Sep 16, 2015, 3:36 PM EDT
PHILADELPHIA — On the heels of dominant performances last night from Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, the Nationals tonight go for a series sweep of the Phillies, hoping Gio Gonzalez can turn in another quality performance. Gonzalez has been good his last two times out, tossing six scoreless innings against the Braves and five innings of 1-run ball against the Marlins.
Harper, meanwhile, will be looking to join the 40-homer club for the first time in his young career, trying to go deep against Phillies rookie right-hander Alec Asher. Asher was a late switch for previously announced starter Adam Morgan, who apparently got lost driving around U Street and couldn’t find his way back. (Sorry, little D.C. neighborhood humor there.)
Updates to come, please check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183/869
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to RF
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
LF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
C Jose Lobaton
CF Michael Taylor
LHP Gio Gonzalez
SS Freddy Galvis
2B Andres Blanco
CF Aaron Altherr
RF Jeff Francoeur
1B Darin Ruf
LF Darnell Sweeney
3B Chase d’Arnaud
C Cameron Rupp
RHP Alec Asher
HP Chris Segal
1B Mike Everitt
2B Tim Welke (cc)
3B Todd Tichenor
7:07 p.m. — And we’re underway. It’s yet another sparse crowd here in Philly.
7:19 p.m. — Nothing doing for either team in the first inning. Gio Gonzalez was especially effective, retiring the side on 12 pitches, striking out a pair. That’s a good sign for the lefty.
7:40 p.m. — The Nats got a run in the top of the second, but they certainly had a chance for more. They loaded the bases with nobody out thanks to a pair of drops by first baseman Darin Ruf. Jose Lobaton brought home one run with a sac fly, but then Ian Desmond was thrown out trying to steal second (a call overturned on challenge) and Michael Taylor struck out to end the inning. 1-0 Nats after two.
7:55 p.m. — Three scoreless innings in the books for Gonzalez, who has been quite efficient. A pitch count of 40 would be solid no matter the situation, but especially when you’ve struck out five batters already. Good stuff so far from the lefty. Still 1-0 Nats after three.
8:12 p.m. — Lotta power on display in the fourth inning. It began with Jayson Werth, who launched his third homer of the series, a solo shot to left that put the Nats up 2-0 … but only temporarily, because Darin Ruff clobbered a pitch down the pipe from Gonzalez for a 2-run, game-tying blast. Just like that, it’s a 2-2 game after four.
8:37 p.m. — Wild fifth inning. The Nats scored two more runs but also had two guys thrown out at the plate. But one of them (Escobar) appeared to be clearly safe. But the replay folks in New York said there was no conclusive evidence of that, even though everybody in the park (fans and Phillies included) would’ve insisted otherwise. Anyways, it’s 4-2 Nats after all that. Gio also has eight strikeouts so far.
8:58 p.m. — Oh my, is Jayson Werth enjoying his time here in Philly or what? He just launched his fourth homer of the series, this one a towering shot to deep left-center. Then the Nats added another run on back-to-back doubles by Robinson and Desmond. It’s 6-2 after six.
9:17 p.m. — Bryce Harper, ladies and gentlemen. The newest member of the 40-homer club. He’s only the seventh player 22 or younger to do it, and the previous six are all either in the Hall of Fame or have/will be held out for PED use. So that’s some exclusive company. Also exclusive: Gio Gonzalez, who struck out 12 in 7 innings tonight. Combined with Stephen Strasburg last night, the Nats starters have 26 strikeouts in two games. Pretty good. It’s 8-2 after seven.
9:40 p.m. — And the onslaught continues. The Nats scored three more runs in the top of the eighth. It’s 11-2 now.
9:55 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 12-2. It’s their first road series sweep of the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are down 6-0 in the ninth in Miami. I mean, it’s not going to happen, but still …
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)...
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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