Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez faces Roy Halladay on Memorial Day at Nationals Park.
Those fans from up north will be cheering on Roy Halladay, who as you surely know by now owns the Nationals like no other pitcher. His current career totals against the franchise: 10-1, 2.01 ERA. Since joining the Phillies last season: 5-0, 1.15 ERA.
Jim Riggleman sends out a lineup today that does not include Roger Bernadina or Ian Desmond. Desmond, according to Riggleman, is dealing with some "aches and pains," but could play if needed. Bernadina is simply the odd man out today as Riggleman tries to rotate three players into two outfield positions: Bernadina, Rick Ankiel and Laynce Nix.
Plenty of updates to come, including whatever happens in the Presidents' Race, so please check back often...
PHILLIES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS1:08 p.m. -- We're underway with Livan Hernandez getting Jimmy Rollins to fly out to right on the first pitch. Ninety-two degrees at gametime. Big crowd on hand, lots of them, of course, Phillies fans. All MLB teams are wearing special, two-toned, white-and-red patriotic hats today. Can't say they really go well with the Nats' navy blue jerseys.
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Jayson Werth
LF Laynce Nix
1B Michael Morse
C Wilson Ramos
3B Jerry Hairston
SS Alex Cora
P Livan Hernandez
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
RF Domonic Brown
CF John Mayberry Jr.
P Roy Halladay
1:24 p.m. -- Well, if nothing else, we know the Nats will not get no-hit today. Rick Ankiel took care of that by lacing a single to center to begin the bottom of the first. That was, by the way, only the 10th time in 53 games this season the Nationals' leadoff batter reached safely in the first inning. Ankiel didn't score, of course, because Danny Espinosa struck out, Jayson Werth grounded out and Laynce Nix struck out looking at a 2-2 breaking ball from Roy Halladay. So we're scoreless after one.
1:35 p.m. -- When Michael Morse gets hot, he gets really hot. Clubbed a solo homer into the Red Porch to lead off the second, putting the Nats up 1-0. That's Morse's seventh homer of the season but his fifth in seven games. Pretty impressive.
1:41 p.m. -- Make it 2-0 Nats after Livo drops a sweet squeeze bunt to score Jerry Hairston from third. They've produced four hits off Halladay in two innings, not bad.
1:51 p.m. -- The Phillies threaten in the top of the third, but Livo comes up big when he needs to. After John Mayberry blooped a double down the right-field line and Halladay sacrificed him to third, Hernandez struck out Jimmy Rollins on a 3-2, inside fastball. He then got Placido Polanco to line out to third, ending the inning with the Nationals maintaining a 2-0 lead.
2:00 p.m. -- A question: Why would Werth try to steal second with two outs in the bottom of the third and take the bat out of the hands of your hottest hitter (Morse)? Strange, to say the least.
2:17 p.m. -- So much for the lead. Ryan Howard blasts one into the right-center bleachers and Raul Ibanez follows with his own solo shot into the right-field bullpen. Seriously, why do the Nats even bother pitching to Ibanez anymore? Just hold up four fingers and let him run around the bases unfettered. At least you avoid anyone getting hurt. Add a double from Carlos Ruiz and a single from Domonic Brown, and it's now 3-2 Phillies as we head to the middle of the fourth ... and here come the Racing Presidents ...
2:19 p.m. -- And Teddy loses by a country mile. Again.
2:42 p.m. -- At long last, the Nationals have decided to intentionally walk Ibanez. Only took 15 homers and 10 doubles over the last 2 1/2 years for them to come to their senses. An the strategy actually worked, because Carlos Ruiz popped out to end the top of the fifth. Still 3-2 Phillies.
2:51 p.m. -- Hey, another solo homer! Espinosa takes Halladay deep to right in the bottom of the fifth, and we're tied 3-3. That's Espinosa's eighth of the season, tied with Werth and Morse for the club lead. It's also the fifth solo homer in four games on this homestand for the Nats. At least this one didn't lead off an inning.
3:01 p.m. -- Laynce Nix: leadoff homer in the sixth. Have you picked up on the recurring theme here? Amazing, that's the Nats' sixth solo homer in four games, five of them leading off an inning. This one puts them back on top, 4-3.
3:10 p.m. -- That'll do it for Livo, who had to battle to get through 6 1/3 innings today. With one out and a man on first, Riggleman has summoned Sean Burnett to face Utley, Howard and Ibanez. It's a double-switch, with Ian Desmond taking over at shortstop and Alex Cora sliding over to third base.
3:21 p.m. -- We've been pointing out how bad Doug Slaten has been at letting inherited runners score (12 of 24). Well, Sean Burnett has been even worse (9 of 17 after blowing the lead just now). Burnett walked Utley, gave up an RBI single to Howard and then a sacrifice fly to Ibanez. Phillies now lead 5-4 at the seventh-inning stretch.
3:35 p.m. -- The Nationals have produced 10 hits (at least one in each of seven innings) against Halladay. And they're still losing after squandering a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. Alex Cora led off with a double, then Ian Desmond put down a perfect bunt single. First and third, nobody out. What could go wrong? Oh, plenty. Rick Ankiel smoked a comebacker that was knocked down by Halladay, who noticed Cora had broken from third and got him in a rundown. Now with runners on first and second and one out, Danny Espinosa's fly ball to left couldn't score a run. And Jayson Werth capped it off by striking out on a 94 mph heater from Halladay. Still 5-4 Phillies after seven.
3:58 p.m. -- Another opportunity for the Nats in the eighth after Morse was hit by a pitch and then was safe at second when Utley couldn't keep his foot on the bag trying to turn a double play. So with the tying run on second and two out, none other than Matt Stairs came up to bat. And he promptly grounded out to second, falling to 3-for-34 for the season (2-for-23 as a pinch-hitter). It's still 5-4.
4:13 p.m. -- Last chance for the Nats. It'll be Cora, Desmond and Ankiel against Ryan Madson in the ninth.
4:22 p.m. -- That'll do it. The Nats go down quietly in the ninth and lose 5-4. Another eminently winnable ballgame. In fact, they've now lost three in a row, all by one run.