Game 129: Nationals at Marlins

Adam Berry here in the shadow of the Marlins Park home-run sculpture, pinch-hitting for Bill Ladson. For more news and notes and in-game updates, check out Nationals.com and follow me on Twitter @adamdberry.

The Nationals are looking to end their five-game losing streak tonight. That stretch, with a grand total of six runs scored, means the Nats no longer have the best record in baseball, although they still hold a four-game lead over the Braves in the NL East. If you missed it toward the bottom of last night’s game story, Adam LaRoche had some interesting thoughts about Washington’s recent skid.

There’s not a whole lot of concern inside the Nats’ clubhouse, but manager Davey Johnson called a seven-minute team meeting this afternoon. Johnson, who joked that he was inspired by last night’s speeches at the Republican National Convention, said it was mostly fun and encouraging, and he reminded his players that he likes their effort.

“When you lose, it’s harder on the coaches and the manager. We don’t sleep as well. If they start winning a few games, it’ll make it easier on this old guy,” Johnson said. “We all got a good laugh out of it and everything. It was a nice, fun meeting. I don’t hold a lot of them, as you know. That way, maybe you guys think I’m doing my job.

“I didn’t even have any idea what I was going to say until I got in there. Sometimes it’s nice just to have a fun meeting. Short, sweet, to the point. I know I probably held their attention span since it was only seven minutes. If you go over 10, you might lose it.”

-In other news about meetings: Johnson said Strasburg, catcher Kurt Suzuki, pitching coach Steve McCatty and bench coach Randy Knorr put in extra hours at Marlins Park with “an old-fashioned sitdown” after Strasburg’s rough outing Tuesday night. Johnson said they just wanted to hash out what went wrong for Strasburg as he surrendered a career-high seven runs — five of them earned.

Afterward, Johnson said, McCatty texted Strasburg to check out what happened to Tigers ace Justin Verlander on Tuesday night. In line score form, this is what happened: 5 2/3 IP, 12 H, 8 R, 8 ER. Nobody’s perfect.

-If you missed it, the Arizona Fall League rosters were announced today. INF Anthony Rendon, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 Draft, will be playing for the Salt River Rafters. He’ll be joined by OF Brian Goodwin, INF Jason Martinson, right-handed pitchers Paul Demney, Christian Garcia, Ryan Perry and a pitcher and infielder TBA.

As for tonight’s lineups…

Marlins (59-71)
Gorkys Hernandez CF
Donovan Solano 2B
Jose Reyes SS
Carlos Lee 1B
Giancarlo Stanton RF
Justin Ruggiano CF
John Buck C
Donnie Murphy 3B
Jacob Turner RHP

Nationals (77-51)
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Ross Detwiler LHP

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