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Nats-Braves series preview

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Nats-Braves series preview

Braves @ Nationals
70-51 2nd in NL East 75-46 1st in NL East

The Rundown
Monday, August 20 Wednesday, August 22
Series 40
Season Series Record vs. Braves: 8-4

Pitching Probables
denotes left handed pitcher

Monday, August 20 7:05 pm
Tim Hudson (12-4, 3.59 ERA) @ Jordan Zimmermann (9-7, 2.38 ERA)

Tuesday, August 21 7:05 pm
Paul Maholm (2-1, 1.57 ERA) @ Stephen Strasburg (14-5, 2.91 ERA)

Wednesday, August 22 7:05 pm
Kris Medlen (4-1, 2.03 ERA) @ Ross Detwiler(7-5, 3.25 ERA)

Whos Hot & Whos Not

Braves

Hot: SP Kris Medlen 3-0, 1.05 ERA as a starter
Not: 2B Dan Uggla .156 AVG, 12 K in last 10 games

Nationals

Hot: OF Michael Morse 4 HR, 10 RBI in last 10 games
Not: RP Drew Storen 6.00 ERA, 6 BB in month of August

A Series Look

Its finally here. If you want as big of a series as you can get late in the season, this is it right here: Nationals vs. Braves. Evidence could be seen during yesterdays Mets-Nats rain delay, when the Braves game was played on the scoreboard. Every time the Braves would give up a run, the Nationals fan base would cheer.

While the Nationals may be calling it just another series, everyone in the baseball world knows whats on the line between the Braves and the Nationals this week in Washington. The Nationals, owners of baseballs best record, are nursing a 5 game lead over the Braves in the NL East. After this 3-game set, the teams meet only one more time before seasons end.

Tim Hudson, tonights starter who has generally owned the Nats in his career, has absolutely been shelled by Nats hitters this season. The veteran right-hander is 0-2 with a 8.53 ERA against the Nationals in two starts in 2012. His counterpart, Jordan Zimmermann, believe it or not hasnt faced the Braves this year. Zimmermann is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his career against the Braves. The NL ERA leader, Zimmermann, made his MLB debut against the Braves back in 2009 (a 3-2 win).

Tonights game could set the tone for the rest of the series. This week wont make or break either teams postseason hopes, but one of two things will certainly happen. The Nationals will build upon their NL East lead; or the Braves will cut into it. Regardless, Nats fans have been waiting for years to have meaningful baseball in the late summer months. Its finally here.

Prediction: Nationals win 2-1

News and Notes>Odds & Ends:SP Gio Gonzalez needs just one more win to set a personal single season record in number of wins Closer Tyler Clippard posted his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance with yesterdays save, his 27th of the season The Nationals have sent out postseason packet information to season ticket holders.
Down on the Farm

>AAASyracuse: Expect RP Christian Garcia to not only be a September call-up, but to be a key piece to the Nationals postseason run. In 48 innings in AAHarrisburg and AAASyracuse combined, the former Yankees prospect has allowed just 4 earned runs. Garicas fastball is in the mid-90s range and has 63 strikeouts in both levels.

>AAHarrisburg: 3B Anthony Rendon, who is potentially a candidate for a September call-up (although highly unlikely), is hitting .125 since being called up to the Senators.

>A (Advanced)Potomac: 2011 1st round pick SP Alex Meyer continues to pitch well for the P-Nats. He is the owner of a 2-2 record with a 2.45 ERA.

Quote Corner
The Braves missed a chance to put some pressure on the Nationals, which they would have done had they come into the series closer than five games back. It wouldn't have been easy for them to do that, the way the Nationals have been playing, but by allowing the gap to get to five games, the Braves failed to really put the Nationals under pressure.

This team has responded well to everything so far, and there's no reason to believe they would fall apart under pressure. But we're not really going to find out, not this week, anyway.-Danny Knobler, Baseball Columnist, CBSSports.com

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Ten very good Pups in the Park who don't care that the Nats lost

Ten very good Pups in the Park who don't care that the Nats lost

Nationals Park opened its gates to dogs on Sunday for "Pups in the Park." Humans and their doggos got to sit in outfield section 140-143 with tickets being $30 per person and $10 per canine.

The Nationals ended up losing to the Reds, but that didn't put a damper on the afternoon for the guests of honor. 

Sometimes, its a blessing not to know what's going on. Just check out these ten happy puppers. 

1. Teddy, who's cuter than any racing president

2. Steve, who looks great in hats

Steve the dog 🐶 showing his natitude #pupsinthepark #nats

A post shared by Jen (@see_jho_run) on

3. Penny, who probably wasn't easy to carry around

Today was a good day to be Penny. #ballgame⚾️ #natsbestbuds #pupsinthepark

A post shared by Sheri (@pennysmom87) on

We took her out to the ball game! #pupsinthepark #natsbestbuds

A post shared by Sheri (@pennysmom87) on

4. Apollo, a Nats fan from a young age

5. Ellie, who plans to use this photo for #TongueOutTuesday

6. Auryn, who isn't even watching the game

Happiest little corgi in the park #aurynthedog @viano_perez #pupsinthepark #nats

A post shared by Taylor Pittman (@taylorp712) on

7. Moussie, who trimmed his beard just for the occasion

MOUSSIE IN THE PARK ⚾️🐶

A post shared by emma (@emmajekowsky) on

8. Dasher, obviously the favorite granddog

9. Bentley and Abby, whose moms can be overbearing 

Enjoying #pupsinthepark at @nationals game! #Bentley #Abby #ForcedPhotos 🐶🐶⚾️

A post shared by Mary Kennedy (@mkay0310) on

10. PJ, who squeezed into this selfie at the last minute

It's #pupsinthepark day at #nationals park. PJ is ready for a big Nats win!

A post shared by Luke Reeves (@lreevesm) on

Washington is now 13-19 in days games this season, significantly worse than their 31-11 night record. But these furry friends don't know that!

MORE NATIONALS: Roark's shaky start dooms Nats in loss to Reds

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Nationals can't overcome Tanner Roark's first inning, lose to Reds

Nationals can't overcome Tanner Roark's first inning, lose to Reds

WASHINGTON (AP) – Scooter Gennett homered and got four hits, and the Cincinnati Reds scored five times in the first inning off Tanner Roark en route to a 6-2 victory over Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The Reds won for just the second time in 15 games. Gennett's four hits were his most since he got five while becoming the 17th major league player homer four times in a game on June 6.

Gennett had an RBI single in the first and hit his 11th home run in the second. The second baseman also threw out Brian Goodwin at the plate on a fifth-inning relay, preventing Bryce Harper from recording an RBI on a three-hit day.

Scott Feldman (6-5) pitched seven innings. He allowed both runs on Michael Taylor's 11th homer.

Roark (6-5) gave up six runs over six innings and 115 pitches after requiring 40 to complete the first. The right-hander has now yielded 19 runs over his last three starts as his ERA has risen more than a run to 5.15.

Billy Hamilton led off the game with a double and scored a single by Gennett. Joey Votto also singled, and Gennett scored on Harper's throwing error from right field.

A grounder made it 3-0 before Tucker Barnhart hit a two-out, two-run double off Harper's outstretched glove.

Gennett homered into the Nationals' bullpen in the second.

Taylor homered in the fourth. He connected twice Saturday in Washington's 18-3 romp.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: 3B Eugenio Suarez was out of the starting lineup for the first time since June 8, but came in as a defensive replacement and popped out in the ninth. He is hitting .180 over his last 17 games and is just 2 for 18 on the Reds' road trip.

Nationals: LHP Sammy Solis (elbow) made a fifth rehab outing on Saturday night, retiring two batters on 11 pitches.

UP NEXT

Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (1-0, 2.70) draws the start Monday at St. Louis in a makeup game from an April 29 rainout. It is Finnegan's first outing since going on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury on April 16.

Nationals: Begin a four-game home series against the Cubs, who are combined .206 (20 for 97) against Gio Gonzalez (7-1, 2.96), Washington's starter on Monday.

MORE NATIONALS: Nats clobber Reds 18-3