Jake Peavy, the Chiacgo White Sox starter, had his start pushed back this week due to some stiffness in his shoulder.  He was originally scheduled to pitch Friday night against Stephen Strasburg, matching the phemon up against his boyhood pitching idol.

But the soreness meant an extra day of rest, moving his start to Saturday, and his opponent to J.D. Martin, once a prized prospect himself, now trying to stick in a Major League rotation after failing to make the team out of spring training.

What a difference a day makes.

Peavy dominated the Nationals, throwing a complete-game three-hit shut out, and the White Sox beat the Washington Nationals 1-0, before 36,487 at Nationals Park.

The loss is the Nats fifth in a row and have gone just 11-23 since the high mark of the season.  Their overall season record stands at 31-38, fifth in the NL East and 10 games off the lead.

His opponent -- Martin -- was almost as successful against the White Sox hitters, but not quite.  Martin had his best performance in a Nationals uniform, allowing just one run on eight hits and no walks over six innings. 

But one run was enough to seal the Nats doom on the warm, sunny Saturday afternoon.

The prime example of offensive ineffectiveness for the Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against the resurgent Peavy.

Washington was not without chances, however.  Their best chance was in the first, when Nyjer Morgan stroked a clean single up the middle, and Cristian Guzman followed with a bunt single.  Zimmerman struck out swinging, Adam Dunn flied out to center, and after a double steal, Josh Willingham flied to center himself.

It was the last time all day the Nats would get a runner to third.

The team went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and heart of the order bore the brunt.  Zimmerman left three runners on, Dunn (0-for-3, intentional walk) left two, and Josh Willingham (0-for-4) left four runners stranded for the day.

Willingham is mired in a deep slump, epitomizing the entire Nationals offense.  Hot early, but since June 1, "The Hammer" is hitting .214/.308/.339 with two home runs and just five RBIs over 66 plate appearances.

Washington's record in that period is, not coincidentally, 5-11.

The Nats offense has too many holes elsewhere to survive an extended slump from one of the "Big Three", and Washington needs to figure out how to get Willingham hot again.

THE GOOD:  J.D. Martin.  His best big league start goes to waste.  Six strikeouts is his MLB-high.  Martin has made three good starts since his recall and one poor one, last weekend in Cleveland. Martin has been very efficient, striking out 18 and walking just one over 25 1/3 innings.

Manager Jim Riggleman said today, "Maybe we made the wrong decision to begin with," when asked about Martin's return to the rotation.

Also, the bullpen, made up of Sean Burnett, Miguel Batista and Tyler Walker, went three innings, allowing just one hit and one walk.

THE BAD:  Middle of the order.  Combined to go 0-for-14 with one intentional walk.

THE UGLY:  Zimmerman.  Any time a player goes for the Golden Sombrero (four Ks), he'll get listed here.  Seemed to guess at a couple of the breaking balls and watched fastballs go by.

NEXT GAME:  Today at 1:35 pm.  John Lannan (2-4, 5.45) hopes to put the struggles of his last couple of performances behind him.  He faces Freddie Garcia (7-3, 4.94), resurrecting his career after several seasons of arm troubles.