Jun 4, 2015, 3:03 PM EDT
Losers of six of their last eight, the Nationals will try to get back on track against the Chicago Cubs in a four-game series beginning Thursday night. The Nats took two of three in Chicago just two weeks ago, now they meet again.
Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 4.73) will get the start for Washington in his 11th outing of the season. He gave up four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds his last time out.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta (4-4, 3.18) will pitch for Chicago. He last faced the Nationals on July 6 of 2014. That day he gave up one run in six innings, but took a no-decision as the Nats won 2-1.
Anthony Rendon was activated off the disabled list this afternoon and will make his 2015 debut after missing the first third of the season.
Updates to come…
CHICAGO CUBS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 89
Weather: Chance of rain, 64 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
LF Michael Taylor
LHP Gio Gonzalez
CF Dexter Fowler
3B Kris Bryant
1B Jake Arrieta
RF Junior Lake
SS Starlin Castro
LF Matt Szczur
C David Ross
RHP Jake Arrieta
2B Addison Russell
HP Gabe Morales
1B Rob Drake
2B Joe West (cc)
3B Kerwin Danley
8:27 pm. — They are hoping to start this one at about 8:55 p.m. after the rain delay.
8:57 p.m. — First pitch from Gio was at 8:56 p.m. and we are underway after a delay of one hour and 51 minutes.
9:25 p.m. — The Nationals find themselves down 2-0 after the first inning thanks to a rocky start by Gio. He threw 32 pitches and walked home a runner after loading the bases before recording an out. Another run came home on a Castro GIDP. The Nats didn’t score, but they did see Rendon get a single in his first at-bat. He went down 0-2 against Arrieta before working a full count and then smacking a single to right field. That’s a good sign. A bad sign, however, was Escobar leaving the game with an apparent injury at the top of the second. Danny Espinosa took over at second base, while Rendon moved to third.
9:40 p.m. — It’s still 2-0 Cubs after both teams went three up, three down in the second. Gio recovered from his awful first inning to strike out the side on just 11 pitches. The Nats put balls in play in all three of their at-bats, but none dropped in.
9:58 p.m. — The game is still stuck at 2-0 after three, as Gio set the Cubs down in order and only Taylor reached for the Nats. He got on with an infield single and stole second with two outs. Span then struck out to end the inning.
10:21 p.m. — Still 2-0 here at Nationals Park. The Cubs got Lake all the way to third after he bunted, went to second on a wild pitch and then stole third. The Nats got Espinosa on with a bunt and the inning ended when he was caught stealing second with two outs. The umps reviewed the play and confirmed it, though replay looked like he may have been safe. Oh well, on to the fifth.
10:44 p.m. — No runs to report on in the fifth inning. Gio allowed a leadoff walk to Russell, but the 21-year-old Cubs infielder was thrown out at home to end the frame. Lobaton doubled with two outs, but Taylor flew out to right field to end the bottom half of the inning. It’s still 2-0, as Gio will remain in the game at 95 pitches.
11:03 p.m. — Gio finished his outing with his fifth consecutive shutout inning, keeping the deficit to 2-0. His final line: six innings, four hits, two earned runs, four walks and six strikeouts on 103 pitches. Then the Nats finally got on the board in the bottom of the frame after Harper’s RBI groundout to make it 2-1. On to the seventh.
11:32 p.m. — Blake Treinen came on in relief and pitched a shutout inning to keep the deficit at 2-1. The Nats had a golden opportunity to score in the bottom half of the inning, but Rendon struck out with two on to end the threat. Still 2-1 heading to the eighth.
11:51 p.m. — The bullpen continues to do the job, as the Nats held the Cubs to a scoreless eighth inning thanks to Matt Thornton and Aaron Barrett. But once again they couldn’t take advantage, as the Cubs shut down the heart of the order to keep it at 2-1.
12:14 a.m. —The Nats had a chance to tie or walk off in the ninth, as Rendon was up with two on and two out. But Clint Robinson was picked off at first base to end the game. Nats drop this one 2-1.
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.
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