 1,000th K with Nationals

Phillies
26: Chase Utley

We've got five years to debate his Hall of Fame case. OK, probably 10, at least.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers
8: Ryan Braun

Is this crazy? This is probably crazy. But we might feel a lot differently about Braun's offense in 20 years than we do now.

Cardinals
5: Albert Pujols

Molina might end up having his jersey retired as well, but the Cardinals haven't given out No. 5 since Pujols left and surely won't ever again.

Video: WS2011 Gm3: Pujols' trio of homers ties Series record

Cubs
17: Kris Bryant

Incredibly tough call between Bryant and Anthony Rizzo here, but we'll go with the guy with the MVP Award and maybe some more coming.

Video: Bryant continues magical year with NL MVP Award

Pirates
22: Andrew McCutchen

Still pretty strange that his old team has a better record than his new one does.

Reds
19: Joey Votto

At this point, Votto will probably retire a Red, and maybe as the best Red since the Big Red Machine.

NL WEST

D-backs
44: Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt might have gotten started too late in his career to have much of a shot at the Hall of Fame, but he'll be beloved in Phoenix forever.

Dodgers
22: Clayton Kershaw

We'll see what happens this offseason, but 11 years of brilliance so far is plenty.

Video: Kershaw sets Dodgers, MLB record with strikeout mark

Giants
28: Buster Posey

Barely edging out Madison Bumgarner, if just because Posey is less likely to ever play anywhere else.

Padres
23: Fernando Tatis Jr.

Heck, why not?

Rockies
28: Nolan Arenado

The question, as with many Rockies: How long will he remain a Rockie?

Video: Must C Cycle: Arenado gets cycle with walk-off homer

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Zim hits 2 HRs as Nats romp vs. Lester, Cubs

Roark wins fourth straight start with 7 2/3 crisp innings
MLB.com @JamalCollier

CHICAGO -- When Dave Martinez took the Nats' manager job this offseason, one of the things he was most excited about was the prospects of his lineup, which on paper was set to be one of the deepest in the National League. Through a combination of injuries and underachievement, the lineup has struggled to produce runs consistently this season, but perhaps the Nationals' bats have finally started to hit their stride.

Washington tagged left-hander Jon Lester for nine runs (eight earned) and knocked him out of the game in the fourth inning in Saturday's 9-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Ryan Zimmerman homered twice and matched a career high with six RBIs while Daniel Murphy added three hits and a homer to back a strong start from Tanner Roark.

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CHICAGO -- When Dave Martinez took the Nats' manager job this offseason, one of the things he was most excited about was the prospects of his lineup, which on paper was set to be one of the deepest in the National League. Through a combination of injuries and underachievement, the lineup has struggled to produce runs consistently this season, but perhaps the Nationals' bats have finally started to hit their stride.

Washington tagged left-hander Jon Lester for nine runs (eight earned) and knocked him out of the game in the fourth inning in Saturday's 9-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Ryan Zimmerman homered twice and matched a career high with six RBIs while Daniel Murphy added three hits and a homer to back a strong start from Tanner Roark.

View Full Game Coverage

"I think since the All-Star break we've been swinging the bats well and putting some good at-bats together, grinding out at-bats a little better than we were before," Zimmerman said. "Our lineup's getting longer and deeper than it's been all year."

Video: WSH@CHC: Murphy, Zimmerman homer in big 4th inning

The victory pulls the Nationals to within five games of the Braves and Phillies, who are tied for first in the NL East.

Ever since Zimmerman returned from the disabled list on July 20, he has been one of the team's hottest hitters while settling into a platoon at first base with Matt Adams. He got the Nats on the board in the first inning with a two-run homer -- his first homer at Wrigley Field since 2013 -- and added a sacrifice fly in the third. His three-run homer in the fourth served as an exclamation point for a six-run inning and drove Lester from the game.

Video: WSH@CHC: Reynolds makes a sparkling diving stop

After Anthony Rendon was scratched from the lineup with a left wrist contusion, Martinez bumped Zimmerman up in the lineup to hit cleanup.

"Zim, when he's good, he's a cleanup hitter," Martinez said. "He's been that guy. … It gives the opposing manager something to think about if he has to make a pitching change. What a day he had, too."

Video: WSH@CHC: Murphy drives a 2-run, opposite-field homer

Murphy continued to punish the Cubs as he has so often in his career. That he did so from the No. 7 slot in the lineup and Matt Wieters reached base five times from the No. 8 spot underscored just how deep and dangerous this lineup can be.

Roark never appeared during the NL Division Series between these two teams 10 months ago, something that bothered him during the offseason. He got his chance to finally take the mound at Wrigley Field on Saturday and twirled another strong start. He gave up two runs in 7 2/3 innings, sealing his fourth straight strong start.

Video: WSH@CHC: Roark tosses 7 2/3 innings, strikes out 7

"There's still definitely things I need to work on and just maintain," Roark said. "And keep building off each and every start and having the confidence in myself and everybody on the team to do their job and go out there and win."

SOUND SMART
After collecting three hits Saturday, Murphy now owns a lifetime average of .327 in his career against the Cubs, the fourth highest among all active qualified players.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Michael A. Taylor was subbed into the game to start the seventh inning to give Bryce Harper a breather, and he instantly made an impact, chasing down a line drive from Kyle Schwarber for a stellar diving catch. Taylor ran 41 feet in 3.1 seconds before he dove and robbed Schwarber of a hit on a ball that had just a 35-percent catch probability, as measured by Statcast™, which rated the play as a four-star catch.

Video: WSH@CHC: Taylor dives, snags sinking liner

UP NEXT
Max Scherzer will be on the mound for Sunday night's series finale against Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels. In six career starts vs. Chicago, Scherzer owns a 2.92 ERA. He's won his past five decisions. First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. ET.

Video: WSH@CHC: Scherzer, Hamels get set to duel in Chicago

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Ryan Zimmerman