Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to get back to .500 tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
Nothing too dramatic with Jim Riggleman's lineup tonight. Wilson Ramos is back in behind the plate and batting fifth. Jerry Hairston is again in center field, suggesting Rick Ankiel's right hand remains an issue. Alex Cora starts at third base tonight after Brian Bixler got the call last night.
Jason Marquis starts for the Nationals, looking to continue his early season run of success. He'll be opposed by right-hander Vance Worley, a 23-year-old rookie thrust into the Phillies' rotation after Joe Blanton went on the DL.
Updates to come throughout the evening...
NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 55 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from LF
STARTING LINEUPS7:04 p.m. -- Last-minute lineup change: Michael Morse has been scratched, and Laynce Nix has taken over in left field. Waiting for word on what happened. The Nats already don't have Rick Ankiel due to a lingering wrist injury. If Morse is hurt, too, the Nats are dealing with a really thin bench tonight.
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
Michael MorseLaynce Nix
CF Jerry Hairston
3B Alex Cora
P Jason Marquis
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
1B Ryan Howard
RF Ben Francisco
LF Raul Ibanez
C Brian Schneider
2B Wilson Valdez
P Vance Worley
7:11 p.m. -- Real quick top of the first from Vance Worley, who struck out both Danny Espinosa and Jayson Werth and got Ian Desmond to ground out to short.
7:21 p.m. -- Here's your Morse update: He was scratched with right knee soreness. He is available to play tonight if needed.
7:27 p.m. -- Roy Halladay looks really sharp so far tonight. What? Oh, that's Vance Worley. My mistake. Six of one, half-dozen of the other. Two innings in, only Wilson Ramos has reached base, dropping a double just inside the right-field line. Worley has three strikeouts and has retired six of seven batters faced so far. Scoreless as we go to the bottom of the second.
7:55 p.m. -- We're still scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth, but that doesn't mean there haven't been fireworks. In fact, Jim Riggleman was just ejected arguing balls and strikes. Adam LaRoche took a called third strike on the outside corner (looked like it was outside when it crossed the plate, then tailed back before landing in Brian Schneider's glove). LaRoche was not happy, dropping the bat and muttering to plate umpire Alfonso Marquez as he walked away. Marquez let LaRoche get away with it. He didn't let Riggleman, who took only a couple of steps out of the dugout and didn't appear to say much before he got the boot. So John McLaren will run the club the rest of the night. Meanwhile, both Worley and Marquis are cruising along.
8:12 p.m. -- Unfortunately, some sad news to pass along: Michael Jacob "Jake" Allen, stepson of Nationals senior adviser Davey Johnson, died yesterday in Orlando from infection and pneumonia. Allen, 34, had been hearing and vision impaired since birth. His mother, Susan Johnson, is Davey's wife. "Anyone who knows of Davey and Susan's limitless devotion to Jake, and the positive energy they brought to his life, cannot help but stand humbled," Mike Rizzo said in a statement released by the Nationals. "Their enormous impact on programs and services for the disabled community reflects not only their love for Jake, but also a deep sense of compassion and responsibility." In lieu of flowers, the Johnson family requests that contributions be made, in Jake's memory, to Lighthouse Central Florida in Orlando. A memorial service honoring him will take place at Florida Hospital Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Orlando Friday at 10:30 a.m.
8:26 p.m. -- This just in: Raul Ibanez OWNS the Nationals. He just crushed a solo homer off Marquis to lead off the fifth, putting the Phillies up 1-0. Ibanez is now 4-for-6 with a homer, two doubles and a single in this series. The same Ibanez who was 0 for his last 35 entering his second at-bat last night. Over the last three years, he's got the following stats: .265 average, .340 OBP, .474 slugging, .814 OPS. Over the last three years against the Nats: .349 average, .419 OBP, .692 slugging, 1.111 OPS. That's just insane.
8:32 p.m. -- Well, on the bright side, the Nats' streak of 5-inning starts has been extended to 30 games. On the not-so-bright side, Marquis gave up three runs in the fifth on the Ibanez homer, three singles and a walk. Really started to labor there. So now the Nats are facing a 3-0 deficit that looks insurmountable against Hallad... er, Worley. Sorry, I keep getting these guys confused with each other.
8:46 p.m. -- Whoa, base hit for LaRoche, snapping an 0-for-19 slump. It even went for an RBI double, scoring Espinosa. Nats now trail 3-1 in the sixth.
9:05 p.m. -- Tonight's version of "The Wheels Come Falling Off" is complete. The Nats just gave up four runs in the bottom of the sixth, all of them charged to Marquis, though three of them scored with Brian Broderick on the mound, and one of them was unearned thanks to Ian Desmond's throwing error trying to complete a double play. This one has gotten U-G-L-Y, and fast. Marquis ends up allowing nine of the last 13 batters he faced to reach safely and allows six earned runs on 10 hits in 5-plus innings. Phillies lead 7-1 after six.
9:30 p.m. -- I'd offer some more commentary here, but there's really not much left to say. It's still 7-1, heading to the bottom of the eighth. The Nats have done nothing at the plate tonight. Todd Coffey is now pitching. Sorry, that's all I've got for now.
9:49 p.m. -- Holy cow, Matt Stairs got a hit! That's the 100th pinch-hit of his career.
9:50 p.m. -- And now Danny Espinosa belts a three-run homer to make it 7-4 with two outs in the ninth ... and before I can post that, Ian Desmond grounds out to end the game. Final score: 7-4. It's the Nats' sixth straight loss at Citizens Bank Park, their 29th in their last 38 games here.