Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
U.S. Cellular Field hosts the Nationals tonight.
John McLaren is managing the Nationals tonight, and probably will be managing for a couple of days until Mike Rizzo names his permanent interim manger. The coaching staff remains intact, with Trent Jewett (who has traveled with the club all season as an extra coach) essentially taking over as bench coach for the moment.
McLaren's first lineup bears some similarities to the ones Jim Riggleman wrote out over the last week. Jayson Werth leads off. Since this is an interleague game in an AL park, the pitcher isn't batting, so we don't know if he would continue to hit the pitcher eighth. Laynce Nix will DH tonight, though, with Jerry Hairston in left field.
Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound for the Nationals, looking to continue his hot streak and the team's hot streak. A win tonight would be the Nats' 12th in their last 13 games. Right-hander Edwin Jackson (whose name came up in trade discussions last summer) starts for the White Sox. Slumping Adam Dunn is batting sixth.
Plenty of updates to come, and catch me live on Comcast SportsNet at 6 p.m. Eastern...
NATIONALS at WHITE SOX
Where: U.S. Cellular Field
Gametime: 8:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 180
Weather: Partly cloudy, 68 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to LF
STARTING LINEUPS6:30 p.m. -- Lineup change for the White Sox: Carlos Quentin was scratched, so Alexei Ramirez moves into the No. 3 spot, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and A.J. Pierzynski each move up a slot and Brent Lillibridge takes over in right field.
RF Jayson Werth
CF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
DH Laynce Nix
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
LF Jerry Hairston
SS Ian Desmond
(P Jordan Zimmermann)
WHITE SOX (37-39)
LF Juan Pierre
3B Brent Morel
SS Alexei Ramirez
1B Paul Konerko
DH Adam Dunn
CF Alex Rios
C A.J. Pierzynski
RF Brent Lillibridge
2B Gordon Beckham
(P Edwin Jackson)
6:35 p.m. -- And here's some actual, earth-shattering, breaking news: Chien-Ming Wang will begin a rehab assignment Monday with low-Class A Hagerstown!
7:55 p.m. -- Davey Johnson has been in discussions with Mike Rizzo about taking over as interim manager for the remainder of the season, and the former big-league skipper could start the job within days. Read my full story on CSN.
8:10 p.m. -- We are underway, and Jayson Werth strikes out to start the game.
8:26 p.m. -- One inning down, and though there's no score, there's been plenty of intrigue already. The Nats went down in order in the top of the inning, with Ryan Zimmerman getting rung up by plate umpire Jeff Nelson and not liking it one bit. The White Sox, meanwhile, had runners on the corners with one out (thanks to a leadoff walk and later another error on Jayson Werth trying to pick up a ball bare-handed). Jordan Zimmermann, though, got out of it when Paul Konerko lined out to third and Adam Dunn was called out on a check swing. Dunner was equally as mad at Nelson as his old buddy Zim was. Interesting first inning, even though it's 0-0.
8:43 p.m. -- Zimmermann isn't exactly sharp so far tonight, but he's escaped unscathed through two innings. Singles by A.J. Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham were sandwiched around a drive to the warning track by Brent Lillibridge. Zimmermann battled to get Juan Pierre to ground out to second and end the inning, still scoreless.
8:53 p.m. -- So, Edwin Jackson has struck out six of the first 10 batters he'd faced tonight. Good thing the Nats don't have anyone like that in their rotation...
9:13 p.m. -- Chance for the Nats in the fourth after Morse drew a two-out walk and Espinosa singled to right. But Ramos struck out for the second time tonight, becoming Jackson's seventh K victim in four innings. The guy looks pretty good.
9:20 p.m. -- Adam Dunn is hearing it from the White Sox faithful. Struck out for the second time tonight, and the crowd let him have it. Still scoreless after four.
9:47 p.m. -- The good news: The Nats haven't allowed a run in their last 19 innings. The bad news: They've only scored one run themselves during that span, on Laynce Nix's walk-off sac fly yesterday. Jackson and Zimmermann cruising here tonight, still scoreless going to the bottom of the sixth.
9:55 p.m. -- Oh my lord, Roger Bernadina stone-cold robs Adam Dunn of a home run. Went way over the fence to snag it, drawing cheers from the Nats dugout and disgust from Dunn, who thought he had connected. It's still 0-0 after six.
10:15 p.m. -- It's not a finalized deal yet, but Davey Johnson will be the Nats' manager, a club source has confirmed.
10:19 p.m. -- Meanwhile, it's still scoreless here in the eighth inning. On the bright side, Edwin Jackson is out of the game. On the even brighter side, Brian Bruney is currently warming in the White Sox bullpen.
10:23 p.m. -- And here comes Bruney to face Morse with two outs and the go-ahead run on third.
10:27 p.m. -- Ladies and gentlemen: Michael Morse. 430-foot bomb to straight center field off a Bruney meatball. Nats take a 2-0 lead in the eighth. Jordan Zimmermann's now in line for the win. Henry Rodriguez will pitch the bottom of the eighth.
10:39 p.m. -- Holy cow! John McLaren (and Jerry Hairston) have been ejected after the umps overturned a call of what looked like the final out of the eighth at first base. Ian Desmond threw wide of the bag, but Morse caught the ball and tried to tag Konerko in the leg. First base ump Mike Estabrook called him out, but after Ozzie Guillen came out to argue, Estabrook conferred with his crew mates. They reversed the call, and McLaren went ballistic. He's gone. So is Hairston, who also went ballistic. So who's the Nats manager right now? We have no idea!
10:44 p.m. -- And after all that, Sean Burnett gets Adam Dunn to ground out to second, with Espinosa playing the shift and standing in perfect position. It's still 2-0 after eight, and we still don't know who the manager is at the moment. Bo Porter is at third base, Dan Radison is at first base. ... Wait, I have confirmation from a team spokesman: Trent Jewett is officially the interim interim interim manager.
10:51 p.m. -- It's now 3-0 after Ian Desmond drives in Wilson Ramos. Things appear to be calming down here a bit. Also, if Trent Jewett gets ejected from this game, I'm told Speaker of the House John Boehner is next in the managerial line of succession.
10:55 p.m. -- And we go to the bottom of the ninth. Drew Storen on in search of his 19th save.
11:04 p.m. -- Because the last 36 hours haven't been crazy enough: Storen serves up a 3-run, game-tying homer to pinch-hitter Mark Teahen. It's 3-3 now. Unreal.
11:09 p.m. -- And we go to the 10th...
11:16 p.m. -- Laynce Nix to the rescue again! Solo homer in the top of the 10th puts the Nats back on top, 4-3. Looks like Todd Coffey will pitch the bottom of the inning in search of the save.
11:34 p.m. -- Oh, dear. Coffey uncorks a wild pitch with the bases loaded, leaving the game tied 4-4.
11:39 p.m. -- Yet he somehow pitches his way out of the jam. Strikes out Lillibridge, gets Teahen to pop out. We go to the 11th.
11:44 p.m. -- For those wondering, it appears Tyler Clippard is not available to pitch tonight. He threw in the last two games.
11:51 p.m. -- So it's Ryan Mattheus to pitch the bottom of the 11th. He'll face the top of the Chicago lineup: Pierre, Morel and Ramirez. Fortunately, Konerko is out of the game, so Omar Vizquel is now the cleanup hitter.
12:00 a.m. -- We go to the 12th! If this game doesn't end soon, Davey Johnson may be in uniform before it's over.
12:08 a.m. -- Hmm, now Clippard is warming in the pen. Guess McLaren/Jewett/Davey/Teddy wanted to avoid using him tonight but are willing to in an emergency. It's getting to that point.
12:16 a.m. -- That there was some big-time Brian Bixler Magic. Doubles to deep right field for his first RBI of the season, scoring Nix to put the Nats up 5-4. And now Clippard will come on for the save. The Nats bullpen has already blown two save opportunities tonight.
12:24 a.m. -- I don't believe what I just saw. A.J. Pierzynski. Solo homer off Clippard. Third blown save by Nats bullpen in four innings. It's 5-5.
12:27 a.m. -- Let's play 13.
12:38 a.m. -- Roger Bernadina with his third infield single in six innings, but Laynce Nix and Michael Morse can't drive him in. So we go to the bottom of the 13th, and Collin Balester (the last man in the pen) is on to pitch. Figure he goes as long as he's capable. After that? Livo?
12:44 a.m. -- Let's play 14.
1:00 a.m. -- More Brian Bixler Magic! He hustled down the line to beat out a infield grounder, then stole second without a throw, then scored when shortstop Alexei Ramirez threw wild on Ian Desmond's grounder. Add a Roger Bernadina RBI single, and then a Ryan Zimmerman two-run double and the Nats are back on top, 9-5. And the good news is that there won't be a chance to blow the save now. Because Balester pitched the last inning, he'll be in line for the win.
1:01 a.m. -- 14th inning stretch!
1:08 a.m. -- And after all that, the Nationals have now won 12 of their last 13 games. Final score: 9-5 in 14 innings. Who needs a manager, anyways?