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NATIONALS WATCH

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.

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Bryce Harper on 0-for-7, 5 strikeout day: "I don't think I've ever had a game like that in my life."

Bryce Harper did not have a good Saturday. In the Washington Nationals' 5-3, 14-inning loss to the New York Yankees, the 19-year-old was 0-for-7 with five strikeouts. Against Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte, Harper was helpless. He saw 14 pitches in four at-bats, swung and missed at seven of them and didn't make contact until he he sent pitch No. 14 into Curtis Granderson's glove in center field in the seventh inning. Harper declined to talk to reporters after the game, saying only "I don't want to talk." But in a quiet, mostly empty clubhouse Sunday morning, Harper talked about his most frustrating day as a major leaguer.

Injury updates: Mattheus, Rodriguez

Ryan Mattheus, while feeling healthy enough to return, has not been deemed ready by the team. He will go to Triple-A Syracuse this week to continue his rehab assignment, most likely pitching on back-to-back days as the final test before the Nationals activate him.

Ian Desmond in lineup but dealing with sore oblique, LaRoche sits

The Washington Nationals, a team that has withstood the disabled-list stints of 14 different players, crossed their fingers Saturday morning and hoped they weren't dealing with another significant loss. Shortstop Ian Desmond was getting treatment early Saturday morning on a sore side, a left oblique issue according to manager Davey Johnson. There was no lineup posted in the clubhouse as the manager waited to see if Desmond would be able to get loose enough to play. That was apparently the case as Desmond was in the lineup, batting fifth.

Nationals' winning ways expected to draw capacity crowds

There were no gimmicks. No promotions. No slogans. There was only this: The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, scheduled to play three games at Nationals Park in a battle of the first-place teams in arguably the two toughest divisions in baseball. And the Nationals were expecting capacity crowds all weekend. It's no secret as to why.

Yankees visit allows Nationals some introspection

The Nationals' players are not usually fond of talking about one series as if it's bigger than another. Part of that is from their manager, whose favorite saying is that he manages for today with an eye on tomorrow. And another part of it is an effort not to get too high or too low over the course of a long, exhausting season. And if there's any team or organization that has shown how to do that well for a long time, it's the New York Yankees. Consistency has been a New York staple for as long as most Nationals' players can remember so as they go into Friday night's matchup as one of two first-place teams that will be on the field at Nationals Park, it provided a good time for some introspection.