Aug 22, 2015, 3:23 PM EDT
The sky is blue, the humidity is low, it’s a gorgeous Saturday in the District of Columbia, and there’s a ballgame to be played tonight. Can’t complain about that, right?
OK, so there’s plenty to complain about right now as it pertains to the Nationals, who after dropping last night’s series opener to the Brewers in unsightly fashion are back below the .500 mark and trailing the Mets by a season-high 5 games. But today is a new day, and perhaps today is the day when things come together and this team wins a ballgame and gives everyone even more reason to enjoy the beautiful weather.
Yunel Escobar, as expected, is out of the lineup after hyperextending his neck on that collision with the wall and a fan down the third-base line last night. Anthony Rendon returns to third base and takes over in the leadoff spot, with Danny Espinosa batting second and playing second. Jayson Werth, meanwhile, gets the night off, replaced in left field by Clint Robinson. Trea Turner remains on the bench. [UPDATE: Werth actually is in the lineup now, leading off.]
We’ve got a good matchup of impressive rookie right-handers, with Joe Ross and Taylor Jungmann taking the mound. Updates to come throughout, so please check back often…
MILWAUKEE BREWERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 185
Weather: Clear, 81 degrees, Wind 7 mph in CF
LF Jayson Werth
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
CF Michael Taylor
RHP Joe Ross
CF Shane Peterson
C Jonathan Lucroy
RF Ryan Braun
1B Adam Lind
LF Khris Davis
2B Scooter Gennett
SS Jean Segura
3B Elian Herrera
RHP Taylor Jungmann
HP Clint Fagan
1B Rob Drake
2B D.J. Reyburn
3B Joe West (cc)
7:06 p.m. — We are underway on an absolutely gorgeous Saturday night in the District.
7:29 p.m. — Oh man, the Nats were stone-cold robbed of a potential big bottom of the first by Shane Peterson, the Brewers center fielder who made one of the best plays of the year. The Nats had two on and nobody out for Bryce Harper after Jayson Werth singled up the middle and Anthony Rendon drew a walk. Harper smoked a line drive to the left of center field, really tagged it on the screws, but Peterson made an incredible diving catch. Werth actually made an astute play to get back to second base and tag up, but then Peterson fired a perfect throw to third to nail a stunned Werth. That was an amazing play, and it leaves this game scoreless after one.
7:49 p.m. — Michael Taylor does it again. For the third straight night, he homers, this time an opposite-field, 2-run shot in the bottom of the second. That came after Wilson Ramos sent a 2-out base hit to left, opening the door for his rookie teammate. If, on Opening Day, somebody told you Michael Taylor would have 13 homers, 55 RBI and 15 stolen bases on August 22, your reaction would’ve been … what? It’s 2-0 Nats after two.
8:05 p.m. — Some very solid contact for the Nats so far tonight against Jungmann. In addition to the Taylor homer, Harper smoked that liner to center and Zimmerman drove a ball to the base of the wall in center field that was caught by Peterson to end the bottom of the third. We’ll see if this translates into any more runs the rest of the way. Still 2-0 after three, with Ross pitching quite well.
8:33 p.m. — Well, looks like all that solid contact was indeed a good sign, because the Nats just scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 5-0 lead. Ramos drove an RBI double down the left-field line, his second hit of the night. Werth sent his second base hit up the middle of the game, this one scoring Ramos from second base. Rendon then reached base for the third time tonight, smoking a double to left that scored Taylor (who walked earlier) and nearly scored Werth (who nearly beat a relay throw to the plate for the final out of the inning). Nice all-around offensive effort here so far, giving the Nats a 5-run lead after four.
8:45 p.m. — Joe Ross is through five scoreless innings on 60 pitches, aided in part by a big 5-4-3 double play he induced to end the top of the fifth. Good stuff from the young righty so far tonight. Taylor Jungmann, meanwhile, is done after four innings, only the second time this season the Brewers rookie has failed to complete five. Still 5-0 Nats after five.
9:01 p.m. — Still 5-0 after six, with Ross now having tossed six scoreless on 70 pitches. He has scattered five singles without issuing a walk. Very impressive.
9:31 p.m. — It’s now 6-1 after seven. Ross hung a slider to Khris Davis to lead off the top of the inning and watched it go soaring deep to left. He buckled down after that, though, and finished his night strong. Ross’ final line: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 82 pitches. It’s the ninth time in 10 MLB starts he has walked zero or one batter. Impressive. Also impressive: Rendon tonight. He has reached base four times and just launched a homer to left-center, padding the Nats’ lead. Blake Treinen enters for the eighth.
9:42 p.m. — Trea Turner alert! The rookie pinch-hit for Treinen in the bottom of the eighth … and struck out. So he’s 0-for-3 to begin his big-league career. Here’s Matt Thornton to pitch the ninth with the Nats still ahead 6-1.
9:51 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 6-1, a solid performance all-around that gets them back to the .500 mark at 61-61. Rubber game of the series tomorrow afternoon, with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound against Matt Garza.
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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