Davey Johnson is trying to conserve his bullpen while he can, and Michael Morse has been on a tear along with his middle-of-the-lineup mates.
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
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Stephen Strasburg is set to begin his rehab assignment with a start Sunday in Hagerstown
The Nationals delivered the "laugher" their manager had been waiting for since he took the job five weeks ago. In beating the Braves 9-3 Tuesday night, they extended a winning streak to four games, saw John Lannan bounce back from a rough start and watched their offense explode the way they've been promising it would all season.
When the Nationals lineup came out Tuesday afternoon, the first thing that stuck out to me was that right-hander Jonny Gomes was getting the start in left field over the left-handed Laynce Nix, despite the fact that the Nationals were facing a right-hander in Derek Lowe.
Stephen Strasburg threw 51 pitches in a three-inning simulated game Tuesday morning in Florida and while there were no reports good or bad that made their way to Davey Johnson's desk before Tuesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves, all signs point to Strasburg's next day of work coming in a minor league rehab game
After giving the Nationals two home runs Monday night, Rick Ankiel found himself back in the leadoff spot in the starting lineup for a second straight day -- and just seventh of his career. He'll man center while, despite facing right-hander Derek Lowe, Jonny Gomes will get the start in left.
It's no secret that Nationals manager Davey Johnson isn't completely comfortable with the construction of his bullpen. Johnson makes mention of that often. He'd like another long man, he'd like to not have to rely on Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen every single time there's a semi-close game, the list goes on. He'll cross one of those off the wish list this afternoon when Collin Balester officially joins the team to serve as a right-handed long man out of the bullpen and he's getting close to crossing another off the list with the continued emergence of Ryan Mattheus as one of the most reliable relievers in the Nationals bullpen.
The Nationals made the first half of a move to shore up their long relief in the bullpen Monday night when they optioned Atahualpa Severino back to Triple-A Syracuse. No official announcement was made but they are expected to recall Collin Balester before Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Braves to pitch out of the bullpen as a long reliever, a right-hander to complement left-handed long man Tom Gorzelanny.
Sunday afternoon, while most eyes were glued to the Nationals bullpen before the 4 p.m. trade deadline to see if there was any stirring before the ninth inning from Drew Storen, Jesus Flores garnered some attention of his own.
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is nearing the end of his stay in Florida and the end of a lengthy, arduous road back from Tommy John surgery. He will throw a simulated game in Florida on Tuesday and the next test for Strasburg could be on a mound at one of their affiliates.
The Nationals made two minor moves this afternoon, the first officially cutting ties with pinch hitter Matt Stairs, who'd been designated for assignment on Wednesday to clear space for Jonny Gomes and the second bringing Bryce Harper's brother Bryan into the organization.
Two of the Nationals' biggest divisional rivals bolstered their outfield this weekend. Meanwhile, the Nationals are preparing to see what some of their young pitching can do with an eye to the future.
When the Nationals travel to Colorado later this week they'll do so knowing that when they arrive their roster will have shifted some. Ross Detwiler will start for Washington Thursday night in Denver and Tom Gorzelanny will remain in the bullpen "for now," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Sunday.
Taking stock at the trade deadline: who came and went and what Nationals GM Mike Rizzo had to say about it
Now that the trade deadline has past and the dust, league-wide, is beginning to settle, here's a look at who came and went from the Nationals recently and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo's thoughts on the action:
The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline passed somewhat uneventfully Sunday with the Nationals clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Mets in the eighth inning of a rubber match and Drew Storen preparing to take the mound in the bullpen to warm for the ninth.