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Posted at 08:24 PM ET, 07/18/2011

Game 96 discussion thread: Nationals at Astros

The Nationals bullpen has thrown 241 pitches in 14 innings over the past three days, including 6 2/3 innings and 123 pitches yesterday. Manager Davey Johnson used one word to describe it before today’s game. “Shambles,” he said.

Today, Johnson said, he won’t use Tyler Clippard, Henry Rodriguez or Ryan Mattheus, and if possible he’ll stay away from Sean Burnett, too. The Nationals need a strong, durable performance from starter Jason Marquis with a tattered relief corps. If not, Johnson said he would not be against using a position player in an emergency or a blowout – and he said Rick Ankiel, a former pitcher, might be his pick.

The Nationals begin a six-game stretch with the Astros and Dodgers, two of the worst teams in the National League. The Astros have the worst record in the majors, and so coming off a difficult series with Atlanta they have a chance to get back Sunday’s loss.

Talk about the game right here.

By  |  08:24 PM ET, 07/18/2011

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