Aug 26, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT
It’s been awhile since we talked about the Nationals and winning streaks in the same breath. Tonight, though, they have an opportunity to keep their current hot streak going, seeking to win four in a row for the first time since late June when they won eight in a row (that was the stretch that included Max Scherzer’s no-hitter).
After seeing his fully healthy lineup break through for eight runs last night, Matt Williams is going with the exact same group tonight against the Padres. That’s a bit intriguing, though, because it means Wilson Ramos will catch Gio Gonzalez for the first time since June 15. Jose Lobaton had been behind the plate for each of Gonzalez’s last 10 starts, and 14 of his last 15, but Ramos has been at at the plate recently (5 for his last 10 with two homers and two walks. We’ll see how the pairing works out.
On the mound for San Diego tonight will be Tyson Ross, otherwise known around these parts as Joe’s older brother. We just missed out a Ross vs. Ross showdown in this series; alas, Joe is starting tomorrow’s series finale against Andrew Cashner.
Updates to come, so please check back…
SAN DIEGO PADRES 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, 79 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
LF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
3B Yunel Escobar
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Gio Gonzalez
3B Yangervis Solarte
CF Melvin Upton Jr.
RF Matt Kemp
LF Justin Upton
2B Jedd Gyorko
1B Derek Noris
C Austin Hedges
SS Clint Barmes
RHP Tyson Ross
HP Bob Davidson
1B Hunter Wendelstedt (cc)
2B Marvin Hudson
3B David Rackley
7:05 p.m. — This game is underway on another beautiful night at the ballpark. Gio Gonzalez starts of Yangervis Solarte with a fastball for strike one.
7:28 p.m. — It’s a scoreless first inning, but that doesn’t mean both teams didn’t have chances. The Padres got a leadoff single from Solarte and then a walk to Melvin Upton Jr., leaving Gonzalez in a jam. Somehow he battled through it, though, striking out both Justin Upton and Jedd Gyorko to strand a runner at third during a 26-pitch top of the first. Not to be outdone, Tyson Ross gave up a leadoff double to Denard Span, who then took third on Jayson Werth’s grounder to the right side. Ross, though, struck out Anthony Rendon looking and Bryce Harper swinging, quashing that rally. 0-0 after one.
7:46 p.m. — Much better stuff from Gonzalez in the top of the second. He needed only 10 pitches to get through that inning, despite Derek Norris’ leadoff single. (Norris, who once was traded for Gio, is now 3-for-3 with a homer, 6 RBI and a walk against the lefty.) The Nats, meanwhile, got a couple of hits off Ross in the bottom of the inning, courtesy Yunel Escobar and Wilson Ramos. But Ross struck out Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Gonzalez to escape that inning. So it remains 0-0 after two.
8:04 p.m. — Well, it’s not 0-0 anymore. The Padres piled up 4 runs in the top of the third, but it didn’t have to be that way. Escobar bobbled a potential inning-ending double play, then threw wildly to first base, killing the possibility of getting any outs on the play. And that set the stage for Matt Kemp’s 2-run double to right-center, then Justin Upton’s 2-run homer to left. Just like that, it’s 4-0 Padres after three.
8:22 p.m. — Gonzalez’s troubles continued in the top of the fourth, with the Padres tacking on another run via a single, walk, sac bunt and sac fly foul-pop to Zimmerman down the first-base line. But the Nats at least got that run back in the bottom of the inning, via Zim’s run-scoring slow roller to second. So it’s 5-1 San Diego as we move to the fifth.
8:38 p.m. — Matt Williams had his bullpen up and running from the moment the fifth inning began, and he turned to it after Gonzalez gave up a 2-out single to Gyorko. So Doug Fister entered, got out of the inning but then struck out in the bottom of the inning because the pitcher’s spot was due up second. So it remains 5-1 now going to the sixth.
9:03 p.m. — Fister worked out of trouble to turn in a scoreless sixth inning. The Nats threatened in the bottom of the frame, with Ryan Zimmerman notching a sac fly to make it 5-2. But with two on and two out, Ian Desmond struck out to end the rally. Nats are down three runs as we head to the seventh.
9:35 p.m. — The Padres got the right back as Upton his his second homer of the night, a solo shot to make it 6-2. But the Nats battled back, scoring on a bases loaded walk by Anthony Rendon, which set up Bryce Harper’s two-run single to cut the Padres lead to 6-5. Escobar grounded into a double play to end the rally, but the home team has life. We head to the eighth.
9:54 p.m. —Drew Storen came on in the top of the eighth and set the Padres down in order. Unfortunately for the Nats, they too were set down in order in the bottom of the frame. Jonathan Papelbon comes on to work the ninth.
10:12 p.m. — And that’ll end this one. Craig Kimbrel sets the Nats down in order and the Padres win 6-5. The Mets are currently up 9-4 in the ninth inning of their game, so the NL East deficit could be 6 1/2 games.
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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