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Nats lineup goes silent in loss to Braves

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Nats lineup goes silent in loss to Braves

There are nights when the Nationals' lineup looks capable of posting big numbers, no matter how many regulars find themselves shelved due to injury. And then there are nights like Wednesday.

The Nationals looked feeble at the plate during their 4-1 loss to the Braves, held to a measly four hits by rookie right-hander Matt Wisler and five Atlanta relievers.

The irony, of course, is that there were no injury concerns entering this game, with the Nats' three recently banged-up regulars (Bryce Harper, Denard Span, Yunel Escobar) able to play. That group, though, couldn't duplicate the efforts of this lineup for much of the last week-and-a-half.

Despite the on-and-off status of those three key players and the longer-term loss of Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth to the disabled list, the Nationals had scored 50 runs over its previous 10 games, nine of those ending in victory. Not so on this night, not with Wisler keeping the opposition off-balance through 5 1/3 innings, surrendering only one hit along the way.

Which isn't to say the Nationals didn't have their chances. Five walks issued by Wisler left him pitching out of the stretch most of the night. The Nats simply couldn't take advantage.

Wilson Ramos struck out with two on and two out in the first. Escobar grounded into a double play with runners on the corners and one out in the third. Ramos grounded into a double play with two on and one out in the sixth. Danny Espinosa struck out with two on and two out in the seventh.

The Escobar and Ramos double plays were especially damaging to a Nationals lineup that can't afford for the men hitting in front of and behind Harper to go cold at the plate. Escobar has now grounded into 12 double plays this season, five in his last seven games alone, leaving Harper to lead off a bunch of innings instead of having opportunities to drive in runners from scoring position.

Ramos, meanwhile, has seen his batting average fall to .258, his on-base percentage to .285. The Nationals can maybe live with that from their No. 7 or No. 8 hitter, but they can't live with that from their No. 5 hitter, not the guy hitting directly behind Harper (who reached base twice Wednesday but never scored.

The whole situation should get better, of course, once the likes of Zimmerman, Rendon and Werth return and the Nats aren't forced to rely on less-proven hitters to protect Harper in the lineup.

But until then, they'll have to keep hoping the rest of the bunch can provide enough quality at-bats to bring enough runs home.

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Nationals Roundup: Nats blow multiple leads in frustrating walk-off loss to Mets

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Nationals Roundup: Nats blow multiple leads in frustrating walk-off loss to Mets

The Nationals lost to the New York Mets, 6-5, Tuesday to drop their record to 19-29. 

Consider these news and notes as Washington trudges through its four-game series in New York: 

Players Notes:

NATIONALS: 

Erick Fedde made his first start of the season for Washington Tuesday night and put together a solid outing. The 26-year-old threw five innings of one-run baseball, allowing four hits, a walk, and strikeout. Thirty-one of his 61 pitches were sinkers.

Do you believe in the broadcaster's jinx theory? Perhaps you might after reading up on what Juan Soto did in the 2nd inning Tuesday. Then, later in the 8th, Soto scorched a go-ahead double to deep right notching his 100th career RBI. 

METS: 

Amed Rosario was the hero at Citi Field. His walk-off infield single off Kyle Barraclough was the difference in New York's 6-5 comeback win. 

The Mets got a quality start from starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, who threw seven innings of four-hit ball, three earned runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. 78 of his 118 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Pete Alonso is lighting it up right now. His game-tying 417-foot home run in the 8th marked his 16th of the season. 

Injuries: 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 31

RP Justin Miller: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 31

SP Anibal Sanchez: hamstring, expected to be out until at least May 27

OF Andrew Stevenson: back, expected to be out until at least May 24

1B Matt Adams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least May 22

1B Ryan Zimmerman: foot, expected to be out until at least May 23

RP Koda Glover: elbow, expected to be out until at least May 25

RP Trevor Rosenthal: viral infection, Expected to be out until at least May 21

RP Austen Williams: shoulder, expected to be out until at least Jun 13

Coming Up:

Wednesday, 5/22: Nationals @ Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field 

Thursday, 5/23: Nationals @ Mets, 12:10 p.m. ET, Citi Field

Friday, 5/24: Marlins @ Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET, Nationals Park

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Bryce Harper trolls Cubs fans after they call him overrated because of course he did

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Bryce Harper trolls Cubs fans after they call him overrated because of course he did

It's not just the City of Brotherly Love that heckles Bryce Harper from time to time, it's also one of the clubs he spurned during his offseason tour before settling on Philadelphia.

Prior to losing on a walk-off single to Cubs' star Javy Baez, Harper had a battle going on aside from the scheduled matchup, and that battle didn't involve any players on the opposing squads, but it did include the fans that fill their seats at Wrigley Field.

After the fans booed him all evening and labeled him overrated, the former Nats star chucked a fastball right over their heads and across the street.

Fortunately, the ball didn't break any nearby windows.

We hope. 

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