Teams remaining in the major leagues without a grand slam. The Nationals became the last team to hit one this season when Brad Wilkerson connected in the eighth inning against the Dodgers on Thursday night.


Next week's series in Houston could be as important as any all year, and the Nationals are already lining up their rotation. Red-hot John Patterson, left, will start the first game of the series, according to pitching coach Randy St. Claire, and if all is right with Livan Hernandez's chronically troublesome knee, he could pitch Wednesday. That would leave Tony Armas Jr. to pitch Thursday's finale on an extra three days of rest -- if Armas's shoulder, which has a slight case of tendinitis, is okay, St. Claire said.


How about a matchup of guys the Texas Rangers didn't want? On June 10, the Nationals claimed Ryan Drese off waivers from Texas. He had a 6.46 ERA with the Rangers; his ERA with Washington is 4.26. The Padres claimed Pedro Astacio later in the month. Astacio's ERA with Texas was 6.04. It is 6.14 with San Diego.