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NATIONALS WATCH

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.

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After hot night, Nix sits: today's lineups

The Nationals have gone back to their more traditional lineup against a left-handed pitcher after Laynce Nix subbed in for Michael Morse on Friday night. Wilson Ramos also gets the start for the second day in a row, something that will become more and more common. Here are the full lineups:

The Nationals vs. today's starter: LHP Jonathan Sanchez

The Nationals were able to make Tim Lincecum look human Friday night, continuing a trend where the San Francisco Giants right-hander struggles against Washington. The Nationals are hoping to keep that going against left-hander Jonathan Sanchez in a lefty-lefty matchup with Sanchez facing John Lannan. Here's how they've done against Sanchez in the past.

Nix's play may force Nationals to keep him in the lineup

Laynce Nix was 2-for-3 on Friday night and struck the decisive blow to Tim Lincecum as Jason Marquis spun a shutout on the other side of things for the Nationals. The start, which was just Nix's sixth of the season, may be something we see a lot more of here in the coming days and weeks.

Talking about Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum is a good pitcher. That shouldn't come as a surprise to baseball fans anywhere, but take Tim Lincecum and put him on the road -- in 2011 at least -- and he's even better. In 21 2/3 innings as the visiting starting pitcher this season, Lincecum has allowed just two earned runs total -- good for the lowest road ERA in the major leagues at 0.83.

The Nationals vs. today's starter: RHP Tim Lincecum, plus the lineups

The Nationals have struck out 169 times this season. Only 11 teams in the major leagues have struck out less often than the Nationals, an admirable mark for an offense that has struggled to find its rhythm early this season. Facing strikeout master Tim Lincecum tonight at Nationals Park, though, they could end up closer to the bottom of the list by night's end. Also, Morse sits as Nix gets the start in left.

Storen's ninth, Livo's bunt and Pudge's arm

There was a lot to dissect after the Nationals 4-3 victory over the Mets. The main storyline of the night was new father Ian Desmond returning from paternity leave and hitting a triple and a solo home run to lead the way for Washington. But Drew Storen's ninth, Livan Hernandez's outing both on the mound and at the plate, and Ivan Rodriguez's throw to catch Jose Reyes stealing shouldn't be overlooked.

Hernandez: "Whatever came out and whatever people (don't) say the truth, it's OK."

One day after Livan Hernandez was named as the target of a federal money laundering probe in connection with a convicted drug kingpin in Puerto Rico, the Nationals right-hander came out and fired eight innings and allowed just two earned runs in the Nationals' 4-3 victory over the New York Mets. Hernandez, who is easily one of the most consistent starting pitchers in the major leagues and was given a warm reception from fans all night on Thursday, was asked after the game about the investigation.

Zimmerman continues throwing, admits he's at least a week away

Ryan Zimmerman and Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz were back out in right field on Thursday afternoon playing catch from a short distance for just a few minutes. It was the same type of activity Zimmerman has engaged in every day since the Nationals have returned from their most recent road trip but he came through it fine. He also admitted that coming back from the abdominal strain is going to be a slow process and doesn't expect to be back on the active roster for at least another week but that this upcoming week is an important one.

The Nationals vs. today's starter: LHP Chris Capuano

As despondent and disappointed as the Nationals may be after a night where they not only dropped their third straight game and series, but did so in a ninth-inning meltdown that produced a clubhouse silenced by the circumstances after the game, the good news is, there's always another day. The Nationals don't have to wait long before getting a chance to make their latest three-game losing skid a thing of the past and halt it before it gets to four. They'll get that opportunity tonight when right-hander Livan Hernandez takes the mound against Mets' left-hander Chris Capuano.

Explaining the money laundering investigation into Livan Hernandez and his connection to a Puerto Rican drug kingpin

The news came out Wednesday that Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez is the target of a federal money laundering probe in connection with a convicted drug kingpin in Puerto Rico. As you can read in The Washington Times' story on this topic (linked above), Hernandez is suspected of being a "straw buyer" for Puerto Rican drug lord Angel Ayala Vazquez who was convicted recently of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and pills at public housing projects in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Here's an attempt at explaining the allegations against the Nationals' right-hander and what happens from here.

Three straight starts for Wilson Ramos: today's lineups

After clubbing two home runs on Tuesday night, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman has catcher Wilson Ramos in the starting lineup for the third straight night tonight -- the first time all season that Ramos has played three consecutive games. Here are the full lineups.

Desmond out, Bernadina up, plus lineups

A bit of a shuffle for the Nationals today, as shortstop Ian Desmond is on paternity leave. He's expected to miss the next game or two, after his wife, Chelsey, gave birth to Grayson earlier today.

The Nationals vs. today's starter: RHP Chris Young

For the first time this season, when the Nationals take the field tonight at Nationals Park they'll be facing a pitcher they've already seen once this year. Chris Young is expected to be activated before tonight's game. Here's how the Nationals have done against the Mets' hurler in the past.