Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan faces Randall Delgado in the nightcap of this doubleheader.
So the pressure is on John Lannan tonight as he makes his first big-league start of the season. It's been a roller coaster year for the left-hander, but if there is one encouraging sign entering this game, here it is: In his career, Lannan is 8-5 with a 3.25 ERA against the Braves. He's got more wins and a lower ERA against Atlanta than any other division opponent.
Bryce Harper is not in the lineup for Game 2, his bruised left ankle still bothering him and preventing him from swinging the bat. We'll see if he's available off the bench.
Plenty more updates to come, so please check back...
ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS (Game 2)
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Drizzle, 72 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from RF
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Sandy Leon
LHP John Lannan
CF Michael Bourn
LF Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
C David Ross
SS Paul Janish
RHP Randall Delgado
HP Chad Fairchild
1B Alfonso Marquez
2B Tom Hallion (cc)
3B Dave Rackley
7:05 p.m. -- And on the first pitch of the night, Michael Bourn beats out a drag bunt to the right side of the infield.
7:15 p.m. -- Well, that didn't go particularly well, did it? Lannan appeared to be in good shape when he got Martin Prado to ground into a 6-3 double play, leaving two outs and nobody on base. Then things fell apart. Lannan walked Jason Heyward on four pitches, setting up Chipper Jones' RBI double to right-center. Freddie Freeman then tagged another RBI single to right-center. A five-pitch walk to Dan Uggla prolonged the inning, but Lannan finally got out of it on a David Ross flyball to deep center. It's 2-0 after a half-inning.
7:31 p.m. -- Nothing happening for the Nats in the bottom of the first, and then Lannan gets into immediate trouble again in the top of the second, serving up a leadoff double to the .182-hitting Paul Janish. But he battled his way out of it, striking out Bourn on a nice curveball and then getting Prado to ground out to third to end the inning. Lannan has thrown only 18 of 35 pitches for strikes.
7:40 p.m. -- You know, it's not going to matter who pitches if the Nats can't score a run off the Braves. Six up, six down so far for Randall Delgado. The Nationals have come to bat in 11 innings so far today and they've yet to score a run. 2-0 Braves through two.
7:57 p.m. -- Well, there's some offense: A solid base hit by ... John Lannan, naturally. Not that it led to anything else. Lombardozzi thought he had drawn a two-out walk, but plate umpire Chad Fairchild called Delgado's 3-2 high fastball a strike to end the third inning.
8:06 p.m. -- Lannan has settled down considerably on the mound since that shaky first inning. He's thrown 20 of his last 30 pitches for strikes, and has recorded five of his last seven outs on the ground. He's through the fourth now, the Nats still trailing 2-0.
8:15 p.m. -- Great opportunity for the Nats to finally get on the board in the fourth when Bernadina and Zimmerman each singled. But Morse struck out on a ball in the dirt and then LaRoche grounded into another killer double play. The Nats have played 13 innings today, and they've yet to score one run.
8:32 p.m. -- Another great opportunity in the bottom of the fifth after Espinosa drew a one-out walk and Leon followed with a single. Davey decided to leave Lannan in and have him drop a sacrifice bunt. That put it all on Lombardozzi to deliver with two outs and two men in scoring position ... or, perhaps Davey just knew Delgado would throw a wild pitch all along and bring in the Nats' first run in 15 innings (since Espinosa's bottom-of-the-ninth homer last night). Whatever the case, the Nats will take it. They now trail 2-1 as we head to the sixth.
8:38 p.m. -- Another quick inning for Lannan, who got three groundball outs. He's retired 10 of the last 11 he's faced and his pitch count is only at 86 through six innings. Can't ask for much more than that out of the guy.
8:56 p.m. -- And this game is tied, though the Nats probably should have taken the lead given the opportunity they gave themselves: Bases loaded, nobody out in the sixth (thanks in part to a gutsy headfirst dive into first base by Zimmerman to elude a tag). They settled for one run on Desmond's RBI groundout, and that will have to suffice. It's now 2-2 as we head to the seventh and Lannan heads back to the mound.
9:03 p.m. -- Another 1-2-3 inning for Lannan, who really finished strong tonight. He retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. And most impressively, only three of his final 18 outs were recorded on flyballs to the outfield. He did a really nice job keeping the ball on the ground. It remains 2-2 as we reach the stretch.
9:13 p.m. -- Roger Bernadina, ladies and gentlemen! Big, two-out, RBI single to right to score Sandy Leon and give the Nats a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Roger is now 5-for-7 since replacing Bryce Harper during Game 1. Not a bad day's work.
9:18 p.m. -- Hmm, Desmond has been pulled in a double-switch. Espinosa takes over at shortstop, with Lombardozzi at second base and Mark DeRosa in left field. We'll see how that oblique is doing after the game. Meanwhile, Sean Burnett will pitch the eighth. The bigger question is: Who pitches the ninth? Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen?
9:26 p.m. -- A big, 1-2-3 eighth for Burnett, who struck out a pair. Espinosa also made it perfectly clear he's got the arm to play shortstop in the big leagues. Mercy, what a gun. Nats pitchers have retired 16 of the last 17 they've faced. And we go to the bottom of the eighth, with Tyler Clippard beginning to warm in the pen.
9:48 p.m. -- How about that? Bryce Harper comes off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit, then steals second, then scores on Danny Espinosa's single to give the Nats a big insurance run. And then Mark DeRosa battled his way through a great at-bat, taking advantage of Janish's error to push another run across. It's now 5-2 as Clippard enters for the ninth.
10:01 p.m. -- Ballgame. The Nats get a much-needed win, 5-2, and increase their lead to 2 1/2 games over the Braves. Ross Detwiler vs. Jair Jurrjens in the series finale tomorrow afternoon.