WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Kris Medlen #54 of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Braves Vs. Nationals: Braves Battle For 5-1 Win, Salvage Final Game Of Series

Kris Medlen shuts out the Nationals over seven innings as Atlanta avoids a sweep.

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15 Total Updates since August 20, 2012
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Braves Vs. Nationals Starting Lineup: Washington Tries To Bury The Braves

The Washington Nationals have announced their lineup for Wednesday's series finale (7:05 p.m. ET on MASN) against the Atlanta Braves. There's nothing out of the ordinary for the home team, which is trying for a three-game sweep.

The pitching matchup features the Nats' Ross Detwiler (7-5, 3.25 ERA) against the Braves' Kris Medlen (4-1, 2.03 ERA).

Washington Nationals:
  1. Jayson Werth, RF
  2. Bryce Harper, CF
  3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
  4. Michael Morse, LF
  5. Adam LaRoche, 1B
  6. Ian Desmond, SS
  7. Danny Espinosa, 2B
  8. Kurt Suzuki, C
  9. Ross Detwiler, LHP

Meanwhile, the Braves decided not to start second baseman Dan Uggla, as he's being replaced by Tyler Pastorinicky. Here's the rest of Atlanta's lineup.

Atlanta Braves:
  1. Martin Prado, LF
  2. Reed Johnson, CF
  3. Jason Heyward, RF
  4. Chipper Jones, 3B
  5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  6. David Ross, C
  7. Tyler Pastornicky, 2B
  8. Paul Janish, SS
  9. Kris Medlen, P

Head over to Federal Baseball and SB Nation DC for more on the Nationals and be sure to check out Baseball Nation, your source for news, notes and analysis around Major League Baseball.

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Braves Vs. Nationals: Stephen Strasburg Shutdown Debate Heats Up After Tuesday's Outing

The debate over what the Washington Nationals should do with staff ace Stephen Strasburg is coming to a head as the right-handed pitcher closes in on the inning limit that was set by team general manager Mike Rizzo at the beginning of the year.

After missing the majority of the 2011 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Rizzo and the Nationals understandably want to preserve their ace for future seasons to come. This sentiment was shared in a column by the Washington Post's Editorial Board, which praised Rizzo's willingness to take the ball out of Strasburg's hand.

By shutting down Mr. Strasburg in September and reducing his risk of future injury, Mr. Rizzo - who calls the decision "mine and mine alone" - is making both the admirable choice for Mr. Strasburg and the prudent, if painful, choice for the Nationals.

However, there are individuals on the other side of the argument -- namely Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports -- who believe that the Nationals are a legitimate World Series contender and need Strasburg in order to make an extended post-season run.

This perspective was only further substantiated on Tuesday night when the star pitcher struck out 10 in six innings of work to help propel Washington to a series win over the Atlanta Braves.

Rosenthal expressed this perspective in a sarcasm drenched post on FOXSports.com on Wednesday afternoon.

Mercifully, the end is almost near. Strasburg, averaging just under six innings per start, will pitch four or five more times, tops. Then, the Nationals will do the only sensible thing and rip the ball out of his right hand. If his 24 teammates don't like it - if those ingrates think that winning the World Series actually matters - heaven help them.

With Strasburg sitting at 145.1 innings pitched, the 160-180 innings limit is on the horizon and so too may be the end of the young phenom's season.

Head over to Federal Baseball and SB Nation DC for more on the Nationals. Read more on the Braves at Talking Chop and SB Nation Atlanta. And be sure to check out Baseball Nation, your source for news, notes and analysis around Major League Baseball.

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Braves Vs. Nationals Recap: Stephen Strasburg Pitches Washington To Series-Clinching Win

The Washington Nationals pushed their lead in the NL East to seven games on Tuesday night with a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

The win clinched the series for the Nats, who were paced by an outstanding start from Stephen Strasburg. The Washington ace struck out 10 Braves in six innings of work. It was unclear whether Strasburg would return after a 51-minute rain delay, but he re-took the mound and didn't miss a beat as he mowed down the division rivals.

On offense, the Nationals had two quick strikes via the long ball to provide Strasburg a four-run cushion. Ian Desmond went deep for the second time in as many nights, crushing one into the left-field seats in the bottom of the second. Desmond was hitless in the series against the Mets after returning from the DL, but he appears to be quickly regaining his All-Star form.

The second blast came in the bottom of the fifth and this time it was the No. 8 hitter in the lineup. Catcher Jesus Flores caught a Paul Maholm offering with Desmond and Adam LaRoche on base, ricocheting it off the railing above the wall in left. The four-run lead would be more than enough for Strasburg and the Nationals bullpen.

Drew Storen, Sean Burnett, and Tyler Clippard cleaned up the final three innings to preserve the win. Things got a little interesting in the top of the ninth, but Clippard induced three straight outs in the air to strand two runners and end the game. Dan Uggla and Brian McCann popped out in the infield on two consecutive pitches and Juan Francisco sent one deeper to right, but Jayson Werth camped under it.

The Nats can now take a further stranglehold on the division with a sweep on Wednesday. Ross Detwiler will go for Washington while Kris Medlen will pitch for Atlanta.

For more Nationals baseball, check out Federal Baseball.

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Braves Vs. Nationals Recap: Dan Uggla Miscue Gives Washington 5-4 Win In 13 Innings

Dan Uggla's 13th-inning miscue allowed Danny Espinosa to score the winning run as the Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-4 early Tuesday morning at Nationals Park.

The winning rally started with an Ian Desmond infield single. Espinosa followed and failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt, reaching on the fielder's choice. The Washington second baseman went to third after the left side of the Braves infield charged Kurt Suzuki's slow-rolling infield hit, leaving no one on the bag. Then, pinch-hitter Chad Tracy hit a slow roller to second that got stuck in Uggla's glove, allowing Espinosa to cross with the winning run.

Tracy's hit was initially called an error and was not officially changed to an infield hit until after the game had ended.

The win moved Washington six games clear of Atlanta in the National League East, the Nats' largest division lead of the season.

The Braves broke through in the first inning against Jordan Zimmermann when Jason Heyward singled home Martin Prado. But the Nationals came roaring back in the bottom half of the frame, putting a four-spot up on the board against Tim Hudson. The big bats came through in Davey Johnson's order, with Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, and Ian Desmond all knocking in runs.

Jayson Werth led off the inning with a double and was immediately brought home by Harper, who placed a single into shallow left field. Harper scored on a LaRoche ground out to right side of the infield and Desmond capped the rally with his first hit since returning from the disabled list. Desmond did not make any rehab appearances, and was thrown right back into the lineup for the weekend series against the Mets. He went 0-for-11 but that slump ended in a loud way in the first on Monday when he took a Hudson slider over the left-field fence for the 4-1 lead.

Zimmermann was not his sharpest, and he could not hold the three-run cushion. Heyward's big night continued in the top of the 5th when he turned on one and sent a Zimmermann offering over the right field wall. Heyward dug it out and sent a laser into the bleachers.

The Nationals mounted a walk-off threat in the bottom of the ninth, but Werth hit one to the warning track with the bases loaded to end the inning and send it to extras. On two separate occasions, it looked like the Nats might end with balls sent deep to the wall. Both LaRoche (in the 10th) and Werth (in the 11th) sent hard hit balls to the top of the wall, but Heyward brought them down to keep the game tied up.

The Nats went through their entire bullpen during the crucial divisional game, with Craig Stammen coming on in the top of the 12th as the final man out of the pen.

The game ended shortly before 12:30 a.m. The start of the game was delayed 56 minutes by rain.

For more on the Nationals, please be sure to check out our blog Federal Baseball and SB Nation DC for all the latest news and updates.

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