The Nationals are the hottest team in baseball

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Up in San Francisco to face the team with the best record in baseball, the Nationals didn’t miss a beat and perhaps took the title of baseball’s hottest team from the Giants. Stephen Strasburg tossed six innings of one-run ball, striking out seven as Washington cruised 9-2.

It wasn’t all pitching, of course. Ian Desmond had three hits including a triple and a double while driving in five. Denard Span ripped two doubles and a triple. Jayson Werth drove in two himself. It was a total team effort.

The Nats have won eight of ten, outscoring their opponents, 62-18 in that span. Over their last 7 outings the Nats’ rotation has a 1.23 era with 51 strikeouts and only 1 walk. Most importantly, they have climbed 3.5 games up in the standings to tie the Braves.

 

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.