Dodgers' sweep shows short-handed Nationals have no margin vs. top teams

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Dodgers' sweep shows short-handed Nats have no margin vs. top teams originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Nationals' injury woes caught up to them this weekend as they suffered a four-game sweep at home to the Los Angeles Dodgers

Little rest from a marathon Saturday night game elongated by rain delays surely played a role in Washington's 5-1 loss before a big crowd of 37,000-plus on the Fourth of July.

Saturday, a Yan Gomes three-run home run tied it at 3 before a weather delay, but Los Angeles ultimately won 5-3 in a game that lasted past midnight. Less than 12 hours later, Sunday's annual July 4th 11 a.m. game followed a similar pattern.

Three Max Muncy RBIs helped the Dodgers with a late-game offensive surge. Four of the Dodgers' runs came in the final three innings. 

Following what was an explosive and historic June for Kyle Schwarber, Washington's red-hot outfielder was placed on the 10-day injured list with a "significant" hamstring strain after leaving the second inning of Friday night's 10-5 loss to the defending World Series champion Dodgers. 

After Schwarber's incredible month gave the Nats some momentum to get back up to second in the NL East standings, Washington is now in a sticky situation as the injuries continue to pile up and the schedule is unkind. 

The avalanche of injuries have come at an inopportune time with the next seven games against the San Diego Padres (49-36) and San Francisco Giants (52-30) before the MLB All-Star break. The Padres join the Dodgers in a NL wild-card playoff position while the Giants lead both teams in the NL West. 

Both of catcher / emergency infielder Alex Avila's calves are strained, shortstop Trea Turner has missed three-straight games with a hand injury and a slew of pitchers remain sidelined -- most notably Stephen Strasburg. Suddenly the momentum of a 16-5 run in June has been halted. 

Now 40-42 and tied for second place in the NL East with the Atlanta Braves, both are four games behind the first-place New York Mets.