It got to a point where manager Manny Acta had to sit Dukes down for three games in the past week because of his slump. Part of the problem is Dukes is pulling the ball too much and not taking it to right field. It doesn't help that opposing pitchers are jamming him all the time.
"He is going to be fine," Acta said. "Guys go through ups and downs. He is a very talented guy. Even Ryan Zimmerman has gone through a slump. Elijah will bounce back. He is too talented. He is not going to stay this way."
Dukes was not available for comment.
Look for Dukes to see a lot of playing time in the three-game series against the Orioles. He will play right field, while Adam Dunn is expected to be the designated hitter.Pitching matchup
WSH: LHP Ross Detwiler (0-3, 4.76 ERA)
In his seventh start, Detwiler was oh-so-close to earning his first career win, but the bullpen could not hold the two-run lead the Nationals had when the southpaw exited Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. But as Detwiler said after the game, "It's a win for the team, so you can't go wrong with that." Detwiler was integral in that win, tossing seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs. He was locating his fastball and changeup and only walked one batter after giving away five free passes the previous game. BAL: RHP Brad Bergesen (4-2, 3.94 ERA)
Bergesen pitched six scoreless innings against the Phillies on Saturday before tiring and giving up four runs in the seventh. The Orioles came back to win and get him off the hook, so Bergesen still hasn't lost since May 19. He's 3-0 in his past five starts with a 2.35 ERA, allowing just 33 baserunners in 38 1/3 innings. He didn't walk a batter in his last start and has not issued a walk in four of his past six starts. Tidbits
The Nationals drew 125,032 fans during the three-game series against the Red Sox. ... Josh Willingham is hitting .359 (12-for-39) with three home runs and seven RBIs in his past 14 games. ... Washington is 25-20 against American League teams since the 2005 season. .... Josh Bard is 16-for-42 (.359) in his past 15 games. Tickets
Buy tickets now to catch the game in person. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
MASN 2 HD On radio
WFED 1500, SBN 1390 (Español), ESPN 730 (Sp.) Up next
Saturday: Nationals (Shairon Martis, 5-2, 5.13) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 5-7, 5.09), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Nationals (John Lannan, 4-5, 3.44) at Orioles (Koji Uehara, 2-4, 4.05), 1:35 p.m. ET
Monday: Nationals (Craig Stammen, 1-3, 5.49) at Marlins (Ricky Nolasco, 4-6, 6.42), 7:10 p.m. ET
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.