Sep 24, 2015, 12:31 PM EST
This was supposed to be the Nationals’ final off-day of the season, but that was nixed after Monday’s series opener against the Orioles was rained out. So both clubs are back here at the park for a late-afternoon start, with Baltimore looking for a series sweep and Washington looking for a desperately needed win to at least delay the inevitable. (The Mets’ magic number to clinch the NL East, if you didn’t know, is down to 5.)
After the late fireworks in last night’s game, all eyes will be on Bryce Harper every time he steps to the plate today. Will the Orioles retaliate for Manny Machado getting plunked last night, taking out the Nats’ best player (as Harper speculated might happen)? If so, watch out.
Tanner Roark gets the start today against right-hander Tyler Wilson. Updates to come, so please check back…
BALTIMORE ORIOLES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 92.7 FM, 94.3 FM, 106.7 FM, 980 AM, 1500 AM, XM 187/869
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 11 mph in from CF
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
LF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
CF Michael Taylor
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Tanner Roark
CF Gerardo Parra
3B Manny Machado
1B Chris Davis
LF Steve Pearce
C Matt Wieters
2B Jonathan Schoop
RF Ryan Flaherty
SS J.J. Hardy
RHP Tyler Wilson
HP Ed Hickox
1B Alan Porter
2B Brian O’Nora (cc)
3B Mark Ripperger
4:05 p.m. — And we’re underway. Not a whole lot of people in the park as Tanner Roark throws his first pitch, this being a makeup game played at an odd hour.
4:27 p.m. — Stop me in you’ve heard this one before: The Nats are trailing after one inning. Yes, for the fifth time in seven games, the Nationals’ starter was scored upon in the first inning. But, hey, after giving up two runs in each of the previous four instances, this time Roark only gave up one run. Progress! There were no fireworks in the bottom of the inning, only Bryce Harper’s sixth walk of the series, leaving two on with one out for Jayson Werth … who promptly grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw. So it’s 1-0 Orioles after one.
4:42 p.m. — The Orioles continued to hit the ball hard off Roark in the top of the second, but they didn’t come away with anything. The Nats got a 2-out single up the middle from Michael Taylor, but that’s it’s in the bottom of the second. Still 1-0 Baltimore.
5:02 p.m. — Among the most amazing Harper stats of the year is the fact he has yet to go three consecutive games all season without recording at least one hit. Well, he’s in danger of doing just that right now. He’s now 0-for-4 with six walks in this series after having his bat shattered by Wilson on a grounder to second that ended the third inning. Still 1-0 Orioles.
5:20 p.m. — Pretty lifeless performance so far today from the Nats. The small crowd isn’t helping, but neither is the home team, which has been shut out through four innings by Wilson. Roark, meanwhile, served up a 2-run homer to Jonathan Schoop, a real poke over the center field fence. It’s 3-0 Baltimore after four.
5:41 p.m. — Wait, some signs of life from the Nats in the fifth. Ramos singles. Trea Turner doubled. Rendon sent a sac fly to the base of the wall in center. Escobar delivered an RBI single. All of a sudden, it was 3-2 with Harper at the plate in a big spot. Bryce wound up hitting into a 1-6-3 double play, so that killed the rally. But the Nats have drawn to within a run as Joe Ross enters to pitch the sixth in relief of Roark.
5:54 p.m. — A quick 1-2-3 sixth for Ross, who will be able to return for the seventh. But his teammates went down in order against Wilson, leaving them trailing 3-2 after six.
6:27 p.m. — Wow, what a rally by the Nats in the bottom of the seventh. Ramos got it started with a towering homer to left, the ball landing in the second-to-last row of the bleachers. That tied the game. Escobar’s double to right-center a few minutes later gave the Nats a 4-3 lead. It might’ve been 5-3, but Rendon was called out on a close play at the plate that the Nats challenged … unsuccessfully. They still had two on and two out later for Werth, who absolutely roped a ball down the third-base line, only to be robbed by Machado’s backhand stab. So after all that, the Nats hold a 4-3 lead, with Blake Treinen entering for the eighth.
6:55 p.m. — So much for that lead. Treinen held it for all of two batters. He gave up a leadoff single to Steve Pearce and then a towering, 445-foot homer to Matt Wieters, turning that 4-3 lead into a 5-4 deficit. Then after threatening in the bottom of the inning thanks to Robinson’s leadoff double, the Nats squandered another opportunity. Ian Desmond’s sac bunt attempt barely went anywhere, setting up an easy out at third base. Wilson Ramos and Tyler Moore then struck out with the tying runner on second, ending that rally. It’s 5-4 Orioles heading to the ninth.
7:10 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats lose 5-4. They’re swept by the Orioles. They trail the Mets by 7 games with 10 to go. They’ve also now officially been eliminated from the NL wild card race.
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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