The Washington Times - September 16, 2012, 06:26PM

ATLANTA — The Washington Nationals have been swept just four times this season, and they enter their 8:05 p.m. Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN hoping to avoid the fifth.

The weight of this game is obvious. If the Nationals win tonight they’ll leave Atlanta not too much worse for the wear, with a 7 1/2-game lead in the National League East and with their magic number to clinch the division down by two.


If they lose, things get a little bit more dicey. Their once 8 1/2-game lead will be down to 5 1/2 and their magic number will not have moved since Wednesday. 

The Nationals have done a good job of not putting any more pressure on one game over the other, manager Davey Johnson has said so many times that he considers every game important that I’ve lost track of how often the phrase come out of his mouth. 

But he said it again on Saturday.

“I look at all of them as important,” Johnson said. “I don’t have them weighted any more important than the others. Winning that game was important (Saturday). I thought we were set up pretty good. Tomorrow’s another big one. They’re all big from here on out.”

Here are the full lineups as Gio Gonzalez duels with Mike Minor, in search of Gonzalez’s 20th win of the season.


Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Tyler Moore LF
Kurt Suzuki C
Gio Gonzalez P


Michael Bourn CF
Reed Johnson LF
Jason Heyward RF
Chipper Jones 3B
Freddie Freeman 1B
Dan Uggla 2B
David Ross C
Andrelton Simmons SS
Mike Minor P