Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jason Marquis faces Kevin Correia today at Nationals Park.
To do that, they'll need to get another quality start out of Jason Marquis, not to mention a couple of timely hits off Kevin Correia (who is shooting for his NL-leading 11th win). Unfortunately, they'll be without one of their top run producers: Michael Morse, who is still feeling the effects of a fastball to the left forearm late in last night's game. X-rays came back negative, but Davey Johnson is still giving Morse a day off.
The other big news of the day is the announcement of this year's All-Star teams. The selection show airs on TBS at noon, and I can assure you it will be watched closely by everyone in the Nationals clubhouse.
Check the homepage for news on the Midsummer Classic, and check back here for updates throughout today's game...
PIRATES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 86 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS12:50 p.m. -- All-Star news: Tyler Clippard has made the team as a member of the NL bullpen. Michael Morse is also still in the running as one of five players up for the Final Man vote on MLB.com. Full story with quotes from both guys here.
LF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Matt Stairs
RF Jayson Werth
CF Rick Ankiel
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
P Jason Marquis
LF Alex Presley
SS Chase d'Arnaud
RF Garrett Jones
CF Andrew McCutchen
2B Neil Walker
1B Lyle Overbay
3B Brandon Wood
C Mike McKenry
P Kevin Correia
1:37 p.m. -- And we are underway with a strike from Jason Marquis to Alex Presley. It's a scorcher today, 91 degrees at first pitch and a threat of storms later this afternoon.
1:50 p.m. -- Really shaky top of the first for Marquis. Four singles, a throwing error on an attempted forceout at second base (though Danny Espinosa will surely say he should've caught that ball) and the Pirates have stormed out to a 3-0 lead. No real cheapies, either. Marquis got hit hard, even on Mike McKenry's deep fly ball to center to end the inning. The Nats have their work cut out for them now.
2:04 p.m. -- Two things of note in the bottom of the first: 1) 43-year-old cleanup hitter Matt Stairs beat out an infield single. Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds. It's still true. 2) Jayson Werth struck out with two on and two out. Over his last 10 games, he's now got seven total bases and 18 strikeouts.
2:17 p.m. -- It's probably safe to say that if the Nationals clubhouse was allowed to pick the entire All-Star roster, Andrew McCutchen would be a unanimous selection. The Pirates center fielder has just killed the Nats this weekend, and after roping another RBI double (his sixth extra-base hit of the series) the score is now 6-0 and Marquis is done. In a very 2010-like performance, the right-hander gives up six runs (so far) having recorded only four outs. Yikes. ... Whoops, make it 7-0 after McCutchen scores on Neil Walker's single off Collin Balester. Wow.
2:22 p.m. -- Oy, it's 8-0 after another double. Prediction: Matt Stairs will pitch in this game before it's over.
2:29 p.m. -- Wilson Ramos gets the Nats on the board with a 2-run homer, "trimming" the lead to 8-2. Marquis, by the way, saw his ERA skyrocket from 3.62 to 4.11 in the span of about 45 minutes. During that same span, his track stock plummeted worse than BP oil.
2:51 p.m. -- Three innings in the books. It's still 8-2. It's still really hot.
3:08 p.m. -- Four innings in the books. It's still 8-2. It's still really hot. Sorry, I got nothing else for you right now.
3:11 p.m. -- I take it back. I do have something else for you: Ramon Ortiz will be starting Tuesday night for the Cubs against the Nats. Yes, THAT Ramon Ortiz. It's crazy, man!
3:33 p.m. -- Well, if nothing else, Collin Balester did a nice job getting this game under control. Four scoreless innings of relief, keeping the deficit at 8-2. Henry Rodriguez now on to pitch with one out and two on the sixth.
3:44 p.m. -- Maybe Balester should have just stayed in there til his arm fell off. Rodriguez certainly didn't perform any better, especially when he walked No. 8 hitter Mike McKenry with the bases loaded. Two runs score in the sixth, and it's now 10-2 Pirates.
3:48 p.m. -- Ouch. Werth drilled in the left hand/wrist by a Correia fastball. He's coming out of the game, replaced by Brian Bixler.
4:01 p.m. -- Seventh-inning stretch. Still 10-2. There are at least five people currently trying to hoist a guy in a Spongebob Squarepants costume onto the dugout. They can't do it.
4:05 p.m. -- Now they're trying to get Spongebob back up about 100 steps to the top of the concourse. Sideways, because he's too fat to make it up the aisle the normal way. And yes, this is more interesting than this game right now.
4:24 p.m. -- We go to the ninth. It's still 10-2. It's still really hot. Fortunately, this game is almost over.
4:46 p.m. -- And that will do it. For all intents and purposes, this game ended about 2 1/2 hours ago. But it's now officially over. Nats lose 10-2. They're back to one game under .500 heading into tomorrow's Independence Day tilt with the Cubs.