Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to bounce back from yesterday's crushing loss if the rain holds off.
Equally unfortunate is the fact this series is only two games, concluding tomorrow with a 1:05 p.m. getaway game against the Padres, who don't make another trip to D.C. If they have to, they'll try to play two tomorrow. But before they make that concession, they'll try everything they can to play tonight.
If and when they do get underway, Ross Detwiler will be on the mound for the Nationals, looking to get his team back on the winning track (and perhaps back into first place) after yesterday's crushing loss.
Plenty of updates -- game and weather -- to come, so please check back...
SAN DIEGO PADRES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Rain, 68 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Bryce Harper
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Sandy Leon
LHP Ross Detwiler
CF Cameron Maybin
RF Chris Denorfia
LF Jesus Guzman
1B Yonder Alonso
3B Chase Headley
C Nick Hundley
2B Orlando Hudson
SS Jason Bartlett
RHP Tim Stauffer
HP Larry Vanover, 1B Brian Gorman (cc), 2B Tony Randazzo, 3B Alan Porter
4:45 p.m. -- Here's your first weather update of the day: It's raining pretty hard right now, and both teams are taking batting practice indoors. But there's a hope that things will clear up somewhat prior to gametime. Either way, they're certainly going to attempt to play tonight and won't call this thing off early.
6:15 p.m. -- The tarp remains on the infield, but it's no longer raining. And the radar actually doesn't look terrible. So perhaps they can start this thing on time.
6:35 p.m. -- The tarp is off the field, and both starting pitchers are beginning to warm up. So we should be good to start on schedule at 7:05 p.m.
7:08 p.m. -- And we are indeed underway on time as Ross Detwiler fires a strike to Cameron Maybin before a small gathering of friends and family on this rainy Monday night on South Capitol Street.
7:12 p.m. -- And nine pitches (six strikes) later, Detwiler retires the side in the top of the first.
7:22 p.m. -- You know, it's been a whole 24 hours since Adam LaRoche last drove in a run. About time he did it again. LaRoche's groundball to second scored Ian Desmond (who reached on Chase Headley's two-base error) for his team-leading 25th RBI of the season. The Nats take a 1-0 lead after one.
7:35 p.m. -- For all the good things he's done up here, Bryce Harper hasn't exactly looked smooth in right field. And it just cost the Nats a run in the top of the second when he dropped Orlando Hudson's line drive. The ball was hit over Harper's head (he was playing surprisingly shallow) but he was there in plenty of time to make the play, only to have the ball hit off the heel of his glove. A costly error allows the Padres to tie the game 1-1.
7:44 p.m. -- Tough first career at-bat for Sandy Leon. He struck out looking at an inside fastball from Tim Stauffer that appeared to be well inside. Still 1-1 after two.
8:08 p.m. -- And there it is: Bryce Harper's first career home run. The kid crushed a 2-1 breaking ball from Stauffer to center field and well up the grass batter's eye. And then the crowd pleaded for a curtain call, and Harper obliged, hopping up to the top step of the dugout and pointing at both sides of the stands. Nice moment for Harper, who capped a three-run bottom of the third that also included a Ryan Zimmerman RBI single and Roger Bernadina scoring on a botched pickoff throw to third base. It's 4-1 as we head to the fourth.
8:20 p.m. -- Oh man, another devastating injury, this time to Sandy Leon, who got bowled over by Chase Headley on a play at the plate in the top of the fourth and got his right leg caught underneath him. Leon went down in a heap and had to be helped off the field without being able to put any weight on the leg. Watching the replays, it really looked bad, not all that different from the Buster Posey injury from last year. What a terrible thing to happen to the kid in his big-league debut. And what a crushing blow to the Nats, who now have to put Jesus Flores back behind the plate and need to summon yet another catcher in time for tomorrow's 1:05 p.m. game. Meanwhile, their lead is down to 4-3.
8:25 p.m. -- Make it 4-4 as Stauffer drops a perfect squeeze bunt. Things really falling apart for the Nationals in the fourth inning.
8:45 p.m. -- Headley steps to the plate in the fifth hearing some serious boos from the crowd, and then drives in the go-ahead run with a single to center. It's 5-4 Padres as Detwiler is having some real trouble stopping the bleeding here tonight.
9:08 p.m. -- Strange, Davey Johnson pulls Detwiler after only five innings. That's only the eighth time in 35 games this season in which the Nats' starter has failed to reach the sixth inning. Craig Stammen, though, comes in and gets through the sixth inning unscathed. So it remains 5-4 as we go to the bottom of the inning.
9:10 p.m. -- Also, the official word from the Nationals is that Leon suffered a LEFT ankle sprain. Weird, because it sure looked like he couldn't put any weight on his right leg as he came off the field. Full update here.
9:14 p.m. -- Ah, now the Nats clarify things and say that Leon suffered a sprained RIGHT ankle, as it appeared to us all along.
9:16 p.m. -- And now Desmond delivers his third hit of the night, a two-run double off the top of the right-field wall to score Ankiel and Flores and put the Nats back on top 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth. What a crazy game so far.
9:30 p.m. -- Nice job by Craig Stammen to settle things down here with two scoreless innings of relief. It remains 6-5 at the seventh-inning stretch.
9:44 p.m. -- So ... the Nats continue to hold a one-run lead heading to the bottom of the eighth after Tyler Clippard retired the side in the top of the inning. No need to ask Davey who will pitch the ninth, right?
9:49 p.m. -- Chad Tracy does it again. A solo homer to right puts the Nats up 7-5 and provides some cushion for Henry Rodriguez. It also makes Tracy 5-for-14 with an MLB-best eight RBI as a pinch-hitter this season.
9:52 p.m. -- Now Xavier Nady does it as well, putting the Nats up 8-5 and giving Rodriguez even more cushion. One more and it won't even be a save situation anymore!
10:07 p.m. -- Well, you had to figure this might happen. Henry Rodriguez loads the bases on walks with one out in the ninth. So out comes Davey, in comes Sean Burnett and there goes H-Rod to a chorus of boos.
10:13 p.m. -- Game-ending, 1-2-3 double play. How about that?