Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez faces Kyle McClellan tonight at Nationals Park.
Livan Hernandez takes the mound for the Nats, hoping to bounce back from a rare off-night in San Diego. The big guy has struggled in recent years against St. Louis, posting a 7.13 ERA in his last three head-to-head encounters.
Livo will be opposed by right-hander Kyle McClellan (just activated off the DL today), who will face a lineup that again has Jayson Werth leading off and the pitcher batting eighth. Roger Bernadina is the No. 2 hitter this evening. Ian Desmond has the honor of batting ninth, behind Livo.
Updates to come...
CARDINALS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Sunny, 79 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS7:08 p.m. -- And we're underway with a ball from Livan Hernandez to Ryan Theriot. I thought I had posted a news update here earlier, but it appears to have disappeared. The gist of it: Tom Gorzelanny will come off the DL and start Sunday against the Orioles. Yunesky Maya has been optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, and Collin Balester has been recalled, giving the Nats a seven-man bullpen again.
RF Jayson Werth
CF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Laynce Nix
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez
P Livan Hernandez
SS Ian Desmond
SS Ryan Theriot
CF Colby Rasmus
3B Albert Pujols
1B Lance Berkman
RF Anthony Brown
LF Jon Jay
C Yadier Molina
2B Skip Schumaker
P Kyle McClellan
7:16 p.m. -- A very quick bottom of the first for Kyle McClellan. He needed only seven pitches to retire the side, striking out Jayson Werth on three pitches (the last one a curveball), getting Roger Bernadina to line out to right and Ryan Zimmerman to fly out to center. Scoreless here after one.
7:28 p.m. -- Your new club leader in home runs is ... Michael Morse. Crushed a 3-1 fastball from McClellan into the left-field bullpen for his 11th homer of the season (one better than Danny Espinosa). Nats take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
7:36 p.m. -- Nine St. Louis batters up, nine St. Louis batters down. Very smooth start to this game for Livo, who has allowed only two balls to leave the infield. Thirty-three pitches, 21 strikes so far.
7:48 p.m. -- Ryan Zimmerman delivers. Two-out base hit up the middle scores Werth (who had reached earlier on Pujols' throwing error). So Zim now has six RBI in 10 games, as many as Alex Cora has in 47 games and only three fewer than Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina, who have between four and five times as many at-bats this season! Nats lead 2-0 after three.
7:56 p.m. -- Another fine throw by Ivan Rodriguez to nail Theriot trying to steal second. Pudge and Wilson Ramos have now combined to gun down 20 of 42 would-be basestealers, the best percentage in the majors.
8:12 p.m. -- You can't stop the Nats lineup, you can only hope to contain it. Four innings down, and they've opened up a 5-0 lead. Doubles from Morse and Espinosa, followed by an RBI single from Pudge and then Pujols' second error of the night at third base. (Remind me again why he's playing over there?) Morse, by the way, continues his torrid pace at the plate. Over his last 35-plus games, he's now batting .371 with 10 homers, 29 RBI and a .690 slugging percentage. Either this is one really long hot streak, or this guy is just legit. Bernadina adds a bloop RBI double of his own, and the Nats are just on fire right now. They've now scored 13 runs in 12 innings against the Cards after scoring a total of 12 runs their previous six games combined.
8:31 p.m. -- Six innings in the book for Livo, only two hits allowed. Four strikeouts, too. Just cruising along. Nats lead 5-0.
8:42 p.m. -- Make it 6-0 Nats after Pudge strokes a double to right-center, takes third on a perfect sac bunt by Livo (who got a real nice ovation from the crowd for it) and then scores on Desmond's sharp single up the middle. It's truly remarkable how crisp this lineup has looked the last two nights. You hate to say this all the effect of Zimmerman's return, but it certainly hasn't hurt.
8:49 p.m. -- Smooth and easy as ever, Livo just continues to cruise along. Seven innings are in the books, and he's still allowed only the two hits. He's only faced one more than the minimum. Seventy-six pitches, 52 strikes. Nats lead 6-0 at the stretch.
8:57 p.m. -- Man, I gotta update those Morse numbers again. He just destroyed a pitch from Ryan Franklin for his second homer of the night, this one scoring a pair of runs. Morse now has 12 homers on the season, and the Nats now have an 8-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh.
9:02 p.m. -- 9-0 as Espinosa goes back-to-back with a second-deck shot to right. Good lord, where did this come from?
9:15 p.m. -- Eight innings in the books, and not a creature is stirring in the Nationals bullpen. Livo's at 90 pitches and showing no signs of tiring. Up nine runs, he'll get a shot to record the 50th complete game of his career.
9:20 p.m. -- Ryan Zimmerman, before yesterday's game: "Me coming back is not going to make us score 10 runs every night." I suppose Zim is technically correct. But in two games since his return, the Nats have now scored 19 runs. Werth just homered to make it 10-0 here tonight.
9:31 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. And what a ballgame it was. Nats win 10-0 in one of the most complete performances by this team I can remember over the last 6 1/2 seasons. Speaking of complete ... Livo goes the distance for his 50th career complete game. Only one other active pitcher has recorded more: Roy Halladay, with 62.