Jun 17, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT
So, when you score 16 runs on a club-record 23 hits, what do you do for an encore? We’ll find out tonight when the Nationals-Rays series shifts to D.C. after a pair of games in St. Petersburg. The Nats will be hoping to carry over some momentum from last night’s offensive onslaught, and they’ll be doing so against a different pitcher than originally announced.
The Rays actually will start right-handed reliever Steve Geltz, not scheduled starter Matt Andriese. Though Andriese will pitch out of the bullpen in the game. Don’t ask me, I’m just the messenger.
As for the Nationals’ lineup, it’s a little different today. With the DH no longer available, somebody had to take a seat. For tonight, that will be Denard Span, who gets a chance to rest his legs. Michael Taylor shifts to center field, with Clint Robinson in left field (and batting cleanup) and Danny Espinosa at first base (batting fifth). Wilson Ramos also gets the night off, so it’s Jose Lobaton behind the plate catching Jordan Zimmermann.
Plenty of updates to come from the ballpark (including, unfortunately, some weather updates given the forecast of intermittent rain). So please check back often…
TAMPA BAY RAYS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, ESPN2 (outside D.C. market), MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183
Weather: Chance of rain, 82 degrees, Wind 6 mph RF to LF
3B Yunel Escobar
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
LF Clint Robinson
1B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
CF Michael Taylor
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
CF Kevin Kiermaier
1B Jake Elmore
3B Evan Longoria
LF David DeJesus
2B Logan Forsythe
RF Steven Souza Jr.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
C Curt Casali
RHP Steve Geltz
HP Paul Schrieber
1B Fieldin Culbreth (cc)
2B Jim Reynolds
3B Manny Gonzalez
7:08 p.m. — And we’re underway under gray but dry skies. There was some rain earlier during BP but it’s dry for now as Jordan Zimmermann throws strike one to Kevin Kiermaier.
7:20 p.m. — That was a dominant top of the first for Zimmermann, who retired the side on 13 pitches. He struck out Kiermaier looking at fastball, struck out Jake Elmore swinging at a slider and got Evan Longoria to tap a comebacker to the mound. Nice way to get this one started. The Nats didn’t do much of anything in the bottom of the first against Steve Geltz, who caught Bryce Harper looking at a tough, 94 mph fastball to end that inning.
7:33 p.m. — Props to the crowd here for giving Steven Souza Jr. a really nice ovation as he stepped to the plate at Nationals Park for the first time since his no-hitter-saving catch on the final day of the 2014 regular season. And then props to Souza for breaking up Zimmermann’s no-hitter with a solid single to left. Asdrubal Cabrera also got some applause when he came up to bat, though not to the extent Souza got. (David DeJesus, an all-time Nats great, got zero response from the crowd. What’s up with that, folks?) Scoreless through two innings.
7:45 p.m. — Well, now we understand what the Rays were doing. After two scoreless from Geltz, they sent up a pinch-hitter (Herndon’s Brandon Guyer) in the top of the third. An interesting idea, except Guyer ruined it by grounding into a double play. Matt Andriese, though, entered for the bottom of the third and retired the side. So Johnny Wholestaff has a perfect game going here.
8:00 p.m. — Not anymore, though, after Bryce Harper singled with two outs in the fourth. That’s all the Nats have been able to muster so far, though. It’s still 0-0 after four.
8:25 p.m. — Uh-oh, Steven Souza wreaking havoc on his old team. He already singled earlier, then made a sliding catch in foul territory, and now he crushed a homer off Zimmermann to lead off the fifth. Making matters worse, Curt Casali followed with his first career homer. So it’s suddenly 2-0 Rays after two.
Chase taking over for Mark while he writes his game story
8:49 p.m. — The Rays added another run in the sixth inning to make it a 3-0 game. The rally started with a one-out single to center by Longoria. He then moved to third on a DeJesus single to right. Forsythe then hit a groundball to Desmond, that he bobbled to earn his 15th error of the season. He had a decent shot at a double play, but couldn’t handle the ball in time to tag second. The Nats then went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
9:08 p.m. — The Rays nearly scored another run in the top of the seventh in a rally started by a Casali walk. He moved all the way to third before Elmore struck out to end the frame. That ended Zimmermann’s day after seven innings and 105 pitches. Blake Treinen will take over to start the eighth after the Nats’ offense went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
9:55 p.m. — After a 27-minute rain delay, the Nats and Rays resumed in the eighth inning only to see both teams fail to add anything to the scoreboard. It’s still 5-0 Rays as Casey Janssen will pitch the ninth.
10:11 p.m. — Nats go down 1-2-3 in the ninth and this one is over. Rays win 5-0 to drop the Nationals to 34-32 on the season.
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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