May 12, 2015, 6:13 PM EDT
PHOENIX — Score 11 runs, 10 of them in the first two innings, why change anything? The Nationals certainly aren’t, so it’s the exact same lineup for tonight’s second game of this series against the Diamondbacks, with Denard Span, Yunel Escobar, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Co. looking to keep things rolling and secure this team’s sixth straight victory.
Stephen Strasburg is back on the mound, making his first start since that bout of shoulder blade discomfort disrupted his previous outing one week ago. Strasburg received a chiropractic adjustment the next day and he has insisted since he feels great. We’ll have to watch him closely, of course, during the first inning or two tonight to see if there are any lingering issues.
Rubby De La Rosa starts for the D’backs. It’s the right-hander’s 35th career big-league start, his 51st career appearance, but his first-ever against the Nationals.
Updates to come…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix
Gametime: 9:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, XM 869
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 19 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
3B Yunel Escobar
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Stephen Strasburg
CF Ender Inciarte
RF Mark Trumbo
1B Paul Goldschmidt
LF David Peralta
3B Aaron Hill
2B Chris Owings
C Tuffy Gosewisch
SS Nick Ahmed
RHP Rubby De La Rosa
HP Kerwin Danley
1B Rob Drake
2B Gabe Morales
3B Joe West (cc)
9:40 p.m. — And we’re underway. It’s a little cooler tonight, only 89 degrees, with some wind blowing. Though with the big panels in the outfield closed, the ball may not carry as much as it did last night.
10:00 p.m. — A shaky bottom of the first for Stephen Strasburg, who got two quick outs but then walked Paul Goldschmidt and then gave up back-to-back hits to David Peralta and Aaron Hill. Both hits came on fastballs, with Hill roping a 2-run double to right-center. Strasburg’s velocity (95-97 mph) was fine. His fastball location, however, wasn’t great. And so it’s 2-0 D’backs after one inning that required 26 pitches from Strasburg.
10:23 p.m. — Scary moment here in the bottom of the second as Kerwin Danley took a Nick Ahmed foul tip directly off his facemask, leaving the veteran umpire visibly dazed. He wound up leaving the game (the wise decision), with Gabe Morales taking over behind the plate and a 3-man crew now calling the game. That led to an 8-minute delay in the middle of the inning, but Strasburg worked his way around it all, retiring the side on 12 pitches. The Nats, meanwhile, got a double from Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the second but saw Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond robbed by D’backs defenders. Still 2-0 Arizona after two.
11:05 p.m. — Oh man, this was not a good night for Strasburg. He was rocked for eight runs (seven earned) in only 3 1/3 innings, getting hit hard, capped by Mark Trumbo’s 3-run blast off a changeup in the bottom of the fourth. He also didn’t help himself booting a sac bunt attempt, leading to an unearned run. It’s not a question of velocity right now, it’s a matter of mechanics and command. And it’s not pretty. Strasburg’s updated season numbers: 6.00 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 50 hits allowed in 36 innings. And he’s reached the seventh inning only once in seven starts. Nats down 8-2 after four.
11:30 p.m. — It’s becoming that kind of night for the Nats. Sammy Solis intentionally walked No. 8 hitter Nick Ahmed to load the bases for Rubby De La Rosa in the bottom of the fifth … and then proceeded to give up an RBI single to the opposing pitcher. So it’s now 10-2 D’backs after five ugly innings.
11:57 p.m. — And it keeps getting worse. Solis and Matt Grace combined to give up four more runs in the bottom of the sixth. That more than made up for Bryce Harper’s 2-run homer in the top of the inning, which was still quite impressive in its own. Harper lunged at a pitch down and away, didn’t even take a full follow-through on his swing and somehow pulled the ball 380 feet to right-center field. Stunning. It’s his 12th homer of the season, his seventh in six games. But it means little tonight, because the Nats are trailing 14-4 after six innings.
12:08 a.m. — Hey, the Nats made it through an inning without giving up a run! A clean bottom of the seventh for Aaron Barrett, keeping the deficit at 14-4.
12:21 a.m. — Holy cow, Clint Robinson is pitching the bottom of the eighth! This is, I’m 99 percent positive, the first-ever position player to pitch for the Nationals.
12:25 a.m. — And Robinson tosses a scoreless inning of relief! He did give up a leadoff single but struck out Aaron Hill and got two more outs, featuring an 81-mph fastball and some kind of offspeed pitch that registered in the low 70s. The Nats dugout loved it.
12:39 a.m. — Anyways, this game is over. Nats lose 14-6 after scoring twice in the top of the ninth. Back at it tomorrow afternoon.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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