Padres 7, Nats 1

That was about as much fun as watching LeBron James eviscerate an entire city on national television. The Nats (38-48) had nothing tonight against Padres starter Mat Latos. The 22-year-old may have been snubbed for the All-Star game – Ryan Zimmerman says hi – but he is pushing himself into the conversation when listing the league’s best pitchers. Check out our game story here for the gory details.

The Nats managed five hits off Latos and minor threats in the second and the seventh. But nothing came of them and in the end they were too far behind in the late innings anyway when Adam Dunn singled home Roger Bernadina. Latos, an Alexandria, Va native who went to high school in Florida, hasn’t allowed a run in 15 innings now.

It doesn’t get much easier as the San Francisco Giants bring their formidable rotation to town on Friday. The Nats won’t even see ace Tim Lincecum (9-4, 3.16 ERA) – a two-time Cy Young winner – and yet the Giants three scheduled starting pitchers have ERAs of 2.98, 3.15 and 2.86. Yikes! It starts with Matt Cain (6-7, 2.98 ERA). At least the Nats get rookie Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.45 ERA) on the mound in the first game.

“Do I look forward to it?” Zimmerman asked in mock horror when asked about that challenge. “No…Actually, that’s why you play at this level, matchups like that, You get excited to meet the challenge.”   


Nats Notes

» Zimmerman  lost out on the final National League All-Star spot in MLB's Final Vote contest. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was voted in by fans across the country. Hard to argue with Votto's numbers, which are even more impressive than Zimmerman's in 2010. And fellow third baseman David Wright (New York Mets) and Scott Rolen (Reds) have been excellent, too, and deserved their spots. But maybe Zimmerman could have taken that "utility" spot that went to Atlanta's Omar Infante? Their numbers aren't close.

» The Nats announced on Thursday they have signed three more 2010 draft picks. Shortstop Rick Hague (Rice), the third-round pick, outfielder Kevin Keyes (Texas), the seventh-round selection, and outfielder Randolph Oduber (Western Oklahoma State), the 32nd rounder, joined the organization. That means 28 of 50 draft picks are on board. But the big ones - No. 1 pick Bryce Harper, an outfielder, No. 2 Sammy Solis, a left-handed pitcher from San Diego, and No. 4 A.J. Cole, a high-schooler from Florida, are still unsigned. Washington has secured six of its top 10 picks and 14 of its top 20 so far.

» Rehabbing Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann made his second successful start as he returns from Tommy John surgery on his elbow last August. Zimmermann went three innings for Single-A Potomac in a Carolina League game against Frederick on Thursday. He gave up just one hit and one hit batter with no walks and no runs. Zimmermann also struck out five Keys batters. The 24-year-old had tossed two scoreless innings against Wilmington last week.

» Bernadina has at least one hit in 10 of his last 12 starts. He is 13-for-42 (.309 batting average) with two doubles, a homer and four RBI during that stretch.

» San Diego starting pitchers did some damage at the plate in this series. They were a combined 5-for-6 with a homer, an RBI and three runs scored. Not good.

» San Diego third baseman Chase Headley batted 3-for-4 on Thursday with a double, a homer, two RBI and two runs scored. He is hitting .361 with three doubles and two homers since June 22.

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