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Game 125: Padres at Nats

Aug 26, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

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…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
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

PADRES (61-64)
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.

  1. unterp - Aug 26, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    let’s go Phillies…

  2. scnatsfan - Aug 26, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    well all we can do is win our games at a nice clip and hope the Mets wake up and realize this is not their year

    • stoatva - Aug 26, 2015 at 4:23 PM

      I am supremely confident that the Mets will collapse. I am less certain that this will occur in time to help the Nats.

      Just win tonight, boys. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  3. Doc - Aug 26, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Don’t disappoint us Gio—even with Ramos catching your stuff!

  4. jfmii - Aug 26, 2015 at 4:57 PM

    I can’t remember who on this blog tracks the season in 18-game increments, but thought I would note that if Nationals can win these next 2 with San Diego, they will salvage a 9-9 mark for the 7th 18-game stretch.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 5:04 PM

      That would be the inestimable Sec 222, or Deuces, as he’s known hereabouts.

    • edgs3rd1978 - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:37 PM

      .500 is about right

  5. jfmii - Aug 26, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    Well, Section 222, thanks, you got me into tracking the season that way. Did it last year also.

    • Section 222 - Aug 26, 2015 at 5:25 PM

      My pleasure jfm. I try not to look ahead to this analysis, but I will admit to have made the same calculation. You’re right, if we win these next two games we’ll be at 9-9. It would be one of the strangest and least conclusive 18-gamers ever — covering both a six game losing streak and a five game winning streak. What the heck will I do with that?

      Next installment of the 18-day reviews will appear sometime on Friday. Stay tuned.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 26, 2015 at 6:00 PM

        So at that point, you’ll have two left. What are the Nats’ two best 18-game units this year? I’m guessing they’ll have to match those…and maybe better them.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 6:17 PM

        OT, for Mr. inOregon: are you in Eugene?

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 26, 2015 at 6:47 PM

        Yes. Since 2010.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:14 PM

        May I pick your brain about the city? Can you email to me please? PFB, but spell it out, at

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:14 PM

        fricken, BTW

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:23 PM

        I will do that.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:27 PM

        Ta, mate!

  6. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 26, 2015 at 5:59 PM


  7. natsfan1a - Aug 26, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    Go, Gio! Go, bats! Go, NATS!!

  8. Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 6:55 PM

    I heard that Joe would take his brother Tyson out for a steak and lobster dinner if he grooved a couple of pitches tonight.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:03 PM

      It really is too bad they didn’t line up to pitch against each other.

  9. Reverendp - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    Hate the @nationals on the mound

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:23 PM

      Not sure what you are trying to say, Rev.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    26 pitches in the first is never a good thing, but at least no Pads crossed the plate.

  11. Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    Great rip by Span, but I think if he had his normal wheels that would’ve been a triple. Not complaining, mind you. Also, I have no idea what Derrick Norris was doing. Anybody can play 1B, right?

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      Adam Dunn? Dick Stuart? Don’t ask Red Sox fans about Bill Buckner. I’m sure there are several others but your point is well made.

  12. Reverendp - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    On the back of the pitchers mound there is a red painted on @nationals graphic. I would prefer they not do that.

    It used to be a tan curly W, then at some point it became red. And now tonight red @nationals. I prefer a more pure aesthetic.

    • NatsLady - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:55 PM

      Oh, I see what you mean. Agree.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:56 PM

      Ah, gotcha.

  13. coop202 - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:55 PM


  14. Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 7:58 PM

    Gil doesn’t deserve this inning. Should’ve bee out of it with a double play to end the inning before giving up any runs. Wrong guy on 3B in my opinion.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:01 PM

      First the foul ball that fell between Yunel and Wilson, a catchable ball, then the bobble of the probable double play ball.

      Gotta wake up the offense, fellows.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:10 PM

        To be fair, the foul popup they lost in the twilight fell into the camera well. I didn’t look carefully, but on first viewing, I’m not at all sure that was playable.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:15 PM

        I though it hit off the top of the barrier in front of the camera well. Bad luck. Regardless, Gio should have had a relatively easy inning.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:25 PM

        I dunno. Ross’s ball was scalded past Desmond (who was playing a pitcher to pull, apparently), and the home run was an obvious meatball. Kemp just beat him on a decent pitch.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:36 PM

        But before any runs scored, there was one out, a man on first and Escobar blew a probable inning ending double play, Sofa. Then four runs scored.This was after the foul ball in the camera well.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:50 PM

        I think “blew” is a bit harsh. That was a hard short-hop that he only bobbled for a half-beat. E-5 on the throw, but not a gimme.

        That said, I think Rendon makes that play.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:02 PM

      Auto correct got me! Gio didn’t deserve that inning.

  15. scmargenau - Aug 26, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    Ugh. Starting pitching not good this year.

  16. Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:06 PM

    Jeez, Ian. Really? I wonder if he ever looks at his AB’s on video?

  17. scmargenau - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:17 PM

    Worthies lodged since squeeze play

    • knoxvillenat - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:45 PM

      Okay, what does this mean?

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:48 PM

        Wondering the same.

    • scmargenau - Aug 27, 2015 at 3:09 PM

      auto correct messed that up. forgot what i meant lol!

  18. natslive - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:34 PM

    WTH Escobar

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:38 PM

      What a shame. A couple of really good at bats, especially Harper.

  19. Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    Nice inning, Drew!

    Still shacking my head over Escobar’s last AB. Grrrr….

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 26, 2015 at 10:03 PM

      He was sort of lucky that the Pads’ bats had holes in them seemingly, but none the less it goes down in the books as a good inning.

  20. Danny - Aug 26, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    Desmond has no chance against quality late inning relievers

    • stoatva - Aug 26, 2015 at 10:38 PM

      When Kimbrel is throwing strikes pretty much no one hits him. When he can’t find the zone he can be had. He was locked in tonight.

  21. Nats Fan Zee - Aug 26, 2015 at 10:17 PM

    We are now 6 1/2 back. Mathematics says it’s possible but this team, to put it kindly, lacks enthusiasm. Very sad.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 26, 2015 at 10:25 PM

      Lacks enthusiam? Totally disagree. Saw it during the rally and more.

      Fister holds the score and doesn’t give up the HR, they are still playing…

  22. senators69 - Aug 26, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    This one hurts a lot





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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