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The Nats try to win three in a row at Coors Field this afternoon.
Adam LaRoche is back after taking a day off, but red-hot Tyler Moore remains in the Nationals' lineup, shifting back to left field. Jesus Flores is back behind the plate after getting last night off.
Edwin Jackson takes the mound, looking to keep his ERA under 3.00 and to give himself a winning record for the season and for his career (he's 64-64 at the moment).
As has been the case the last three days, I'll chime in with some thoughts along the way. And since it's a day game, I'll post some instant analysis as soon as it ends as well. Enjoy the matinee...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at COLORADO ROCKIES
Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 3:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Partly cloudy, 92 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to LF
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
C Jesus Flores
RHP Edwin Jackson
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
1B Todd Helton
3B Chris Nelson
RF Tyler Colvin
C Wil Nieves
SS Jonathan Herrera
LHP Josh Outman
HP Mark Carlson, 1B Angel Hernandez (cc), 2B Chris Conroy, 3B Ed Hickox
3:45 p.m. -- Well, this one isn't exactly off to a rousing start. Edwin Jackson was battered around for five runs in the bottom of the first, capped by Tyler Colvin's three-run homer. The first eight Rockies all reached safely, with Jackson's only out to that point recorded by Ryan Zimmerman on something of a hidden-ball trick play -- he faked a throw to first and got Carlos Gonzalez to stray off third base for a split-second. Perhaps most disturbing about the inning was Jackson's velocity. This is a guy whose fastball has averaged 94 mph all season. Well, in that first inning it was clocked between 89-92 mph. That's after his velocity was down a bit during his last start in Baltimore. Could there be something physically wrong with Jackson?
4:03 p.m. -- Yeah, so that sub-3.00 ERA for Jackson? Not gonna be the case by the end of the day. He gave up two more runs on three more hits (and committed another error on a pickoff attempt, his third such error this season) in the bottom of the second. It's 7-0 Rockies, and it's looking like this is going to be a looong afternoon at Coors Field.
4:25 p.m. -- When I said it's going to be a looong afternoon, I meant because the Nats were going to rally back to make a game of this and turn this into a slugfest. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.) Holy cow, they just scored five runs in the top of the third, all of them driven in by Ryan Zimmerman (two-run single) and Michael Morse (three-run homer). How important have Zim and Morse been to this sudden offensive resurgence? Well, in 24 games from May 26-June 23, those two guys combined for 14 RBI. Over the last four-plus games, they've combined for 13 RBI. It's 7-5, with a LOT of baseball left to be played in this one.
5:04 p.m. -- Just when it looked like Edwin Jackson was getting things back on track, he got a quick hook from Davey Johnson one batter into the bottom of the fourth. Jackson clearly wasn't happy to hand over the ball to his manager, and you can only imagine what he was thinking as he watched from the dugout as Tom Gorzelanny entered and immediately gave up two runs. It's now 9-5 Rockies, and they've managed to complete four innings in two hours.
5:20 p.m. -- Sweet Fancy Moses, this game is now tied in the fifth! Bryce Harper drives in a run with an RBI single, then scores on an Adam LaRoche sac fly. And Ian Desmond then drills a two-run homer to make it 9-9. Unbelievable. Desmond now has 13 homers, 41 RBI and 36 extra-base hits. I'll tell you what, folks: This guys just might be named an All-Star on Sunday.
6:07 p.m. -- Hey, when did a pitcher's duel break out? It's the top of the eighth now and the Rockies have held a 10-9 lead since the fifth. All of a sudden, the Nats are down to their final six outs and still need another run to tie this game.
6:33 p.m. -- Bryce Harper to the rescue! Solo homer to deep right-center to lead off the ninth, and this game is tied 10-10.
7:01 p.m. -- Well, after nearly four hours and 20 combined runs, why not keep this one going? Onto the 11th inning!
7:27 p.m. -- Well, that was an unfortunate way for this to end. Marco Scutaro delivers a two-out, RBI single to right on a 3-2 fastball from Craig Stammen in the bottom of the 11th. Nats lose, 11-10.