Aug 6, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT
It’s a new day in D.C., and the Nationals can only hope that means a reversal of fortunes after last night’s debacle. There was one roster move made earlier today: Aaron Barrett, who didn’t surrender a run in July but gave up the decisive runs last night on a throwing error, was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse. Blake Treinen, who tossed 12 scoreless innings in the minors after his demotion earlier this summer, was recalled. Matt Williams also suggested he would be holding a team meeting before today’s game. We’ll see what details emerge from that.
Meanwhile, Joe Ross takes the mound for the series finale against the Diamondbacks. The rookie has pitched quite well in his first six career starts, but this could be his last appearance up here for awhile if he winds up getting demoted upon Stephen Strasburg’s return from the DL.
Ian Desmond is back in the lineup after getting last night off, but Ryan Zimmerman gets today off. It’s Clint Robinson starting at first base and batting cleanup behind Bryce Harper. Updates to come, so please check back…
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183
Weather: Chance of rain late, 77 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from CF
3B Yunel Escobar
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Clint Robinson
LF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
CF Michael Taylor
RHP Joe Ross
CF Ender Inciarte CF
SS Cliff Pennington
LF David Peralta
3B Jake Lamb
2B Aaron Hill
1B Jarrod Saltalamacchia
RF Yasmany Tomas
C Oscar Hernandez
RHP Jeremy Hellickson
HP Tripp Gibson
1B Brian Gorman (cc)
2B Mark Carlson
3B Gabe Morales
4:06 p.m. — And we’re underway with overcast skies above. No rain yet, hopefully it holds off.
4:25 p.m. — A scoreless first inning in the books for both Joe Ross and Jeremy Hellickson. The D’backs did hit the ball hard off him in the top of the inning but had one single to show for it. Bryce Harper drew a 2-out walk in the bottom of the inning, but Clint Robinson grounded directly into Arizona’s shift.
4:42 p.m. — Jayson Werth just missed sending one out over the center-field fence to lead off the bottom of the second. No matter, because Ian Desmond followed on the very next pitch, crushing a changeup from Jeremy Hellickson over the left-field bullpen for his 12th homer of the season. That’s a nice sign after Desmond’s day off. It’s 1-0 Nats after two.
5:12 p.m. — That was a strange bottom of the third. It saw Escobar foul a ball off his foot, take a long time to get back in the box and then get drilled on the next pitch by Hellickson. Then it saw Rendon and Harper draw walks, loading the bases with one out for Robinson, who worked the count full before taking a fastball that appeared to be considerably outside but was called strike three by Tripp Gibson. So now it was up to Werth with the bases loaded and two out. Werth grounded to third, then managed to beat the throw by sliding headfirst into first base. Except the D’backs challenged the call and very quickly were proven right. So the Nats get nothing out of that inning and still lead 1-0.
5:40 p.m. — Make it 2-0 after four thanks to another ball smoked left field by Desmond, this one off the wall for a leadoff double. Ramos followed with a single up the middle, putting Desmond in position to score on Taylor’s slow roller to second. That’s 46 RBI now for Taylor, second-most on the roster behind Harper. Pretty impressive. Not impressive: The pace of today’s game. It just took 1 hour, 35 minutes to play four innings of a 2-0 game. Sheesh.
6:11 p.m. — Before the game, Matt Williams said he wants his guys to be more aggressive, doing things like taking an extra base on a ball in the dirt. Well, they did just that in the bottom of the fifth, setting the stage for two more runs to score. Harper, who singled to get things started, took second on a passed ball. Then Werth reached on a strikeout-wild pitch, with Harper taking third (and briefly thinking about going for the plate). All of that set up Ramos’ 2-out, 2-run single to left, leaving Wilson 5 for his last 7 and putting the Nats up 4-1 after five.
6:39 p.m. — It’s still 4-1 after the sixth inning, though the Nats did threaten against D’Backs reliever Allen Webster. He walked both Rendon and Harper with one out, but escaped when Robinson flew out and Werth grounded into a forceout at second. Casey Janssen will now pitch the seventh. Ross’ day is done, here is his final line: 6 IP, 5 H, ER, HR, 7 SO, 0 BB. He threw 89 pitches. His season ERA through seven starts is 2.80.
7:12 p.m. — Both teams scored in the seventh inning, as this game is now 5-3 with Drew Storen coming in to pitch the eighth. The D’Backs got their two runs off Janssen. He started his outing by walking Saltalamacchia and giving up back-to-back singles to Tomas and Castillo. Inciarte then doubled down the first base line one out later to score two. The Nats got their run on a double off the center field wall by Ryan Zimmerman, who pinch-hit for Matt Thornton. Thornton replaced Janssen to get the second and third outs. Zim’s hit scored Taylor, who was hit by a pitch and stole second base.
7:32 p.m. — The D’Backs made it interesting in the seventh, but the Nats got some insurance runs in the eighth thanks to Robinson’s fifth homer of the season. Rendon and Harper led off with singles before Robinson smoked a line drive over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. It’s now 8-3 Nats with Blake Treinen coming in to pitch the ninth.
7:41 p.m. — Blake Treinen closes the 9th with three Ks. Nats win and move to 56-51 on the season.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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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)...
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