Aug 3, 2015, 3:24 PM EDT
Well, that was a fairly eventful road trip the Nationals just completed. Now they open a 7-game homestand against the Diamondbacks and Rockies, desperate to get themselves back on track after getting swept in New York and seeing their lead in the NL East dwindle to percentage points.
The good news: The Nats won’t be facing one of the league’s elite pitchers tonight after a crazy, 2-week stretch against the likes of Kershaw and Greinke and Cole and Harvey and deGrom and Syndergaard. The bad news: Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Godley, tonight’s starter, is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his first two big-league starts. Godley isn’t necessarily a high-profile prospect, and he throws in the 90-mph range, but he has shown good command down in the zone and is able to move the ball both inside and outside. We’ll see how the struggling Nationals lineup deals with that.
Doug Fister, meanwhile, starts for the Nats, coming off an encouraging outing in Miami in which he allowed two runs over six innings, earning the win over the Marlins.
Updates to come, so please check back…
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183
Weather: Mostly clear, 90 degrees, wind 11 mph out to CF
3B Yunel Escobar
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
CF Michael Taylor
RHP Doug Fister
RF Ender Inciarte
CF A.J. Pollack
1B Paul Goldschmidt
LF David Peralta
C Welington Castillo
3B Jake Lamb
2B Aaron Hill
SS Nick Ahmed
RHP Zack Godley
HP Brian Gorman (cc)
1B Mark Carlson
2B Gabe Morales
3B Tripp Gibson
7:05 p.m. — And we’re underway on an 89-degree evening here on South Capitol Street. Doug Fister fires strike one to Ender Inciarte.
7:16 p.m. — A really nice, 1-2-3, 10-pitch top of the first for Fister that included a strikeout of Inciarte and a pair of groundballs to short. That’s much, much more like the Doug Fister we’ve seen in the past. The Nats, meanwhile, hit three balls hard off Zack Godley in the bottom of the first, but all were hit directly at outfielders, so nothing to show for it in a scoreless first.
7:27 p.m. — More good stuff from Fister in the top of the second, with another strikeout and a double-play grounder. He has thrown only 22 pitches. Godley one-upped that, though, striking out the side in the bottom of the inning. 0-0 after two.
7:40 p.m. — Fister made his first mistake of the night in the top of the third, and it cost him. He fell behind Nick Ahmed 3-0, grooved a fastball for strike one, then grooved another that Ahmed clobbered into the left-field bullpen. That wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact Godley has now retired all nine batters he’s faced, four via strikeout. 1-0 Arizona after three.
8:08 p.m. — Hoo-boy, this is not moving in a positive direction. The Diamondbacks belted back-to-back homers off Fister in the top of the fourth, with David Peralta and Welington Castillo doing the honors. That’s now 12 homers allowed by Fister in 84 innings this season. The Nats finally got something going in the bottom of the inning, but Ryan Zimmerman struck out looking at a pitch down the middle with two on and one out, then Ian Desmond grounded out to short on a 3-1 pitch with the bases loaded to end the inning. After going 8-for-12 with the bases loaded last season, Desmond is now 2-for-9 this year. It’s 4-0 Arizona after four, and the fans here are quite restless.
8:37 p.m. — Make it 5-0 after five. This is the fifth time in 15 starts this season in which Fister has allowed at least five runs. He did it only twice in 25 starts last season. Now, the strange part: Matt Williams let him bat in the bottom of the fifth, with one out and a man on first. That’s one that’ll need to be asked about after the game.
Chase taking over for Mark so he can write his game story
9:01 p.m. — The Nationals remain down 5-0 with the top of the seventh inning up next. Fister stayed in the game and allowed a hit, but no runs. The Nats then couldn’t take advantage of Rendon getting on base to lead off. He was hit by a pitch from Godley. Tanner Roark will now take over to pitch the seventh.
9:15 p.m. — No runs to report on from the seventh inning, as the Nats still trail 5-0. Desmond, Ramos and Taylor all grounded out in the bottom half of the inning. Drew Storen will now come in to start the eighth inning.
9:28 p.m. — Still 5-0 as the Nats went down 1-2-3. Jonathan Papelbon will now take over to pitch the ninth.
9:50 p.m. — Nats nearly mount a comeback, but fall short. The final score is 6-4, as the Nationals fall to 54-50 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.
*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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