Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
J.D. Martin returns to the majors tonight at Petco Park.
I don't think Jim Riggleman will be trying any shenanigans like that. If anything, I have a hunch he'll proofread tonight's lineup card about 10 times, then ask every one of his coaches, players, trainers and clubhouse attendants to do the same before handing it over to Tim Tschida.
Assuming no mistakes, the Nats will send J.D. Martin to the mound for the first time this season. The right-hander, who was recalled from Class AAA to take over Scott Olsen's rotation slot, went 2-1 with a 2.99 ERA in six starts at Syracuse. As we saw last year when he was up, Martin generally keeps his team in the game. He doesn't blow you away at all, but more often than not, he seems to get the job done.
No real surprises in the rest of the lineup. Ian Desmond gets the night off, probably more because Riggleman wants to get Adam Kennedy into the lineup than a real desire to rest Desmond.
Check back for updates throughout...
NATIONALS at PADRES
Where: Petco Park
Gametime: 8:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Clear, 67 degrees, Wind 5 mph LF to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
2B Adam Kennedy
RF Roger Bernadina
C Wil Nieves
P J.D. Martin
RF Will Venable
2B David Eckstein
1B Adrian Gonzalez
3B Chase Headley
C Nick Hundley
SS Jerry Hairston
LF Chris Denorfia
CF Tony Gwynn Jr.
P Mat Latos
7:31 p.m. -- Scott Olsen update: The left-hander played catch today for the first time since he was shut down with shoulder pain eight days ago. He said everything felt fine, just waiting now to see what the next step is. His turn in the rotation comes up Thursday in Houston; obviously he won't be eligible to come off the DL by then. Jim Riggleman pretty much said J.D. Martin will get to make that start following tonight's.
7:36 p.m. -- FYI: Stephen Strasburg is currently pitching for Syracuse against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Through two innings, he's allowed one single while striking out two. Opposing him on the mound tonight: Tim Redding! He apparently just recently signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees after getting released by the Rockies following five starts at Colorado Springs.
7:50 p.m. -- Uh-oh: Stephen Strasburg has given up his first home run as a minor leaguer. Rene Rivera takes him deep to open the third inning. Only took 10 starts for the first ball to leave the yard against him. Syracuse trails 1-0.
8:31 p.m. -- In the most anticipated exchange of lineup cards since ... well, maybe ever, it appears everything's in order tonight.
8:36 p.m. -- And we're underway with a strike from Mat Latos to Nyjer Morgan. Shadows creeping across the field from left to right, and the sun's going to be a problem for the first baseman and right fielder. Hitting background won't be great early in this game, either.
8:42 p.m. -- Latos cruises through the top of the first, retiring the side. Not a lot of comfortable swings from Morgan, Guzman and Zim there.
8:45 p.m. -- If anyone's interested (and hasn't heard yet) Roy Halladay has retired all 18 Marlins he's faced tonight. Might be worth tuning in. (Am I allowed to use the words "perfect" and "game" together when it's a game involving two other teams?)
8:52 p.m. -- In Syracuse, Stephen Strasburg's night is done, and he's currently on the hook to lose to Tim Redding. He departed three batters into the sixth holding a 2-1 lead, but Josh Wilkie allowed two inherited runners to score. So Strasburg's final line is 5 ip, 6 h, 3 r, 3 er, 2 bb, 6 k, 86 pitches, 54 strikes.
8:55 p.m. -- An error by Adam Kennedy of all people opens the door for a big bottom of the first by the Padres. After Kennedy booted Adrian Gonzalez's two-out grounder to second, J.D. Martin made the error costly. Chase Headley singled, and then Nick Hundley blasted a hanging 2-2 curveball into the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer. Nats trail 3-0 after one.
9:06 p.m. -- The Nats get two runs back in the second, thanks to Kennedy's RBI single and Wil Nieves' RBI groundout. Padres lead 3-2 now.
9:09 p.m. -- Um, you're going to want to switch over to MLB Network. Roy Halladay is perfect through eight innings against the Marlins.
9:24 p.m. -- Two perfect games in a month. Incredible.
9:25 p.m. -- Oh yeah, it's still 3-2 Padres here, going to the bottom of the third.
9:40 p.m. -- Someone needs to command Nyjer Morgan never to leap for another ball at the fence again. Just stand there and stick your glove up, dude.
10:02 p.m. -- Still 4-2 here at Petco, now in the bottom of the sixth. The Nats have done very little with Mat Latos to this point.
10:07 p.m. -- Credit where credit's due: J.D. Martin has pitched pretty well tonight. Six innings, four hits, four runs (but only one earned). He hasn't walked a batter, and he's certainly given his team a chance to win. He's due up third in the seventh, so that should do it for him.
10:31 p.m. -- Nyjer Morgan is lost right now. Simply lost. In every facet of the game.
10:39 p.m. -- The Nationals really haven't seriously threatened in this game since the second inning. Three hits since then. They trail 4-2 and are down to their final three outs. It'll be Willingham, Kennedy and Bernadina against Padres closer Heath Bell.
10:53 p.m. -- That'll do it. The Nats go down quietly in the ninth, much as they did all night. Padres win, 4-2. Martin takes a tough loss. Rubber game of the series tomorrow afternoon, Livan Hernandez vs. Jon Garland.