Sep 29, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT
ATLANTA — And a good afternoon to you from Turner Field, where the tarp is on the field and the rain has been falling all day. The forecast does appear to improve some as the night progresses, but there’s at least a 50 percent chance of rain each of the next three days here in Atlanta and then all weekend in New York. Oy.
The Nationals come to town on the heels of an, uh, eventful final homestand. Whether things can actual return to normal now remains to be seen, though Bryce Harper’s return to the lineup certainly helps in some way. Michael Taylor and Yunel Escobar, however, are off.
Tanner Roark gets the start. It’s been a rough go for the right-hander since he rejoined the rotation earlier this month. You can imagine he really wants to finish on a high note and head into the offseason feeling much better about his role entering 2016.
Updates to come, so please check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field, Atlanta
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183/869
Weather: Rain, 72 degrees, Wind 3 mph in from CF
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Trea Turner
CF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
LF Matt den Dekker
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Tanner Roark
RF Nick Markakis
2B Daniel Castro
1B Freddie Freeman
C A.J. Pierzynski
LF Nick Swisher
3B Hector Olivera
SS Andrelton Simmons
CF Michael Bourn
RHP Matt Wisler
HP Mike Muchlinski
1B Mark Wegner (cc)
2B Sam Holbrook
3B Marty Foster
7:10 p.m. — And we’re underway, on-time after all. The skies cleared up enough over the last hour to get this game started as scheduled.
7:31 p.m. — The Nats got a couple of sharp singles from Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner to get things started in the top of the first, but they never advanced beyond that. Bryce Harper flied out to left (lowering his batting average to .335, just 2 points better than Dee Gordon for the batting title), Jayson Werth popped out to first and Clint Robinson fouled out to the catcher. Tanner Roark, meanwhile, retired the side in the bottom of the inning, even striking out Freddie Freeman (which, as you know, rarely happens when he faces the Nats). Scoreless after one.
7:42 p.m. — Ian Desmond just missed his 20th homer of the season, sending a ball off the top of the center-field fence for a mere double. He’s trying to reach the 20-homer mark for the fourth straight season. As was the case in the top of the first, the Nats couldn’t bring home a runner who was on second base with nobody out. Roark has faced the minimum over two innings, throwing only 21 total pitches. He looks sharp so far. Still 0-0 after two.
8:06 p.m. — Add another record to Bryce Harper’s remarkable season: He has set a new franchise record for walks with his 124th, besting Ken Singleton’s mark from the 1973 Expos. He’s not going to set a Washington baseball record, though, because Eddie Yost drew 151 walks in 1956. Still scoreless through three.
8:12 p.m. — Roark was cruising along, really looking impressive … until he hung a breaking ball to A.J. Pierzynski in the bottom of the fourth. Pierzynski turned on it and sent it over the right-field wall, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead after four.
8:34 p.m. — Strong performance tonight from Roark, who is through five innings on 63 pitches. He’ll take the mound for the sixth for the first time since rejoining the rotation earlier this month. Still 1-0 Atlanta, though, after five.
8:49 p.m. — Trea Turner is officially a big leaguer now. He launched his first career homer, a solo shot to left on the first pitch of the top of the sixth that tied this game. Teammates mobbed the rookie in the dugout, and Nick Swisher tossed the ball back in from left field so Turner could add it to his collection. You know, he had been a slow starter at each level of the minors this season before taking off, and sure enough he’s now doing the same thing here. After starting his career 1-for-11, Turner is now 6 for his last 13. 1-1 game after six.
9:10 p.m. — The Nats have had no trouble handling Freddie Freeman (0-for-3, 2 strikeouts) tonight. Unfortunately, A.J. Pierzynski is playing the role of Freddie Freeman. He’s 3-for-3 with two homers, including the tiebreaking blast in the bottom of the seventh off Roark. That was the 17th homer Roark has allowed in 105 innings this season. He allowed only 16 in 198 2/3 innings last year. It’s 2-1 Atlanta after seven.
9:31 p.m. — The Nats had two on with one out for Harper in the eighth. Can’t ask for a much better opportunity than that. But old pal Edwin Jackson got Harper to ground into a 5-4-3 double play, ending that rally. So it’s still 2-1 Braves, with the Nats down to their final three outs.
9:40 p.m. — That’s your ballgame. Nats lose 2-1. Or, more appropriately, A.J. Pierzynski beat Trea Turner, 2-1.
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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