Aug 7, 2015, 3:34 PM EST
The Nationals open a 3-game weekend series tonight against the Rockies, hoping to build off the momentum of yesterday’s 8-3 trouncing of the Diamondbacks and keep themselves on an upward track. To do that, they’ll need Jordan Zimmermann to keep a potent Colorado lineup in check.
The Rockies lead the NL in runs, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS this season, though obviously some of that can be attributed to home games at Coors Field. Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado, however, are dangerous bats no matter the location.
Colorado’s pitching staff, on the other hand, is a different story, ranking last in the NL in ERA, homers, walks and strikeouts. Lefty Jorge De La Rosa starts tonight’s opener; he owns a 7.71 ERA over his last three starts.
Updates to come…
COLORADO ROCKIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from CF
3B Yunel Escobar
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
CF Michael Taylor
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
CF Charlie Blackmon
SS Jose Reyes
3B Nolan Arenado
RF Carlos Gonzalez
2B D.J. LeMahieu
1B Ben Paulsen
C Nick Hundley
LF Kyle Parker
LHP Jorge De La Rosa
HP Jeff Kellogg (cc)
1B Brian O’Nora
2B Alan Porter
3B Mark Ripperger
7:05 p.m. — And we’re underway on an overcast, actually kind of cool August night here. It’s 81 degrees as Jordan Zimmermann delivers his first pitch to Charlie Blackmon.
7:27 p.m. — And the Nats jump out to a 1-0 lead after one inning. For that, they can thank Danny Espinosa, who doubled into the left-field corner and then took third when Kyle Parker let the ball scoot through his legs. That set things up for Bryce Harper to drive in Espinosa with a grounder to second. That’s Harper’s 69th RBI of the season and it puts the Nats up early.
7:42 p.m. — Two innings down and Zimmermann has looked sharp. After needing 21 pitches in the top of the first, he retired the side in the second on only 10 pitches. The Nats also went down in order in the second, though it required a fantastic, barehanded charging play at third base by Nolan Arenado to get Michael Taylor at first. Mercy, what a play by the defensively gifted Arenado. Still 1-0 Nats after two.
7:55 p.m. — Still 1-0 after three. Zimmermann managed to beat out a slow roller to third to lead off the bottom of the third, but he was quickly erased when Escobar grounded into a double play. Not good. On the mound, Zimmermann has three strikeouts and only one hit surrendered so far. He’s looked good.
8:15 p.m. — Some serious speed by Harper racing around the bases to score on Zimmerman’s double to right-center in the bottom of the fourth. Let’s just say he ran quite a bit faster than a certain sideline reporter who may have “competed” in the Presidents Race tonight. Harper had a great at-bat, singling to left off the lefty. Then Zim smoked a liner to the gap in right-center. It’s 2-0 Nats after four.
8:29 p.m. — Five innings down, and Zimmermann has allowed only two singles, nothing else. He has been very good. To the sixth we go…
Chase here taking over for Mark as he writes his game story
8:59 p.m. — The Nationals added two more runs in the sixth to make it a 4-0 game. Espinosa got the rally started on an infield single and Harper followed with a walk. Zimmerman advanced both runners on a groundout to second base. Werth then brought Espinosa home on a sac fly to deep center field and Desmond followed that with a double to left field to score Harper. Zimmermann will go back out there to pitch the seventh with 89 pitches so far.
9:36 p.m. — The Rockies got on the board to make it a 4-1 game in the seventh thanks to an RBI single by Paulsen. He brought home Arenado, who led off with a double to right-center field. The Nats loaded the bases before Zimmerman grounded into a forceout to end the inning. Drew Storen will now come in to pitch the eighth.
10:02 p.m. — The eighth inning was not a good one for the Nats, as they now trail the Rockies 5-4. Storen got into major trouble and it began with a familiar foe. Daniel Descalso pinch-hit and led off with a walk. Reyes singled two batters later and Arenado followed that with an infield single. CarGo then smoked a high fastball from Storen to right field for a grand slam. The ball pelted off the back wall of the Nats’ bullpen, a no-doubter. The Nats were able to get Desmond all the way to third after he worked a one-out walk, but Taylor struck out swinging to end the frame. Felipe Rivero will now pitch the top of the ninth.
10:24 p.m. — Harper strikes out against Tommy Kahnle and this one’s over, Rockies win 5-4. Nats fall to 56-52 on the year.
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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