Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After a tough loss last night, the Nationals try to bounce back today.
Forgot to mention this last night, but Ian Desmond strained his left quadriceps muscle during the game. He was able to finish the night out, though Jim Riggleman said he would have used a pinch-runner for the shortstop had he reached in the 11th inning. Desmond is out of the lineup today, and though he's available to come off the bench if needed, Riggleman would love to give him the full day off to make sure he's OK.
Meanwhile, it's "Pups in the Park" day at Nationals Park, featuring a couple of very special guests. If you happen to see a five-month-pregnant blond woman with a little 20-pound, light-brown terrier sitting in Section 140, make sure to say hello to Mrs. Z and Tommy!
I'll probably stop down there at some point to see my wife and pup, but I'll remain up here in the press box most of the afternoon to provide the usual array of updates...
MARLINS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Cloudy, 65 degrees, Wind 8 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS1:07 p.m. -- And we are underway on a cloudy (but so far dry) afternoon. The lineup card was delivered by Tillman, touted as "The World's Fastest Skateboarding Dog." So why didn't he ride a skateboard out to the plate? Apparently, the playing surface was deemed "too wet." Come on. What a crock.
CF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
3B Jerry Hairston
SS Alex Cora
P Livan Hernandez
CF Chris Coghlan
2B Omar Infante
SS Hanley Ramirez
1B Gaby Sanchez
LF Logan Morrison
RF Mike Stanton
3B Greg Dobbs
C John Buck
P Anibal Sanchez
1:14 p.m. -- Solid top of the first from Livan Hernandez, who got an assist from Wilson Ramos. The catcher gunned down Hanley Ramirez trying to steal second to end the inning. Ramos has now thrown out five of 11 would-be basestealers, an impressive rate for the rookie.
1:20 p.m. -- Jayson Werth's updated career numbers vs. Anibal Sanchez after striking out to end the first: 2-for-23, 16 strikeouts. Yep.
1:38 p.m. -- The Nats have been aggressive on the bases this season, and for the most part they've done it well. Laynce Nix's stolen base in the second inning was the club's 35th of the season in 45 attempts. That's a 78 percent success rate, better than last year's 73 percent rate. Still scoreless here after two. I'm heading down to the stands for a little while to see Mrs. Z and Tommy. Will be back shortly.
2:28 p.m. -- OK, I'm back. It's the top of the sixth, and it's still scoreless as Livo and Anibal trade zeroes with each other. Both guys are just cruising, with only four total hits between the two teams so far. Sanchez has seven strikeouts. Livo just doing his thing. Not that any of the hundreds of dogs out in the right field bleachers have any idea what's going on. Wow, it's a circus out there. Very cute, but very frantic.
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Mrs. Z and Tommy take in today's game from the right-field bleachers.
3:02 p.m. -- Good news: Jayson Werth finally got a hit off Sanchez. He drilled a leadoff double to left-center in the seventh, making him 3-for-25 with 17 strikeouts in his career against Anibal. Bad news: The Nats couldn't bring Werth in. Laynce Nix struck out looking at a borderline, inside fastball. Adam LaRoche grounded out to second. Wilson Ramos drew a two-out walk, but Jerry Hairston swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to third. We go to the eighth, Nats still trailing 1-0, and Doug Slaten entering to pitch.
3:14 p.m. -- We finally got to see Henry Rodriguez in a somewhat-meaningful situation ... and he responded by striking out both Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez. Nicely done, and a nice development for the Nats, who need to find out if this guy can handle the pressure.
3:21 p.m. -- Still nothin' doin' against Sanchez. Matt Stairs took a high curveball for strike three. Bernadina did send a two-out single to right, but Espinosa popped out to end the eighth. Still 1-0, and here comes Cole Kimball to make his big-league debut.
3:32 p.m. -- Good stuff from Kimball. He issued a two-out walk to Stanton but struck out Gaby Sanchez on an 82 mph pitch that had some serious downward movement. Have to find out what that was, maybe a splitter? So we go to the bottom of the ninth, Leo Nunez in to try to finish it out for the Marlins. Werth, Nix and LaRoche due up.
3:43 p.m. -- Can't say the Nats didn't have a chance. They had runners on first and second with nobody out, but LaRoche hit into a fielder's choice. Then with runners on the corners and one out, Ramos popped out on the first pitch he saw. Hairston then flied out to left to end the game and send the Nats to a frustrating 1-0 loss.