Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats hope to end their five-game losing streak tonight.
As was the case Sunday against Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano, Bryce Harper will be in the starting lineup (in center field again). Unlike that game in L.A., Tyler Moore will not start. Instead, it'll be Xavier Nady (batting .130) in left field.
For those who missed Davey Johnson's explanation yesterday of how he intends to use Moore ... "Unless somebody has a little injury, I'll probably just use him off the bench, probably pinch-hitting. I liked what I saw. They were pitching us in, he was the only guy in our lineup that got the head out and hit one nine miles foul. I like that. But there's a lot of players ahead of him that need to play. We need to get Nady going. I still have a lot of confidence in him."
Edwin Jackson is on the mound for the Nationals. Plenty of updates and analysis to come...
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WNEW (1580 AM), XM 186
Weather: Partly cloudy, 76 degrees, Wind 7 mph RF to LF
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Xavier Nady
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Edwin Jackson
CF Gerardo Parra
2B Aaron Hill
RF Justin Upton
LF Jason Kubel
C Miguel Montero
1B Paul Goldschmidt
3B Ryan Roberts
SS John McDonald
LHP Joe Saunders
HP Bill Welke, 1B Tim Tschida (cc), 2B Chris Guccione, 3B Jeff Nelson
7:05 p.m. -- We are underway on what has turned into a chilly evening in the District. Only 64 degrees as Edwin Jackson throws a strike to Gerardo Parra.
7:09 p.m. -- Nice job by Jackson in the top of the first. After getting Parra to ground out weakly to first base, he struck out both Aaron Hill and Justin Upton. Only 11 pitches (nine strikes) in the inning for E-Jax.
7:20 p.m. -- Ian Desmond leads off the bottom of the first with a double off the wall in right-center and ... what do you know, the Nats can't advance him. Steve Lombardozzi flies out to right, not deep enough for Desmond to test Upton's arm. And Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche each strike out swinging. I think we've seen this act before ...
7:29 p.m. -- A busy top of the second for Lombardozzi at third base. Four straight balls were hit in his general direction. His throw to first on Eric Goldschmidt's grounder was low and short-hopped LaRoche, and ump Tim Tschida ruled that LaRoche bobbled the ball (much to the first baseman's chagrin). Turns out Goldschmidt beat the throw anyways. No matter, because Lombo made a Zimmerman-esque diving stop of Ryan Roberts' hard smash to his left, then finished off the inning by throwing out John McDonald. I'll tell you what, Lombardozzi has played a lot better over there than most expected.
7:39 p.m. -- The good news: Bryce Harper records his first hit at Nationals Park, a little dribbler between the mound and first base. The bad news: He then was picked off for the first time in his career, taking off on a stolen base attempt too soon. Scoreless through two.
7:55 p.m. -- Hey, guess what? The Nationals have taken the lead! Ramos leads off the bottom of the third with a single to left, then scores all the way from first on Lombardozzi's two-out double down the left-field line. It's 1-0 as the Nats take their first lead since the ninth inning of Saturday's game in Los Angeles. It's also the first time they've scored a run before the sixth inning in a week. Yes, you're reading that correctly.
8:00 p.m. -- And, of course, Jackson gives the run right back as Justin Upton blasts one over the center-field fence on a 2-0 fastball to open the fourth inning. Looks like Harper lost sight of the ball, too. He threw his hands out as it sailed well over his head.
8:12 p.m. -- Make it 2-1 D'backs as Jason Kubel scores on Ryan Roberts' sac fly to left. This came moments after Goldschmidt sent a line drive to center field and Harper fired another bullet on the fly to the plate, preventing Kubel from tagging. Another standing O for the throw from the kid (though this one was up the line a bit).
8:18 p.m. -- Xavier Nady is now 1 for his last 28. Just felt like mentioning that.
8:27 p.m. -- Well, this game just got a lot more interesting. Bryce Harper came just short of launching his first career homer, driving a 3-2 fastball from Saunders off the right-center field fence. He settled for an RBI double. Moments later, Ramos' hard smash to second ate up Aaron Hill, and Harper came charging around third trying to score. Hill's throw clearly beat him, but Harper went into the plate with both hands up and knocked the ball out of Montero's glove. It wasn't quite as blatantly obvious as Jerry Hairston's swipe at Ramos Saturday night in L.A., but it was a bit interesting. No arguments from the D'backs, though. Just like that, the Nats (thanks to Harper) have taken a 3-2 lead after four.
8:54 p.m. -- And the D'backs come back to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Two straight two-out RBI hits surrendered by Jackson, the latter of which also included an error when Nady let the ball roll right through him. It didn't end up costing the Nats anything, but it was an ugly play. Ragged night for Jackson, too. He twice was handed a lead and couldn't hold onto it. We go to the bottom of the sixth, the Nats now trailing again by a run.
9:01 p.m. -- Adam LaRoche has five stolen bases in his entire, nine-year career. For some reason, he just tried to pick up No. 6. He wasn't successful.
9:04 p.m. -- Well, you all just got your wish. Xavier Nady (now 1 for his last 29) has been replaced in left field by Tyler Moore as part of a double-switch. Craig Stammen in to pitch the seventh. Jackson's final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
9:08 p.m. -- It's not all bad news tonight, folks. Roy Halladay just blew a 6-run lead to the Braves. Then again, the Nats actually need the Phillies to win tonight to help ensure they stay in first place, so maybe that's not good news after all.
9:30 p.m. -- Nice work by Craig Stammen to keep this a 4-3 game with two innings of scoreless relief. It's up to the Nats lineup now to scratch out the tying run against the Arizona bullpen. Tough, side-arming right-hander Brad Ziegler is carving them up so far, especially Tyler Moore (who flailed away at a nasty breaking ball in the seventh).
9:47 p.m. -- Ugh, just when it looked like the Nats might rally in the bottom of the eighth, Jesus Flores and Danny Espinosa each struck out with the tying run on second. Espinosa whiffed on three pitches, the last one at his eyelids. That also left Harper in the on-deck circle. He'll lead off the bottom of the ninth, with the Nats still trailing 4-3 as Henry Rodriguez enters for the top of the inning.
9:59 p.m. -- Here we go. Bottom of the ninth. Trailing by a run. Harper will lead off against J.J. Putz.
10:09 p.m. -- Wow, Harper just misses another homer, settling for a double off the wall. Then after Ramos and Ankiel struck out, the pressure was on Desmond to come through. And he did in a big way. Walk-off, two-run homer into the left-field bullpen. Nats win 5-4!