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Instant analysis: Yankees 4, Nats 1

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Instant analysis: Yankees 4, Nats 1

Game in a nutshell: Needing to salvage a Sunday victory to avoid a sweep, the Nationals instead fell into a familiar pattern. Their lineup couldn't get anything going against right-hander Ivan Nova, who needed only 97 pitches to go 7 23 innings. Their starter (Edwin Jackson) couldn't keep New York's lineup from racking up his pitch count early. And then a tight ballgame turned in the Yankees' favor late as the Nationals' bullpen gave up a couple of tack-on runs. Thus the most-anticipated series in Nats history (drawing three straight sellouts) ended in a disappointing sweep at the hands of the Bronx Bombers. On the bright side, thanks to rough weekends by the rest of the NL East, the Nationals still hold a four-game lead in the division.

Hitting lowlight: How bad has it gotten for Ryan Zimmerman? Really bad. With an 0-for-4 showing today, the Face of the Franchise is now hitting a paltry .229 for the season. Worse, Zimmerman didn't put together one quality at-bat in this game. He saw a total of seven pitches in four at-bats and swung at five of them. The only two pitches he took were called strikes. Is Zim's shoulder still hurting him? He insists it's not, and insists the injury never affected his swing in the first place. Whatever the reason, he's become a major hole in the heart of the Nationals' lineup.

Pitching highlight: Jackson wasn't at his best today -- he was surprisingly inefficient for one of the few times he's taken the mound this year -- but he put forth a gutty effort to get through six innings and hold the Yankees to two runs. Jackson came up with big pitches when he needed to, getting eight outs with runners in scoring position without giving up a hit. It won't register as much of anything on the stats page, but Jackson did about as well as you could hope for in this game. He certainly gave the Nationals a chance to win.

Key stat: The Nationals are 0-6 against the Dodgers and Yankees this season. They're 38-19 against everyone else.

Up next: They'll have Monday off to stew over this rough weekend series, then the Nationals return Tuesday night to face another tough AL East opponent in the Rays. Chien-Ming Wang faces David Price in the opener at Nationals Park.

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Stephen Strasburg saves Nationals from series sweep

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Stephen Strasburg saves Nationals from series sweep

With 11 strikeouts and only two hits in eight innings, Stephen Strasburg contained the Marlins to nothing as the Nationals won 5-0 in Miami. Here are the latest news and notes after Sunday’s victory.

Player notes:

Anthony Rendon remains day-to-day after being hit on his left elbow by a pitch Saturday. He left Saturday’s game and missed Sunday’s outing as well. Howie Kendrick, his replacement thus far, finished the series against Miami going 1-for-3 with a single RBI.

Stephen Strasburg posted double-digit strikeouts for the first time this season (11). Strasburg dropped his ERA by almost 1.5 runs, and is expected to start next against the Padres. That series begins Friday, April 26.

Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with two home runs. He tallied two RBIs as well.

Injuries:

3B Anthony Rendon: Elbow hit by pitch, day-to-day

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-day IL

RP Justin Miller: Back, 10-day IL

SS Trea Turner: Finger, 10-day IL

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 10-day IL

Coming Up:

Monday, 4/22: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

The Nationals face the Rockies at Coors Field for the first half of this work week. Here are three things to watch for:

  1. Can the Nationals stay above .500? Stephen Strasburg’s impressive start along with Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers and two RBI kept Washington from being swept by the lowly Marlins.

  2. Who will produce with Anthony Rendon out? While the Nats 3B was sidelined with an elbow injury after being hit by a pitch in Saturday’s outing against the Marlins, Howie Kendrick started in his place. Kendrick went 1-for-3 vs Miami with one RBI and one strikeout. In terms of replacing Rendon’s hitting prowess, Victor Robles has started a streak of his own. The youngster is hot on a seven game hit streak, including a bunt over the infield Sunday.

  3. Will the Nationals ever sure up their end game? Yesterday’s ninth inning was on the brink of disaster. Kyle Barraclough allowed back-to-back walks, then Sean Doolittle loaded the bases. Luckily for the Nats, crisis averted.

Download the MyTeams app for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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