Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats look to sweep the doubleheader and the series from the Brewers.
Livan Hernandez gets the ball, hoping to continue perhaps the most-impressive stat about the Nats so far this year. In 12 of 14 games, their starting pitcher has allowed three earned runs or fewer. If they can somehow keep that sort of thing up, this team is going to have a chance to win every day, weak lineup or not.
Marco Estrada, a one-time Nationals prospect who had a couple cups of coffee in the big leagues in September 2008 and '09, starts for Milwaukee. He's filling in for injured ace Zack Greinke.
Updates to come...
BREWERS at NATIONALS (Game 2)
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 5:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 183
Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees, Wind 19 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS5:01 p.m. -- You'll notice Jayson Werth is not in the lineup for Game 2. That means the only remaining National who has started every game this season is ... Rick Ankiel?!
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
LF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
RF Laynce Nix
SS Ian Desmond
3B Jerry Hairston
P Livan Hernandez
2B Rickie Weeks
CF Carlos Gomez
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
C George Kottaras
RF Erick Almonte
P Marco Estrada
5:15 p.m. -- And we're underway again. Looks like a lot of people decided not to stick around for the nightcap.
5:18 p.m. -- Real quick top of the first for Livan Hernandez, retired the side.
5:32 p.m. -- Chance for the Nats to take an early lead, with runners on the corners and two out. But Wilson Ramos, who has been pretty clutch so far this season, struck out swinging at an offering from Marco Estrada. Scoreless after one.
5:46 p.m. -- The home run barrage from unlikely sources continues. Next up: Jerry Hairston, who dropped one over the left-field fence to put the Nats up 1-0 in the second.
5:54 p.m. -- Here's my full story from Game 1, with quotes from Riggleman and Marquis.
6:14 p.m. -- Three straight two-out hits from the Brewers in the top of the fourth led to a run, with Yuniesky Betancourt rapping a single to center to score Prince Fielder. 1-1 now in the middle of the fourth.
6:18 p.m. -- You may have noticed the Brewers have been using infield shifts on an inordinate number of batters, both righties and lefties. It's a strategy employed by first-year manager Ron Roenicke, who used to serve as bench coach for the Angels and assembled "spray charts" showing where opposing batters typically hit the ball. He believes the shift is highly effective against plenty of hitters, especially those who have a tendency to hit the ball up the middle. It just worked on Adam LaRoche, who was robbed of a sure single. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a good story on the whole subject this morning if you want to check it out.
6:42 p.m. -- First failed squeeze attempt by the Nats in four tries this year, though Rick Ankiel nearly beat it out. Tried to drop one down the third-base line with two outs and a man on third. Not a terrible idea, and like I said, it almost worked.
6:53 p.m. -- There's some disagreement in the press box on this: Did that Ankiel bunt constitute a squeeze? Others are saying it can't be a squeeze if there's two outs and the batter has to beat it out for it to work. But Wikipedia (the ultimate authority on this if there ever was one) says it is a squeeze anytime you bunt with a man on third.
7:00 p.m. -- Impressive outing from Marco Estrada against his former team: 6 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 bb, 7 k. Kameron Loe now on the mound for Milwaukee, with the game still tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh.
7:05 p.m. -- Official paid attendance for the doubleheader: 23,047. Which is basically the equivalent of drawing 11,523 to one game and 11,524 to the other. That's not going to help the overall season average.
7:09 p.m. -- What a day for Danny Espinosa: Three-run homer in Game 1, three-run triple in Game 2. He just cleared the bases in the bases in the bottom of the seventh, putting the Nats up 4-1. And in your bizarre stat of the day: Espinosa now has 14 RBI this season. Jayson Werth has two.
7:31 p.m. -- Scoreless eighth for Drew Storen, who pitched around a two-out triple by Braun. We'll see if he gets a chance to pitch the ninth as well, with the Nats up three runs.
7:35 p.m. -- No real need to use a closer now. LaRoche crushes a solo homer to right-center in the bottom of the eighth, making it 5-1. If Storen stays in, he'd still get credit for a save, though, because he entered with a three-run lead.
7:52 p.m. -- This one is in the books. Nats win 5-1, sweep the doubleheader and sweep the Brewers. They're now 8-7 and flying high heading into this week's road trip to St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Full story on both games on CSNwashington.com.