Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez tries to snap the Nationals' three-game losing streak today.
With lefty Chris Capuano on the mound for Los Angeles, Davey Johnson is going with a right-handed-heavy lineup. He's got only two left-handed batters among his starting eight: Adam LaRoche and ... Bryce Harper. Yep, the kid will make his second start, and this time he'll be in center field.
Tyler Moore, meanwhile, has arrived at the stadium after flying in from Syracuse and will be available to make his big-league debut off the bench. Gio Gonzalez, who hasn't surrendered a run in any of his last three starts, gets the nod for the Nationals.
Plenty of updates and analysis to come live from Chavez Ravine, so please check back often...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Where: Dodger Stadium
Gametime: 4:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Sunny, 69 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Jayson Werth2B Danny Espinosa
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Xavier Nady
2B Danny EspinosaLF Tyler Moore
CF Bryce Harper
C Jesus Flores
LHP Gio Gonzalez
LF Tony Gwynn Jr.
2B Mark Ellis
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
3B Juan Uribe
1B James Loney
SS Justin Sellers
C Matt Treanor
LHP Chris Capuano
HP Ed Hickox, 1B Ed Rapuano (cc), 2B Angel Hernandez, 3B Mark Carlson
3:31 p.m. -- Whoa, we've got some pretty major lineup changes for the Nats. Tyler Moore has arrived and will start in left field after all, batting sixth. Xavier Nady will move to right field, and Jayson Werth has been scratched (unsure if that's because of an injury or something else). Danny Espinosa will now bat third.
3:42 p.m. -- The official word from the Nationals is that Werth's scratching was a "manager's decision." What exactly does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine, but it would seem to suggest Werth isn't injured.
4:11 p.m. -- And we are underway with a strike from Chris Capuano to Ian Desmond. Seventy-four glorious degrees under clear skies in the City of Angels.
4:18 p.m. -- Nothing doing for the Nats in the top of the first, and it wasn't pretty, either. Ian Desmond struck out on three pitches. Steve Lombardozzi did put some good wood on a Capuano pitch but flied out to left. Danny Espinosa struck out. Again. That's 26 strikeouts for Espinosa in 21 games (plus one inning) this season. That's not good.
4:27 p.m. -- Well that was an interesting bottom of the first for Gio Gonzalez. He faced four batters. None put the ball in play. Tony Gwynn Jr. walked and took second on a wild pitch. Mark Ellis struck out. Matt Kemp struck out (on a 94 mph heater). Andre Ethier struck out. That, my friends, is a BABIP nightmare inning. Scoreless through one.
4:35 p.m. -- If nothing else, we know Tyler Moore can hit a major-league foul ball. Crushed one into the second deck down the left-field line, just out in front of Capuano's 1-1 pitch a bit. Unfortunately, on Capuano's 1-2 pitch, Moore tapped a weak grounder to third. Six up, six down from this lineup so far.
4:41 p.m. -- Moore's first chance in left field goes smoothly. Matt Treanor hit a sinking liner that Moore had to charge in and to his right to corral. Looked pretty smooth doing it. Scoreless through two.
4:48 p.m. -- You've got to give Harper credit for this: The kid goes all-out, all the time. In his first at-bat of the day, he tapped a routine grounder to the right of third base. And nearly beat it out. Capuano, meanwhile, has faced nine batters and retired them all. Not a good start to the afternoon for the Nationals lineup.
4:58 p.m. -- That's 23 consecutive scoreless innings (and counting) for Gio Gonzalez, and that's a new Nationals record. The previous mark was 21 and was held by both John Lannan and Drew Storen.
5:09 p.m. -- Desmond leads off the fourth with a rocket double off the top of the left-field wall, then takes third on Lombardozzi's sac bunt. And then is stranded there. Really poor at-bats from Espinosa (who struck out for the 27th time this season) and Nady (who flailed away at two breaking balls nowhere close to the strike zone). It's still scoreless as we go to the bottom of the fourth.
5:18 p.m. -- Two scary moments in the bottom of the fourth. 1) Matt Kemp almost took Gio's head off with a comebacker. Somehow, Gonzalez got some glove on the ball and recovered to throw to first for the out and escape injury. 2) Bryce Harper made a spectacular catch, slamming into the center-field fence to rob Juan Uribe of extra bases (and preserve Gio's scoreless streak). Harper went down for a moment, and trainer Lee Kuntz rushed out there, but he appears to be fine. What a play.
5:28 p.m. -- Tyler Moore's first career hit is a solid single to right-center. Call me optimistic, but he might just make it after all. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.) Meanwhile, Bryce Harper has officially struck out in a big-league game for the first time, whiffing at a breaking ball in the dirt from a left-hander. Something tells me that won't be the last time we see that.
6:02 p.m. -- And it all comes crashing down for Gio Gonzalez in the sixth. His control had been excellent all season, but he proceeded to walk three straight batters with one out. Needing to come up big against James Loney, Gio got ahead 1-2 but then surrendered a two-run single to center. That ends his scoreless streak at 25 innings, and it puts the Dodgers up 2-0 after six.
6:15 p.m. -- Harper's second career hit isn't enough for the Nats in the top of the seventh. Don Mattingly pulls Capuano with two outs and 2-0 count on Jesus Flores and brings in Josh Lindblom, who gets Flores to fly out to left to end the inning. Still 2-0 as we go to the stretch, and Gio is done for the day. His line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 88 pitches, 46 strikes. Obviously, command was a problem today.
6:32 p.m. -- Another frustrating inning at the plate for the Nats lineup. Lombardozzi managed a two-out single in the eighth, but that was it against Lindblom. They're down to their last three outs, and they still trail 2-0.
6:41 p.m. -- Last chance for the Nats. Harper is due up fourth in the ninth, down two runs.
6:56 p.m. -- It's over, in more ways than one. The Nats lose this one, 2-0, though LaRoche and Harper each drew walks to set the stage for a possible rally. They were swept in this series. They've lost four in a row. And for the first time since April 11, they're not in sole possession of first place. At 14-8, they're now tied with the Braves atop the NL East.