Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez faces Daniel Hudson tonight at Nationals Park.
With Werth out of the lineup, Laynce Nix slides over to right field, with Jonny Gomes starting in left field. The rest of the lineup looks familiar for a Nats squad that has been going with mostly the status quo for a while now.
Livan Hernandez gets the start against fellow right-hander Daniel Hudson. Hudson's name, you'll recall, came up last summer when Mike Rizzo was talking with the White Sox about a deal for Adam Dunn. Hudson wound up going to Arizona in the Edwin Jackson deal, and he's proceeded to post a solid season for the NL West-leading Diamondbacks (12-9, 3.83 ERA).
Updates to come...
DIAMONDBACKS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to LF
STARTING LINEUPS6:00 p.m. -- It's official: Stephen Strasburg will start Saturday for Class AAA Syracuse. That means he'll also bat for the first time during his rehab assignment, which means he took a round of BP this afternoon. Read about how that went, and more details about the plan moving forward, in my full story.
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Laynce Nix
LF Jonny Gomes
C Wilson Ramos
P Livan Hernandez
3B Ryan Roberts
LF Gerardo Parra
RF Justin Upton
C Miguel Montero
CF Chris Young
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Aaron Hill
SS John McDonald
P Daniel Hudson
6:05 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the update on Jayson Werth: Davey Johnson said he would play tonight "if we were in a pennant race. But there's no sense. He'd have to wrap it. We're just going to take it one day at a time." Johnson did say Werth could pinch-hit tonight, but would have to be subbed out by a pinch-runner if he reached base. Werth declined to comment when approached by reporters before the game.
6:08 p.m. -- Finally, an Ivan Rodriguez update: He's planning to take batting practice on the field tomorrow. If he progresses well, he'd go on a minor-league rehab assignment and serve as DH for a few days. Still, Johnson said Pudge won't be allowed to do that until he establishes he can swing a bat without experiencing any "grabbing" sensation in his strained oblique muscle. Even at the fastest possible rate, Rodriguez would not be ready to come off the DL before rosters expand on Sept. 1.
7:07 p.m. -- And we're underway with a strike from Livan Hernandez to Ryan Roberts. Very sparse crowd here tonight.
7:15 p.m. -- A strange (and frankly, very slow) top of the first ends on a high note for the Nats. After Livo put the game's first two batters on via singles (one of them a bunt in front of the plate that Wilson Ramos fielded and threw low to first, with Michael Morse pulling his foot off the bag) the big guy came up big. He struck out Justin Upton on a nasty, 78 mph pitch (a changeup? a slider? a screwball?), then got Miguel Montero to rap a grounder to first. Morse then started a nifty, 3-6-1 double play to end the inning. Nicely done.
7:27 p.m. -- A much more efficient top of the second for Livo, who got a pair of groundballs and then struck out Aaron Hill on a trademark Bugs Bunny curveball. The Nats tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the first when Ian Desmond led off with a single. But he was cut down trying to steal second as Ryan Zimmerman struck out to end the inning. Still scoreless here going to the bottom of the second.
7:36 p.m. -- Wow, we just witnessed history here at Nationals Park! Two infield flies in the same inning! That ties an MLB record (which has probably been set thousands of times previously). But still, what an honor to have been here for such a momentous event! Oh, it's still scoreless after two.
7:48 p.m. -- Well, at least Desmond is starting to hit again. He's 2-for-2 tonight and has now raised his season average to .236, the highest it's been since June 18. Unfortunately, the Nats haven't been able to advance him so far tonight. Still scoreless after three.
8:01 p.m. -- That wasn't very pretty. With two outs and a man on first, Livan Hernandez served up a double to Chris Young down the left-field line. Upton was going to hold at third base, but Jonny Gomes butchered the carom off the wall, and that error allowed the run to score. Moments later, Lyle Overbay sneaked a base hit past a diving Morse at first base, bringing another run home. All of a sudden, it's 2-0 D'backs in the fourth. On the bright side, Livo has been very efficient. He's thrown 38 of 49 pitches for strikes so far.
8:14 p.m. -- Let's see, we've played 4 1/2 innings tonight, and the Nats haven't scored. They were shut out last night over nine innings. And they didn't score in any of the last four innings of Monday night's win. So by my count, that's 17 consecutive scoreless innings for the Nationals' lineup. That's not good.
8:18 p.m. -- Make that 18 consecutive scoreless innings after a 1-2-3 fifth.
8:27 p.m. -- Livo continues to deal and pound the strike zone. Through six innings, he's thrown an impressive 56 of 76 pitches for strikes. Of course, he and the Nats still trail 2-0.
8:34 p.m. -- Make that 19 consecutive scoreless innings. Hudson has retired 11 batters in a row. Still 2-0 after six.
8:48 p.m. -- 20.
8:55 p.m. -- Brace yourselves, folks. Henry Rodriguez is entering the game with the bases loaded and one out after Livo is pulled in the top of the eighth.
8:59 p.m. -- That didn't take long. Two pitches in, and Rodriguez serves up a two-run single to Montero. It's now 4-0, and there are still runners on the corners with one out.
9:15 p.m. -- Hey, the Nats have finally scored! It's about time. Wait, what? They didn't just score in the bottom of the eighth? Even after putting runners on second and third with one out? Wow. Rick Ankiel smokes a line drive right at Overbay. Zimmerman then sent a hard grounder up the middle that looked like a sure 2-run single ... only to watch as John McDonald ranged way to his left to get the ball and fire to first to end the inning. The streak is at 21 innings. The score remains 4-0. And the Nats are down to their final three outs.
9:29 p.m. -- The streak is over! Laynce Nix launches a solo homer to right with two outs in the ninth. And before I can post this update, Jonny Gomes goes deep to left. All of a sudden, it's 4-2, and Hudson is being pulled. It'll be J.J. Putz to face Wilson Ramos with one out still to go.
9:33 p.m. -- Now that game is over. Give the Nats credit for battling right down to the end, but they still lose, 4-2. Plenty of things to look back on this one, from Henry Rodriguez allowing two inherited runners to score in the eighth to the Nats' inability to drive those two runners in from scoring position in the bottom of the eighth.