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Headlines hiding Nationals' woes

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- The past two Washington Nationals games against the Los Angeles Angels have drawn national attention, with young outfield stars Bryce Harper and Mike Trout facing each other for the first time Monday and Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hitting his 500th homer Tuesday against the Nationals.

Those headlines are masking a team hitting slump for the Nationals, who had three hits Tuesday for the second day in a row. Harper is in a funk again with one hit in his last 10 at bats. Right fielder Jayson Werth, after a fast start, is two for his last 19.

And the Nationals have lost their five games at home to the Angels and have lost eight of their last 12 overall.

Pujols went deep twice against young Taylor Jordan, 25, who may be looking a trip back to Triple-A Syracuse if things don't turn around.

"You make mistakes to somebody like Albert, you're going to pay for it," said Nationals manager Matt Williams. "He's been doing that for a long, long time. First pitch he hit over the fence was a hanging offspeed pitch, which he's paid to do. The second time, he got a ball up again. I think for Taylor, it's just been balls up in the strike zone. That's an example tonight. Albert's a professional hitter, like we talked about yesterday. He's one of the best of his generation. That's what he does, he makes pitchers pay for balls that are left up. He did that today."

Veteran starter Doug Fister appears to be about 15 days away from returning to the big league club as he works back from a right lat strain. And young Taylor Hill is pitching well for Syracuse.

The Nationals have developed some good arms in the minor league system, only to see some of them fare less than superb once they get to the big leagues. Last year, one of them was Nathan Karns, who made three starts and was traded prior to this season.
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