Aug 5, 2015, 3:32 PM EDT
If you add up their last nine offensive innings (beginning with the bottom of the ninth Monday night), the Nationals have scored nine runs on 14 hits against Diamondbacks pitching. That’s a potentially encouraging development for this struggling lineup, though we’ll see if it carries over into tonight’s game.
One significant change to that lineup, one many have been wondering about for quite some time: Danny Espinosa is starting at shortstop, with the once-again-slumping Ian Desmond on the bench. It’s Espinosa’s first start since July 26. We’ll have to wait and see if this is a one-time thing or something more than that.
Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the Nationals, on the heels of a rough start in New York. He’ll try to get back on track and try to lead this team to its second straight win over Arizona.
Updates to come…
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183
Weather: Clear, 88 degrees, Wind 9 mph LF to RF
3B Yunel Escobar
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Jayson Werth
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
CF Michael Taylor
LHP Gio Gonzalez
LF Ender Inciarte
CF A.J. Pollock
1B Paul Goldschmidt
C Welington Castillo
3B Aaron Hill
RF Yasmany Tomas
2B Chris Owings
SS Nick Ahmed
RHP Rubby De La Rosa
HP Gabe Morales
1B Tripp Gibson
2B Brian Gorman (cc)
3B Mark Carlson
7:06 p.m. — And we’re underway with a festive crowd in attendance for Jayson Werth Chia Pet Night.
7:35 p.m. — For the second straight night, the Nats do some damage in the bottom of the first. They got three runs last night and made Patrick Corbin throw 36 pitches. Now they got two runs and made Rubby De La Rosa throw 29 pitches tonight. The rally included another ball scorched to center field by Yunel Escobar, this time for a double, walks by Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper and then back-to-back sac flies to right by Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. Put it all together, and you’ve got a 2-0 Nats lead after one.
7:58 p.m. — This one isn’t exactly speeding along so far, with Gonzalez and De La Rosa taking their sweet old time on the mound. Gio got in a jam in the top of the second but battled out of it by striking out three in a row. His pitch count sits at 40 after only two innings. De La Rosa, meanwhile, is at 45 pitches. Still 2-0 Nats.
8:30 p.m. — Hey, we’re already through three innings here! It’s 2-1 Nats after the D’backs plated a run off Gonzalez in the top of the third. I’m not saying this game is dragging, but a Yankees-Red Sox nationally televised contest is already in the middle of the fifth!
8:41 p.m. — Still 2-1 after four. At least that inning moved quickly. Meanwhile, down in Miami, the Mets have taken a 7-0 lead. They will lose again before this season is over, folks. Promise.
9:11 p.m. — It hasn’t been a work of art, but Gio Gonzalez is through five innings allowing just one run on seven hits. He has done that by making some really big pitches when he needs to, including back-to-back strikeouts of Welington Castillo and Aaron Hill on inside fastballs with runners on second and third in the top of the fifth. In fact, all seven of Gio’s strikeouts have come with men in scoring position. That’s pretty impressive. Both pitchers have labored, but this remains a 2-1 game after five innings that took 2 hours, 5 minutes to complete.
Chase here taking over for Mark while he writes his game story
9:53 p.m. — The Diamondbacks took the lead in the top of the sixth thanks to a disastrous outing for Aaron Barrett. Barrett replaced Gio after one batter, as Gonzalez allowed a leadoff single to Tomas. Barrett then gave up a single to Owings. Ahmed tried to bunt the runners over and got a lot more than he was hoping for. Barrett fielded the ball and sailed it past Zimmerman at first. That scored two runs and gave Arizona a 3-2 lead. Barrett would give up two more singles, including an RBI hit to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, before Tanner Roark was brought in. Roark gave up a pair of walks, one to to Castillo to load the bases and then another to Hill to score a run. It’s now 5-2 D’Backs with the seventh up next. Roark will stay in.
10:13 p.m. — There were no runs in the seventh inning, but the Nationals did have a good chance to cut into the lead with runners on the corners and two outs. That situation was set up by a Escobar single to right field after a pinch-hitting Clint Robinson reached on a fielder’s choice. Rendon came up with a chance to tie the game or at least get close, but he struck out swinging to Addison Reed. It’s still 5-2 D’Backs as Matt Thornton will come in to pitch the eighth.
10:32 p.m. — It was not a good eighth inning for the Nats. Thornton gave up a leadoff triple to Inciarte and walked Goldschmidt before Castillo drove both in on a three-run bomb to center field. That made the score 8-2 and the Nats did nothing to help their cause in the bottom half of the inning. Harper, Zimmerman and Werth all struck out to Oliver Perez. On to the ninth as Felipe Rivero will take over.
10:55 p.m. — Yeesh. Make that 11-2 Diamondbacks. Rivero began his inning by hitting Owings with a pitch. He then gave up back-to-back singles one out later to Inciarte and Pennington. Rivero then balked a run home while facing Pollock, who after that scored a second run on an infield single. With the game out of reach, Matt Williams brought Tyler Moore in to pitch. He’s just the second position player to pitch in Nats’ team history. He gave up a run on a groundout by Goldschmidt to make it 11-2. Now the Nats will go out for their final three outs.
11:03 p.m. — That’s it. Nats lose 11-4, have now dropped five of their last six.
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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