Fireballer Henry Rodriguez deals with a bad case of strep throat

The Nationals’ bullpen was one pitcher short against Pittsburgh, but still managed to split Saturday’s doubleheader with seven total pitchers.

Fireballer Henry Rodriguez, who is battling strep throat, carried a bottle of cough medicine and antibiotics out of the Nationals’ clubhouse shortly before Game 1 on Saturday. His status for Sunday’s game is uncertain, although Johnson expects him to return in the rotation on Sunday.

“They gave him a lot of antibiotics a few days ago,” manager Davey Johnson said after the game. “He came in today and he still looked under the weather. He said he couldn’t hardly swallow. He’s a pretty strong kid so I’m look for him to be here tomorrow.”

Johnson didn’t need to go deep into his bullpen during the second game, partly due to John Lannan’s ability to stay on the mound. After giving up two runs through the first three inning, Lannan settled down to last seven inning while allowing six hits and three runs.

“The main thing, it was was a double header,” Lannan said. “The bullpen didn’t work that much in the first game, but I knew had to go as deep as I could.”

The Nationals relied on other relievers Saturday in Rodriguez’s absence. Ryan Mattheus appeared in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, pitching a total of 1 2/3 innings and allowing only two hits. His scoreless eighth inning earned him his first career major league win.

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