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Game 159: Nats at Braves

Oct 1, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

ATLANTA — The forecast here tonight is lousy. It’s supposed to start raining sometime around first pitch, and once it starts it’s not supposed to stop. But they’ve apparently have sold 38,000 tickets to tonight’s game, not because 38,000 people are excited to watch the Nationals and Braves but because somebody named Sam Hunt is holding a postgame concert. (Sincere apologies to anyone I just offended by not knowing who this guy is.)

Anyways, if they’re somehow able to play, Stephen Strasburg will be on the mound for his final start of the season, trying to finish up a dominant second half with one last strong performance. After going 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA in his first 10 starts, Strasburg is 7-2 with a 1.89 ERA in his last 12 starts. Pretty remarkable.

Weather and possibly game updates to come…

Where: Turner Field, Atlanta
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 186/869
Weather: Rain, 66 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from CF

3B Anthony Rendon
2B Trea Turner
RF Bryce Harper
LF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
SS Ian Desmond
CF Michael Taylor
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Stephen Strasburg

BRAVES (64-94)
LF Michael Bourn
CF Cameron Maybin
RF Nick Markakis
3B Adonis Garcia
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jace Peterson
SS Andrelton Simmons
C Christian Bethancourt
RHP Ryan Weber

HP Sam Holbrook
1B Marty Foster
2B Mike Muchlinski
3B Mark Wegner (cc)

7:10 p.m. — We are underway on time, though the rain began falling a few minutes ago and isn’t supposed to let up. We’ll see how this plays out.

7:23 p.m. — A scoreless first is in the books. The Nats went down in order, with Bryce Harper striking out looking at a breaking ball from Ryan Weber to end the top of the innings. Harper is now 3 for his last 27, his batting average holding at .331 but teetering. Stephen Strasburg, meanwhile, allowed a 1-out single to Cameron Maybin but then got Nick Markakis to ground into a double play to end an 11-pitch frame.

7:40 p.m. — The loss of Ryan Zimmerman to injuries should have been devastating to the Nats, but Clint Robinson has made that far less damaging than you would have thought. With an opposite-field, line-drive homer to left in the top of the second, Robinson gave the Nats a 1-0 lead. He’s going to wind up with about 350 plate appearances as a rookie, with a slash line of .271/.360/.410 and nine homers and 33 RBI. That ain’t shabby, not at all. 1-0 Nats after two.

7:57 p.m. — Strasburg hasn’t been quite as sharp tonight as he’s been lately, but he’s still been quite effective. Despite three hits and a walk surrendered, he has posted three zeroes to get this one started. He’s got three strikeouts and is sitting on 44 pitches, with the Nats still up 1-0 after three.

8:17 p.m. — Boy, Harper is struggling. He struck out swinging for the second time tonight and is now 3 for his last 28. The batting average is down to .330, though with Gordon also 0-for-2 and also down to .330, the batting crown still sits on Bryce’s head for now. Still 1-0 Nats after four.

8:38 p.m. — Five scoreless in the books for Strasburg. His pitch count is a bit high at 78, but he has looked quite impressive here tonight and appears to be finishing his season strong.

9:06 p.m. — Big sixth inning for Strasburg, who had to record a couple of strikeouts with men in scoring position to escape a jam. That will end his season on a very high note. Ten starts in, he was 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA. If the Nats can hold this 1-0 lead, he’ll finish 11-7 with a 3.46 ERA, 155 strikeouts and 26 walks. After all he went through, that’s a very good season in the end.

9:18 p.m. — Nice job by Blake Treinen to get through the seventh unscathed. He needed to get Freddie Freeman to fly out in order to do that and post another zero. It still remains 1-0 Nats heading to the eighth.

9:45 p.m. — Some insurance for the Nats in the top of the eighth, thanks to Adonis Garcia’s throwing error and thanks to Bryce Harper’s hustle. By busting it down the line on a potential inning-ending double play grounder, he drove in his 97th run and extended the Nats’ lead to 3-0. Felipe Rivero then retired the side in the bottom of the inning, sending this one to the ninth.

9:57 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 3-0. Strasburg (11-7) gets the win. Rivero gets his first career save with two scoreless innings. the Nats get their 81st win.

  1. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2015 at 3:55 PM

    Sounds about like the weather here, if that’s any consolation. (Forecast? Something like rain, rain, and more rain.) And I don’t know who Sam Hunt is either, so it’s all good.

    Was hoping that the Nats might play, and win, a game for my birthday. Oh, well. At least I get a dinner out. Woo. hoo.

    • dryw4nats - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:01 PM

      Happy Birthday!! Hope it’s a great one and that they sneak in the game so that the Nats can win for you. 🙂

  2. trfwans - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:11 PM

    Sam Hunt’s brother Mike is much better known. He gets paged in airports and hotel lobbies all the time.

    • veejh - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:19 PM


      Even better known is Mike Litoris.

  3. veejh - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    Just get hits, Bryce

  4. golfersal - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:30 PM

    We can only hope that the rest of the Nats season gets rained out.

  5. langleyclub - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:36 PM

    Weird to me that the Nats continue to play Wilson Ramos essentially everyday.

    In the last 4 weeks, Ramos is hitting .130 (yes, .130) with 20Ks and 4 GIDPs in 77 at bats. His OPS .418 during that time. What does he need to do to play himself on the pine? Realize that Severino is young, untested and probably not ready, but it would essentially be impossible to do any worse than Ramos, and maybe Severino would at least beat out a slow roller.

    When Ramos comes up with men on, you know that he will either: a) strikeout or b) hit into a double play. I have always liked Ramos, and felt like this year would be a breakout for him now that he was a year out from his wrist injury, but at this point, it’s hard to watch him play. Do not understand how a guy who is that powerful hits so many week groundballs to second base. He also may be the slowest position player in baseball. Not sure who would win a sprint between Ramos and Bartolo Colon, but those timing it would be able to go get something to eat between the start and the finish.

    • adcwonk - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:40 PM

      What’s that old saying?

      Something along the lines of: “you can time it with a sundial,” or something like that? 😉

    • chaz11963 - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:51 PM

      LC- Ramos is our catcher. So, he catches. (MW imitation)

      • Guapo - Oct 2, 2015 at 11:48 AM

        Well done.

    • patrickthand - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:56 PM

      I could have beat out that ground ball that deflected off of the pitcher last night. And I’m 57. Maybe the Nats should make a run for Matt Wieters, who can’t be any slower.

    • Candide - Oct 1, 2015 at 6:14 PM

      Not sure who would win a sprint between Ramos and Bartolo Colon, but those timing it would be able to go get something to eat between the start and the finish.

      Someone once said of catcher Ernie Lombardi,, “I could run faster than Ernie with a mule tied on my back.”

      As to why Wilson hits so many weak grounders to second – that’s what happens when a right-handed hitter tries to pull a pitch that’s low and away. I swear, sometimes I think Wilson would swing at a pitchout.

    • trfwans - Oct 1, 2015 at 6:40 PM

      Personal milestone. Ramos is apparently 1 HR short of a career high. Williams respects that.

    • ehay2k - Oct 1, 2015 at 8:04 PM

      I also wondered why Severino isn’t getting some playing time. Seems like an obvious thing to do. Wilson needs 1 HR for a career high? Great. Maybe he can get it next year. It’s far more important for the ballclub to find out what they have in the farm system and whether they can make it in the show.

  6. philipd763 - Oct 1, 2015 at 4:51 PM

    Maybe the season is finally over! With all the rain forecasted for the East Coast, including NYC through next Monday, there’s the possibility that the season ended last night with the 2-0 loss to a no name pitcher pitching for the pathetic Atlanta Braves.

    • jd - Oct 1, 2015 at 5:05 PM

      The Mets are in a battle with the Dodgers for home advantage. They won’t cancel the NY games.

      • langleyclub - Oct 1, 2015 at 5:16 PM

        MLB made Toronto and Baltimore play today in ridiculously bad conditions because KC and TOR are battling for home field in the AL. Absent a direct hit in NY by Joaquin (which now doesn’t appear likely); the Nats and Mets will play at least enough games for the Mets or Dodgers to clinch home field regardless of how much rain there is.

  7. patrickthand - Oct 1, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    I hope the game is rained out and thereby cancelled. The Nats’ performances the last two nights show that most of the players are mailing it in. The only thing they have left to play for is an above .500 record, which will be more likely if the game tonight is cancelled. Then, they only have to win one of three in New York. But if they don’t care, why should we?

  8. knoxvillenat - Oct 1, 2015 at 5:36 PM

    Sam Hunt……up and coming country music singer. You need to listen to The Highway or Y2K Country on XM radio more often.

    • knoxvillenat - Oct 1, 2015 at 5:56 PM

      Excuse me, that should be Kountry , with a K.


  9. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 1, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    Cancel the game and don’t make it up. Assuming $40/ticket (on average), the Braves will have to refund their fans (or the singer’s fans) about $1.5 million. And that’s $1.5m the Brave won’t have to spend on future players.

    • RoadApples - Oct 1, 2015 at 7:57 PM

      My comment below is not meant as a shot across your bow.
      I do indeed appreciate your thought and your humor.

  10. RoadApples - Oct 1, 2015 at 7:48 PM

    Excellent that they are playing the game due to the weather: at least until it is official;
    Great respect for players that purely love to play baseball.
    Put the young ones in; if necessary .

  11. donkort - Oct 1, 2015 at 8:09 PM

    I don’t know what’s going on with Harper. I feel he’s lost his inspiration.

  12. janebeard - Oct 1, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    8:17 p.m. — Boy, Harper is struggling.

    Yeah, Hands around your neck will do that to ya. DFA Papelbon PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

    I am going to be so sorry when the season is over because so many of my favorite TRUE NAT players will be gone. But on the other hand, I feel like enough is enough for this team. Let them go home.

  13. philipd763 - Oct 1, 2015 at 9:28 PM

    Accuweather The final weekend of the Major League Baseball regular season could see many disruptions to game activity. Baseball fans looking to attend one of the last remaining home games in Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore could be looking at cancellations, weather delays or alterations to the time of first pitch.

  14. Drew - Oct 1, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    Strasburg finishes the year with a better ERA than Joe Ross or Gio Gonzalez.

    What a turnaround for the big fella.

  15. Drew - Oct 1, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    Bryce’s hustle is a nice answer to Pap’s smear.

  16. Guapo - Oct 2, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    Can someone please explain the logic behind Desmond being in the lineup at this point?

    The Nats should be figuring out now who is the starting SS for ’16.

    It’s not going to be Desmond, that we know.

    Wasting reps for Turner and Escobar.

    Classic Nats leadership botch.

    Rizzo and MW are clueless.





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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