Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals try to win their fifth straight series this afternoon.
McLaren's third and final Nationals lineup has Jayson Werth (hitting .171 with a .316 slugging percentage this month) in the 2-hole, behind Roger Bernadina. Ryan Zimmerman returns to play third base after serving as DH yesterday. Laynce Nix is today's DH. Ian Desmond gets a day off, with Alex Cora filling in at shortstop. Matt Stairs (who has yet to appear in this series) remains on the bench.
Livan Hernandez starts for the Nats. He labored through his last start but at the time insisted an easy mechanical fix -- he was trying to throw his sinker from too much over the top -- should get things back on track. We'll see.
Game updates to come here, and any other news (including the expected official Davey announcement) can of course be found on the homepage...
NATIONALS at WHITE SOX
Where: U.S. Cellular Field
Gametime: 2:10 p.m.
TV: MASN, Ch. 50
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 180
Weather: Partly cloudy, 72 degrees, Wind 14 mph in from LF
STARTING LINEUPS1:49 p.m. -- If you haven't seen it yet, the Nats officially named Davey Johnson manager for the remainder of this season. They also announced he's signed a three-year consulting contract that runs through 2013. What this means: The club is required by MLB to conduct a full managerial search after the season. Johnson will be a candidate (and the obvious frontrunner). If he returns, the Nats already hold a 2012 option on him. So his contract terms are already established. Full story here, and I'll be updating it shortly...
CF Roger Bernadina
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
DH Laynce Nix
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
LF Jerry Hairston
SS Alex Cora
(P Livan Hernandez)
WHITE SOX (38-40)
LF Juan Pierre
SS Omar Vizquel
RF Carlos Quentin
1B Paul Konerko
DH Adam Dunn
CF Alex Rios
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Mark Teahen
2B Gordon Beckham
(P Philip Humber)
2:10 p.m. -- We're underway with a strike from Philip Humber to Roger Bernadina.
2:28 p.m. -- Big spot for Adam Dunn in the bottom of the first, with two on and two out. But the big guy was caught looking at an offspeed pitch from the other big guy, Livo, to end the inning. Sorry I can't be more specific about it than referring to it as an offspeed pitch. The press box here at U.S. Cellular Field is way down the right-field line, so we have no perspective on pitch location or movement at all.
2:42 p.m. -- Two scoreless innings in the books, though there was a bit of a scary moment to end the second. Gordon Beckham popped a ball up in front of the pitcher's mound. Livo, Zimmerman and Morse all went for it, with Livo standing in the middle looking straight up. Morse eventually called for the ball and made the catch, but only after Zimmerman barreled into Livo. Hey Ryan, not the guy you want to do that to!
3:01 p.m. -- The White Sox get on the board in the bottom of the third, in part because Roger Bernadina could not catch a fly ball straight over his head. Not the easiest play in the world, but a major-league center fielder needs to look better trying to make it than Bernadina just did. The inning could have been worse, though, had Dunn not struck out again. He's now whiffed in five of his last six plate appearances, with the other one being a walk. Fans here are all over him. Nats trail 1-0 after three.
3:25 p.m. -- Four innings in the books, and the Nats do not yet have a hit off Philip Humber. Only guy to reach base was Bernadina, who was hit by a pitch. But he was quickly erased on a double play off Zimmerman's bat. Still 1-0 Chicago.
3:35 p.m. -- Five innings down, Humber's no-hitter is intact.
4:05 p.m. -- Jerry Hairston to the rescue. Base hit up the middle to lead off the sizth and break up Humber's no-hitter. The shutout, however, remains intact. It's still 1-0.
4:12 p.m. -- Danny Espinosa to the rescue! Two-run homer to right in the top of the seventh, and all of a sudden the Nats have a 2-1 lead even though they've only got two hits today. The JuggerNats are back in business.
4:31 p.m. -- Job well done by Livan Hernandez, who departs with two outs in the seventh. He allowed one run on eight hits but struck out nine(!) on an astounding 123(!) pitches. Tyler Clippard on to face Paul Konerko in a big spot.
4:36 p.m. -- You know, they don't call this the Windy City for nothing. Konerko absolutely crushed ball off Clippard, only to see it caught at the warning track by Hairston. Would have been gone in any other town. Not in Chicago when the wind in coming in off Lake Michigan. It's still 2-1 after seven.
4:42 p.m. -- Livo's nine strikeouts, by the way, were his most in seven(!) seasons. Hadn't done that since Sept. 26, 2004 against the Phillies.
4:45 p.m. -- Adam Dunn with his seventh strikeout in two days. The fans here are, um, a bit displeased with their $56 million DH. Mike Rizzo, on the other hand, couldn't be happier.
4:55 p.m. -- We go to the bottom of the ninth, and interestingly, Sean Burnett is back on the mound. Left-handed-hitting Mark Teahen will lead off, but he could be pinch-hit for. Actually, he will. Brent Lillibridge is announced as the pinch-hitter, and now John McLaren will summon Drew Storen. Johnny Mac: Savoring every last minute of his three days as manager.
5:05 p.m. -- It's over. The JuggerNats win another 2-1 game. That's incredibly the eighth time this month they've won when scoring two runs or fewer. Also, they've now won 13 of 15, sending John McLaren out in style.