Jul 18, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT
And we’re back for the regularly scheduled portion of today’s sort-of-doubleheader. This contest features Doug Fister on the mound for the Nationals, needing to be in peak form against 3-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.
After Bryce Harper walked three times (twice intentionally) in the first game of the series, Matt Williams has decided to try to offer up some more protection for his star slugger. So it’s Yunel Escobar hitting cleanup in this one. We’ll see if that sways the Dodgers to approach Harper any differently.
It’s a scorching afternoon here in the District. If you’re here in attendance, drink plenty of fluids. If you’re watching from home, enjoy your air conditioning! Updates to come…
LOS ANGELES DODGERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Fox Sports 1, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183
Weather: Humid, 86 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to CF
CF Michael Taylor
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Bryce Harper
3B Yunel Escobar
LF Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
1B Tyler Moore
RHP Doug Fister
CF Joc Pederson
2B Howie Kendrick
3B Justin Turner
1B Adrian Gonzalez
LF Andre Ethier
RF Yasiel Puig
C A.J. Ellis
SS Jimmy Rollins
LHP Clayton Kershaw
HP Adrian Johnson
1B Bill Miller (cc)
2B Doug Eddings
3B Jim Wolf
4:05 p.m. — And we’re underway again…
4:16 p.m. — It was an odd top of the first for Doug Fister. He issued a 4-pitch walk to Joc Pederson to get the game started, highly uncharacteristic. Then he got out of the inning when Pederson tried to steal second and was thrown out by Jose Lobaton. That’s only the fourth attempted steal off Fister the last two years, and only one guy has been successful. Clayton Kershaw, meanwhile, was utterly dominant in the bottom of the first, striking out both Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper.
4:38 p.m. — The Dodgers made some pretty solid contact off Fister in the top of the second. The right-hander managed to limit the damage to one run, thanks in part to a 5-4-3 double play started by Yunel Escobar and a strikeout of Jimmy Rollins with a man on third and two out. The Nats, meanwhile, got their first baserunner off Kershaw — Clint Robinson, of all people, singled up the middle — but that’s all they’ve got through two innings. L.A. up 1-0 heading to the third.
4:56 p.m. — The Dodgers continue to hit Fister hard, but they’ve managed only the one run so far through three innings. The Nats, meanwhile, have put only 2-of-10 batters on base vs. Kershaw. Naturally, the two guys to get hits off him are the left-handed-hitting Robinson and Fister. Go figure. Still 1-0 Dodgers after three.
5:13 p.m. — Four innings down, and Kershaw has eight strikeouts. He has looked unhittable for the most part, including on a pair of strikeouts of Harper (now 1-for-8 in his career against the lefty, though the one was a home run). Fister keeps giving up hard-hit balls (three to the warning track in the last two innings alone) but has kept it a 1-0 game so far as we move to the fifth.
5:35 p.m. — You just sensed Fister couldn’t keep living this dangerously without suffering more damage. Sure enough, the Dodgers got him for three runs in the top of the fifth amid a parade of singles. So he’s done after five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits. Taylor Jordan, called up from Syracuse to be the 26th man for this game, is entering from the bullpen for the sixth. Oh, and Kershaw now has 10 strikeouts, with the Dodgers leading 4-0.
5:49 p.m. — This just in: Clayton Kershaw is really good. He has 12 strikeouts through six innings, exactly two in every inning so far. He has struck out Harper three times. Actually, the only member of the lineup who has avoided a K is Jose Lobaton, who has hit two groundballs. Still 4-0 after six.
6:08 p.m. — Make it 14 strikeouts for Kershaw through seven innings. That’s the most ever by an opposing pitcher vs. the Nats since the franchise arrived in town in 2005. And he’s still got perhaps two more innings in him today. To the eighth, still 4-0 L.A.
6:20 p.m. — In the Dept. of Silver Linings: Kershaw didn’t strike out anybody in the eighth. He recorded three groundouts. So we’ll go to the ninth, with the lefty having tossed a 3-hitter, striking out 14 and not walking anybody. Still 4-0.
6:31 p.m. — Uh oh, Danny Espinosa hurt himself diving for a hard grounder to his left in the top of the ninth and walked off the field very gingerly with a trainer, his left leg apparently injured. Stay tuned for updates postgame.
6:48 p.m. — That’s your ballgame. Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the ninth, so Kershaw finished with 8 scoreless innings, striking out 14 without walking a batter. Bryce Harper, though, launched a 2-run homer into the second deck, making the deficit only 4-2. That’s where it remained as the Nats split this sort-of doubleheader.
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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