Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Chase Field hosts the third game of this four-game series.
We do know Livan Hernandez will make the start for the Nationals, hoping to emerge victorious for the first time in a long time. He hasn't won in his last six starts, despite having allowed three or fewer earned runs in three of those outings. Left-hander Joe Saunders, a native of Springfield, Va., starts for Arizona, looking to earn his third consecutive victory.
I'll be sure to post the lineup as soon as it becomes available. And, of course, there will be plenty of updates throughout the game...
UPDATE AT 5:01 P.M. -- The lineup has been posted, and Jayson Werth is back after missing last night's game. The one tweak is that Riggleman is using Jerry Hairston as his leadoff man tonight, with Roger Bernadina sitting against the lefty and Rick Ankiel batting seventh.
NATIONALS at DIAMONDBACKS
Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 8:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Sunny, 99 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS6:08 p.m. -- If you haven't seen it yet, Doug Slaten has been placed on the DL with left elbow inflammation and Craig Stammen has been recalled from Syracuse. Stammen, who has been a starter in the minors, will pitch out of the Nationals' bullpen. Jim Riggleman said the plan is for Yunesky Maya to remain in the rotation.
3B Jerry Hairston
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
CF Rick Ankiel
LF Brian Bixler
P Livan Hernandez
3B Ryan Roberts
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Justin Upton
SS Stephen Drew
CF Chris Young
1B Xavier Nady
LF Gerardo Parra
C Henry Blanco
P Joe Saunders
8:10 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Joe Saunders to Jerry Hairston. It's 98 degrees outside, but the roof is closed at the moment, so it's only 78 degrees indoors. Will be curious to see if they open it at some point during the game once the sun has gone down.
8:22 p.m. -- Chance for the Nats to get on the board in the top of the first, but nothing to show for it. With runners on the corners and one out, Michael Morse swung and missed a 2-2 fastball from Saunders. Kind of surprising he was late on that pitch, not exactly an overpowering one. Anyways, Danny Espinosa walked to load the bases, but Wilson Ramos lofted a lazy fly ball to center to end the inning.
8:33 p.m. -- Unlike the Nats, the Diamondbacks do get on the board in the first. With two outs and a man on first, Stephen Drew belted a 79 mph pitch right down the heart of the plate from Livan Hernandez off the center-field wall. By the time Rick Ankiel corralled it, Kelly Johnson had scored and Drew had coasted into third with a triple. Arizona leads 1-0 after one.
8:55 p.m. -- Uh-oh, looks like Morse's long swing has returned. He's struck out in four of his last six at-bats, including both of tonight's plate appearances. Each of them has come with a man in scoring position. And when Espinosa tapped a weak comebacker to the mound to end the third, the Nats fell to 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position tonight. Still 1-0 Diamondbacks as we go to the bottom of the third.
9:06 p.m. -- Rick Ankiel over his last 11-plus games: .071 average, .071 OBP, .071 slugging percentage. I know this guy's arm is as good as it gets, and I know the Nats' outfield options are limited. But seriously, there's got to be a better option than this, right?
9:18 p.m. -- Credit to Livo for pitching his way out of a jam in the fourth. With two on and nobody out, he struck out Chris Young, got Xavier Nady to reach at an outside pitch and fly out to the warning track in right and got Gerardo Parra to ground out to first. We go to the fifth, Nats still trail 1-0.
9:37 p.m. -- That would be 11 batters in a row retired by Sandy Koufax...er, Joe Saunders. My mistake.
9:53 p.m. -- The Nats are now six outs away from being shut out for the ninth time this season, the third time by a score of 1-0 (all of them in games started by Livo).
10:07 p.m. -- Well, on the bright side, the Nationals can no longer lose this game 1-0. Nady doubles in Young in the bottom of the seventh, giving the D'backs what looks like an insurmountable 2-0 lead. Interesting, though, that Kirk Gibson pinch-hit for Saunders, who had retired 14 in a row. David Hernandez on to pitch the eighth.
10:21 p.m. -- Ugh. The Nats finally threatened again in the eighth, getting a two-out single from Laynce Nix (pinch-hitting for Desmond). Werth came up representing the tying run, but the D'backs clearly pitched around him (four straight balls) to get to Morse. And for the third time tonight, Morse strikes out with runners in scoring position. Still 2-0 heading to the bottom of the eighth.
10:30 p.m. -- Here we go, last shot for the Nats. J.J. Putz on to pitch the ninth. It'll be Espinosa, Ramos and Ankiel. If anyone gets on, gotta think someone will pinch-hit for Bixler.
10:41 p.m. -- They got a two-out double from Ankiel (who crushed the ball to left-center), but that's it. Final score: D'backs 2, Nats 0. Ninth time this season the Nats have been shut out. Fifth time they've been shut out in Livan Hernandez's 13 starts.