Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats close out this series at Chase Field; don't worry, the roof will be closed.
They leave the thing open all morning and early-afternoon, though, so the grass can get some sunlight and grow. And since it was still open when I got here today for Stephen Strasburg's simulated game, I wanted to take a photo and let everyone see how different the ballpark looks when the roof and the outfield panels are open.
As for tonight's game, Nyjer Morgan is not in the lineup again. We'll see what the update is on his injured right hip and whether yesterday's MRI revealed anything to be concerned about. Ian Desmond returns to start at shortstop. Ivan Rodriguez gets a standard night off, with Wil Nieves behind the plate.
Left-hander Ross Detwiler (who actually has the lowest ERA on the staff at 1.00 because of all the unearned runs he's allowed) starts for the Nats. Rookie right-hander Barry Enright starts for the Diamondbacks.
Check back throughout the evening for updates...
NATIONALS at DIAMONDBACKS
Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 9:40 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 106 degrees outdoors (78 degrees indoors)
CF Roger Bernadina
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
C Wil Nieves
P Ross Detwiler
CF Chris Young
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Justin Upton
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Rusty Ryal
3B Bobby Crosby
SS Stephen Drew
C John Hester
P Barry Enright
7:46 p.m. -- There's no official update on Nyjer Morgan yet. Jim Riggleman was waiting to get on a conference call with Mike Rizzo, trainer Lee Kuntz and team doctor Wiemi Douoguih (who was in surgery all day in D.C.) to discuss the results of Morgan's MRI, so the manager didn't want to say anything yet. The sense I'm getting, though, is that the MRI probably showed something significant. It's just going to be a question of whether Morgan can play through it or whether it's going to need immediate attention. For his part, Nyjer was in good spirits this afternoon and said he felt like he could play.
7:49 p.m. -- If you haven't seen the news on the homepage, Jason Marquis will start Sunday against the Dodgers. He'll be taking Scott Olsen's spot, but Riggleman said Olsen will remain in the rotation and start sometime after Tuesday (assuming Stephen Strasburg starts that game against the Marlins). Obviously, there are several rotation changes coming in the next few days.
9:09 p.m. -- Here's my full story on Strasburg's simulated game on CSNwashington.com.
9:40 p.m. -- This ballgame is underway. Barry Enright starts off Roger Bernadina with a fastball for ball one.
9:48 p.m. -- Nothing doin' for the Nats in the top of the first. Adam Kennedy drew a one-out walk but never advanced past first base. The red-hot Adam Dunn took a called third strike from Enright to end the inning.
9:50 p.m. -- Angel Hernandez umping at first base tonight with the left-handed Ross Detwiler on the mound. Over/under on balk calls in this game: 1.5. (You may remember Hernandez as the ump who sent Odalis Perez into an all-time rant back in 2008 when he twice called balks on the lefty.)
9:57 p.m. -- Whoa, Detwiler picked off Kelly Johnson to end the first, and Angel Hernandez just stood there and allowed it without raising a finger. Guess I should have taken the under. Nice start to the evening for Detwiler, who also struck out Chris Young and Justin Upton looking. We're scoreless heading to the second.
10:07 p.m. -- Big-time botched rally by the Nats in the second. They had runners on second and third with one out after Ian Desmond scorched a double to left-center. But when Wil Nieves hit a comebacker, Josh Willingham got caught in a rundown between third base and home plate. Worse, Willingham made the mistake of running all the back to third (which was already occupied by Desmond). Problem is, that meant Desmond was out for having "passed" Willingham. Even worse, Nieves ran straight through first base and never realized he should have continued around to second as the rundown was taking place. Detwiler then struck out to end the inning with nary a run placed on the scoreboard.
10:21 p.m. -- A botched grounder by Adam Dunn helped turn the bottom of the second into a nightmare for the Nats, who wound up allowing two runs. Detwiler, though, didn't help himself after the error, allowing a double to Bobby Crosby and walking Stephen Drew. The lefty did bounce back to strike out John Hester with a nice cureveball (of several he's thrown tonight). So the deficit is only 2-0 after two, with one of the runs unearned. Detwiler has now allowed eight runs this season, but only two of them earned.
10:31 p.m. -- Adam Kennedy puts the Nats on the board with a solo shot to right off Enright in the top of the third. But just when it looked like they might add to the rally, Willingham hit into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. The Hammer has really cooled off over the last month-plus. What was shaping up to be a career year instead looks like it's going to be another, very solid (but unspectacular year) for him.
11:02 p.m. -- Make it 10 runs now allowed in 12 innings this season by Detwiler, only two of them earned. That said, he hasn't exactly shown an ability to overcome the errors and get batters out. As Enright came up to bat with two on in the fourth, Arizona Republic beat writer Nick Piecoro turned to me and said this guy's a pretty good hitter. Sure enough, Enright smacked a base hit up the middle to put the D'backs up 4-1 after four.
11:41 p.m. -- Just back from some time in the stands shooting photos and visiting family members who are taking in the game. Hoo-boy, this has not been a fine display of professional baseball tonight, has it? It's currently 7-2 D'backs in the sixth. Detwiler didn't make it through the fifth. His replacement, Collin Balester, hasn't helped clean up the mess. He managed to strike out Enright on a wild pitch that ultimately allowed a run to score and Enright to reach first. How often do you see that one? Barring some big-time rally from the Nats, this is going to be one to erase from the memory banks.
12:03 a.m. -- If you haven't seen it yet, I confirmed that Nyjer Morgan will be placed on the DL after the game. Full story available on the homepage.
12:09 a.m. -- I suppose the encouraging thing about this game -- the only encouraging thing -- is that the Nats have belted four home runs. Ryan Zimmerman has two of them, included a blast to left field just moments ago in the top of the eighth. Roger Bernadina has one, as does Adam Kennedy. The problem is that all four have been solo shots, which explains in part why they're currently losing 7-4.
12:32 a.m. -- That'll do it. Nats lose 8-4. The committed three errors and made several other lackadaisical plays in the field and on the bases. Kind of puts a damper on this series. What could have been a 3-1 series victory instead ends as a 2-2 series tie.