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Game 94: Braves at Nats

Jul 22, 2012, 3:58 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to salvage a series split and increase their NL East lead to 3 1/2 games.

What was the significance of last night's 5-2 win over the Braves? Well, instead of showing up at the park today in danger of getting swept and losing first place in the NL East for the first time in two months, the Nationals know they have an opportunity to salvage a split and get their lead back to 3 1/2 games, where it was when this series opened on Friday. Pretty big difference.

The Nationals will attempt to do that without Ian Desmond or Jesus Flores in their lineup. Desmond's oblique strain acted up again during last night's game, so he's getting a rest. For now, the team doesn't believe the injury is getting worse or that a DL stint is going to become a possibility — "I don't really want to go there," Davey Johnson said this morning. Flores, meanwhile, still is bothered by a stiff back, so Sandy Leon gets another start behind the plate.

Bryce Harper, on the other hand, is back in the lineup, fighting through a bruised left ankle after fouling a bunt off himself during yesterday's opener. He certainly looked fine coming off the bench during last night's win.

The skies appear to actually be clearing up after a long weekend of rain and gray. Plenty of updates to come, so please check back…

ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS (Game 2)
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 50, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 6 mph RF to LF

NATIONALS (54-39)
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse

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212 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Andrew, thanks for that and the info. Great program.

  2. A DC Wonk - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    The good thing about a split with the Braves, of course, is that while the Braves leave town with the same deficit (3.5), they now have four fewer games to make it up. Yeah, it's a marathon and not a sprint, and we're not even up to August, but still, we've knocked four games off the magic number over four games. I.e., a split here favors the Nats

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    200 comments ans "self anointed site genius" comment free.Poke-poke-poke.

  4. Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    WooooooooooooooooooooooooHoooooooooooooo!TM Michele

  5. ehay2k - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    OK,who thinks that after that performance, Davey might actually pronounce Stammen's name correctly? (Full disclosure, I'm taking the under on that one.)

  6. Joe Seamhead - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Yowsa! How nice to win this game without all the fear and ignorance that has been spewed out the past couple of days! We are in first place. We have the best record in the NL.We go to the Mets with pretty, pretty, pretty good pitching matchups, and a reasonably rested bullpen.I like it!

  7. Swift Eagle - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Someone explain to me the "fans" who only show up here when things are going bad so they can complain about, well, EVERYTHINGIf they hate the Nats so much, why do they follow at all? Do they every actually enjoy the good stuff?

  8. Smatt1001 - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Just because it needs more emphasis:WooooooooooooooooooooooooHoooooooooooooo!TM Michele Great recovery by the Nats after Friday and Saturday morning.

  9. DaveB - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    PFB to have our #4 5 6 pitchers all go 7 innings with the Braves, all giving up less than 3 runs. WOW!

  10. A DC Wonk - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    DaveB: good pointEagle: beats me. Some are probably infantile O's fans. But others aren't. I can't figure what drives their behavior

  11. Swift Eagle - Jul 22, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Wonk, I believe you once referred to it as "footbal fan mentality" which describes it as best as possible…

  12. NatsJim - Jul 22, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    "A DC Wonk said…DaveB: good pointEagle: beats me. Some are probably infantile O's fans. But others aren't. I can't figure what drives their behaviorJuly 22, 2012 4:46 PM"Don't overanalyze it – they are LOSERS with a losing mentality.

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