This and that

It has come to this in the season for the Nationals where they have to sweep the Braves in the first series of the homestand starting Monday at Nationals Park.

Ideally, a 3-2 road trip with a split in Detroit and at least two out of three in Milwaukee would have been good. That didn't happen with the two game sweep at the hands of Detroit to begin the road trip. Their best chance was Stephen Strasburg's start Tuesday night. The game was tied 1-1 in the sixth before Alex Avila changed that series with a grand slam.

Because the margin of error is so little right now for the Nats, a 5-1 deficit is almost insurmountable with nine outs remaining. If they have done anything else, like score Strasburg at least three runs in that game, they would have had a shot. With a man on in the ninth, Wilson Ramos slammed a long fly ball that was caught at about the 415-foot marker in straight away center field, a ball that would have been out of Nats Park.

You could tell that Ramos felt the same way on the crack of the bat, but to no avail. And Detroit has to play under the same conditions too, so there are no excuses.

* I can't stop talking about Tyler Moore at Triple-A Syracuse. It makes you wonder if he played every day for the Nationals, would these numbers be similar?

Heading into Sunday's game, Moore had reached base in 19 of 20 games dating back to his July 10 arrival back with Triple-A Syracuse. He had 13 extra-base hits during that span and had hit close to .400.

He was 0-for-3 on Sunday and is batting .350 the last 10 games.

* Right-hander Caleb Clay produced a solid start Saturday for Syracuse in a 7-6 loss. Clay went seven innings, allowed three hits, one run, two walks and struck out one. His numbers have been better at Triple-A versus Double-A since his call up. He is 3-2 with a 2.44 ERA in nine games (eight starts) for the Chiefs. Could Clay be in consideration when Taylor Jordan has to be shut down? Absolutely.

* Right-hander Drew Storen got knocked around a bit in his second appearance and first start for Syracuse on Sunday. In 1 2/3 innings, Storen allowed four hits, two runs, no walks and struck out three batters. He is now 0-0 with a 10.12 ERA in two games, allowing six hits, four runs, three earned runs, one throwing error, no walks and five strikeouts.

* Syracuse second baseman Danny Espinosa is 7-for-18 (.345) in his last five games with three doubles and two RBIs. During the five-game hit streak, he has still struck out 10 times. He is batting .208 in the minors.

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