Nothing pretty in this loss

This was definitely a rough Monday for the Nats. Fresh off a 2-4 road trip against the best in the East, the Nats returned home to find out Stephen Strasburg will have to be placed on the disabled list again and then the Cubs crushed the Nats 9-1.

Nats have scored two or less runs in eight of their last 13 games and have only one run on the board since Saturday.

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Manager Jim Riggleman was not pleased following Monday's loss. The Cubs pounded out 15 hits in handing Livan Hernandez his second worst loss of the season. The seven runs surrendered was second only to the eight run debacle allowed by Hernandez on June 16 in Detroit.

Riggleman said, "I let them know that we got to play with more energy even though the game is flattening us out because we are out there on the field a long time. We just have got to find a way. We have to turn it up a notch.

"Our guys play hard and they play with intensity, but it is an 162 game schedule and you got to play 162. And tonight we allowed the game situation and the long innings (to affect us). I guess it is going to happen a time or two a year, but when it happens it gets addressed."

Outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who went 0-4, says, "things aren't going our way. I think everyone is still upbeat. It is not like the whole morale is down or everything. It just sucks getting our (butts) whipped and in front of our home crowd."

Outfielder Willie Harris says, "everybody was dead tonight and that could be because (Cubs winning pitcher Casey Coleman) was pitching so well. There really is no special way to look at it. You just got to continue to play hard and hopefully it will change.

"If you lose the game 9-7, no one ever talks about playing hard. I think the pitcher on the other side made it seem like we weren't playing hard because he was getting everybody out."

The Nats can take some solace because the next three starters have had some good news come their way in their last starts.

Tuesday has John Lannan and his three game win streak to the hill. Wednesday features Jason Marquis coming off a superb pitching performance Friday in Philly in which he allowed a single run. And Thursday offers up a welcome to No. 1 overall selection Bryce Harper and a healthy Jordan Zimmermann.

Hernandez said after the game, "it is a new day tomorrow. I got to think like that and I will always think positive, but this was a rough day and we lost ugly today."

Now the offense has to get pretty, and fast.

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