Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan faces Jonathan Sanchez in a rare 4:05 p.m. game at Nationals Park.
Lannan will be facing another lefty in Jonathan Sanchez, who has yet to surrender more than three earned runs in any start this year. Jim Riggleman's lineup includes Wilson Ramos, Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston.
I'm back at the ballpark today for this rare late-afternoon start (Fox has the 1-4 p.m. TV window, which explains the 4:05 p.m. first pitch), so check back for updates throughout...
GIANTS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Sunny, 67 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from LF
STARTING LINEUPS3:25 p.m. -- Ryan Zimmerman needs surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. Rehab time is six weeks, according to Mike Rizzo. Check the homepage and CSNwashington.com for the full story, which I'll be updating shortly with details and quotes.
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
3B Jerry Hairston
P John Lannan
CF Aaron Rowand
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
3B Migeul Tejada
RF Cody Ross
SS Mike Fontenot
C Eli Whiteside
P Jonathan Sanchez
4:22 p.m. -- OK, there's a game going on here, I guess. Sorry, I was scrambling to finish up my full Zimmerman surgery story, which you can read here.
4:25 p.m. -- So, one inning is in the books. John Lannan made it through the top of the first unscathed. Jonathan Sanchez, though, was all over the place in the bottom of the first. He walked -- get this -- four of the first five batters the Nats sent to the plate. And yet they somehow didn't score even one run. How? Because Rick Ankiel grounded into a double play, and because Michael Morse (who stepped up after Sanchez had walked three straight batters) grounded out to third on the very first pitch he saw. Yikes. Scoreless after one.
4:45 p.m. -- If you thought Sanchez was bad in the first inning ... wow, how about that second inning? He plunked two batters, walked another and uncorked a wild pitch. Ian Desmond also was caught stealing for the first time in 10 tries this season ... yet he remained on base because shortstop Mike Fontenot dropped the throw. Despite all this, the Nats still didn't have a run or a hit until Rick Ankiel blooped a single over Fontenot's head with the bases loaded. So they managed to put eight of the afternoon's first 11 batters on base safely, yet scored only one run. You think this might come back to haunt them by day's end?
4:52 p.m. -- And the answer is: Yes. Eli Whiteside homers to left, and despite the ridiculous disparity between pitching performances so far, this game is tied 1-1 in the third.
5:08 p.m. -- What a ragged start to this game. It's still 1-1 in the middle of the fourth after Lannan caught Buster Posey in a rundown (executed well on Lannan's part: he ran straight at Posey and made the runner make a move one way or the other). And for good measure, Pat Burrell inexplicably tried to take second and got thrown out himself.
5:36 p.m. -- Things have settled down considerably here, which isn't necessarily a good thing for the Nats. Sanchez has been much more in control since the first two innings, and though he's at 103 pitches, he managed to finish five innings allowing only one run. Nats didn't exactly seize the opportunity to take Sanchez down when they had the chance. Still 1-1 after five.
6:00 p.m. -- It hasn't been brought up much, but Nats catchers have been very good in the throwing department this season. Wilson Ramos just gunned down Darren Ford trying to steal second. So Ramos and Ivan Rodriguez have now combined to throw out six of 15 would-be basestealers. Pretty impressive stuff from both guys.
6:08 p.m. -- Hmm, you've gotta question this strategy: With runners on second and third and two outs in the seventh, Riggleman elects to intentionally walk Eli Whiteside and instead face Aubrey Huff with the bases loaded. I know Whiteside homered earlier and Huff is struggling big-time, but really? Think about this for a moment. Of course, Lannan walked Huff to force in the go-ahead run. Giants now lead 2-1 and Tyler Clippard is entering with the bases still loaded.
6:15 p.m. -- To follow up ... Eli Whiteside's career splits vs. left-handers: .155/.197/.208. Aubrey Huff's career splits vs. left-handers: .275/.328/.429. Why exactly were the Nats intentionally walking Whiteside to get to Huff?
6:19 p.m. -- Oh, by the way, the Nats have two hits today through seven innings. Both of them by Rick Ankiel.
6:40 p.m. -- Some more curious managing in the bottom of the eighth. Riggleman sent Laynce Nix up to pinch-hit for Morse. But when Bochy brought in left-hander Javier Lopez (who, by the by, went to Robinson High School in Fairfax with my wife), Riggleman pulled Nix in favor of Brian Bixler. Bixler did hit the ball hard but flew out to center. So we go to the ninth with the Nats still trailing 2-1 and Henry Rodriguez making his Nats debut out of the bullpen.
6:45 p.m. -- Wow, Rodriguez can bring the heat. Threw everything at least 97 and (according to MASN) hit 101 in striking out Whiteside. 1-2-3 inning for Henry. Last chance for the Nats now against Brian Wilson and his hypnotic beard.
7:00 p.m. -- That's it. The Nats incredibly lose a game in which the opposing starter issued five walks and two hit batsmen in the first two innings. Final score: Giants 2, Nats 1. Lannan (2-3) takes a very hard-luck loss. Ankiel recorded both of his team's two hits. They did manage to load the bases off Wilson with two outs in the ninth (without recording a hit, of course). But LaRoche struck out swinging at a 3-2 slider up in the zone to end the game.