Welcome to MASN's discussion space for tonight's Nationals-Braves series finale from Turner Field. If you'd like to discuss the game, leave your thoughts in the comments section, and I'll respond to you there. I'll also post updates throughout the night. For those of you who are curious, we'll be back at it with the live chat tomorrow night from Nationals Park.
8:18 p.m.: The Nationals' offense, so far tonight, is back to struggling. They've managed just two hits -- one of them from pitcher J.D. Martin -- off Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, who's one of the toughest pitchers in the National League when he's on. But Jurrjens hasn't been on most of this year. Martin has thrown 62 pitches through three innings, and will need a couple quick innings to get through six.
9:13 p.m.: After falling behind 3-0, the Nationals rallied for a run in the top of the sixth, with Adam Dunn driving in Ryan Zimmerman. And they were able to knock Jurrjens out of the game. The Braves' bullpen is one of the stauncher units in the National League, though, allowing opposing batters to hit just .227. The Nationals will get three cracks to tie the game, but it won't be easy, and they'll want to do it before Billy Wagner enters the game in the ninth inning.
Also, a quick word of warning to those expecting Alberto Gonzalez to be a permanent solution in the infield: We've seen that movie before, and thought he plays well for a few days, he's proven over a larger stretch of time that he's not an ideal everyday player. I've been surprised at how strong he's been in a utility role this season, but that's probably where he's best suited over the long haul
9:21 p.m.: For the second inning in a row, a Nationals rally died on a double play. This one came after Nyjer Morgan laid down a beautiful bunt along the first-base line -- the kind of bunt the Nationals have been waiting to see from him -- for a one-out single. But Michael Morse hit a high chopper up the middle, and Morgan, after hesitating on his way to second, ducked in the middle of the basepath while the Nationals threw out Morse. I'm not sure why Morgan didn't go into second harder, other than a (reasonable) concern of being in the line of the throw. At any rate, the Nationals missed a chance to add a run. Ian Desmond is now in right field for the Nationals, after Morse pinch-hit for Bernadina. Rather than leave Morse in the game and put the pitcher back in the ninth spot, the Nationals are gambling on Desmond, who's played only a few games in right, so they can keep two more batters in front of the pitcher.
10:00 p.m.: I'm officially coming to you from my brand-new MacBook Pro, with its backlit keyboard and cool points aplenty. Just reading this, don't you feel like you're part of something special? Anyway, the Nationals look to be headed toward their second loss of the series, having allowed a run in wholly avoidable fashion in the seventh inning. Doug Slaten hit two batters and walked another one to load the bases. Miguel Batista relieved him and walked Eric Hinske, giving the Braves an insurance run. And the Nationals haven't been able to do anything against Wagner, as was expected. So it's 4-1 in the top of the ninth. One quick question: I didn't hear all of what Rob Dibble was saying about Matt Capps running cross country. Was he ripping the sport, or just saying it was hard to believe Capps would do it? I just need to see if I'm going to have to confront him.
Stop laughing. Remember, I've got a MacBook. I'm cool now.
10:11 p.m.: /strong> The Nationals couldn't get more than a baserunner on Wagner in the ninth, and they fall 4-1, losing two of three in Atlanta. Yesterday's cathartic win notwithstanding, they scored two runs in two games. The offense is still very much a concern as they come home for four against the Mets.