Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats look for their eighth straight win tonight at Chase Field.
So they'll look to make it eight straight (both on the road and overall) tonight in Game 2 of their series with the Diamondbacks. They will, however, face a legitimate challenge in this one, with Wade Miley on the hill. The left-hander has quietly put together a fantastic rookie season, earning an All-Star nod and putting himself perhaps in the driver's seat for NL Rookie of the Year honors.
One of Miley's chief competitors, Bryce Harper, won't face him tonight. Davey Johnson explained last night he wanted to give Tyler Moore a chance to start a game, especially against a lefty opponent. So Moore is in left field tonight, with Harper on the bench. That also bumps Michael Morse to right field and and Jayson Werth to center field, plus the leadoff spot. The last time Werth hit atop the Nats' lineup? the day before Davey Johnson took over as manager last June.
Plenty of updates to come, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 8:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
CF Jayson Werth
SS Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Tyler Moore
C Jesus Flores
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RHP Edwin Jackson
SS Stephen Drew
2B Aaron Hill
LF Jason Kubel
1B Paul Goldschmidt
RF Justin Upton
C Miguel Montero
3B Chris Johnson
CF Gerardo Parra
LHP Wade Miley
HP Dan Iassogna
1B D.J. Reyburn
2B Mike Muchlinski
3B C.B. Bucknor
6:50 p.m. -- Many of you have been wondering about Dale Scott, the umpire who took a foul tip to his chin last night and had to depart the game. There's no official word on his condition, but he's not going to be officiating tonight's game. Mike Muchlinski has replaced him on the crew. It's probably a safe bet Scott suffered a concussion on that play, but like I said, we don't have any official word yet about that.
8:10 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Wade Miley to Jayson Werth. It's 79 degrees indoors, 108 degrees outdoors, and there's a dust storm warning in the area. Welcome to Phoenix in August!
8:19 p.m. -- And the Nats are already up 1-0 thanks to Danny Espinosa's one-out single up the middle and Ryan Zimmerman's subsequent double into the right-field corner. Justin Upton helped matters by bobbling the ball, allowing Espinosa to score. But that's an impressive start to the evening for the Nats lineup against Miley.
8:21 p.m. -- We've also got our official update on umpire Dale Scott at last: He indeed suffered a concussion last night and is undergoing further tests. He'll miss the remainder of this series, at least.
8:29 p.m. -- Didn't take long for the D'backs to strike back. Aaron Hill tags Jackson's 0-1 fastball deep to left to tie this game 1-1 in the bottom of the first. Jackson did have pretty good stuff overall in the inning, striking out Stephen Drew on a changeup and Paul Goldschmidt on a fastball.
8:54 p.m. -- Well, that was a painfully slow second inning. Jackson was seriously laboring to get through the frame, giving up three hits and a walk and allowing two runs to score. He even fell into a full count against Miley before getting the opposing pitcher to foul a bunt into the stands. It's 3-1 Diamondbacks, and Jackson has already thrown 46 pitches.
9:02 p.m. -- We've definitely got some serious haboob action going on outside the ballpark right now. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, Jason Marquis has no-hit the Pirates through six innings, Yes, Jason Marquis.
9:11 p.m. -- The D'backs continue to take it to Jackson. He's allowed six hits in three innings, four of them for extra bases. And he's now been scored upon in all three innings. The Nats trail 4-1. (Oh, Marquis gave up a hit in the seventh, so his no-hit bid is no more. You may all return to your normal lives.)
9:55 p.m. -- Well, this will come as no surprise to many of you: I went down to the stands for a couple innings, and look what happened. The Nats have taken a 6-4 lead. Shocking, I know. Impressive, five-run rally in the top of the fifth, with big hits from Werth (now 2-for-3 tonight), Zimmerman (also 2-for-3), Morse (RBI double) and Flores (RBI single). It really is remarkable just how productive this lineup can be when it's got so much depth. Werth's return has played a significant role in that. Jackson, meanwhile, has settled down considerably since his early troubles. And he may just be rewarded for it by night's end. Nats 6-4 as we go to the sixth.
10:23 p.m. -- A big-time strikeout from Tom Gorzelanny, who got Stephen Drew looking at a 3-2 fastball at the knees (possibly lower) to end the sixth and strand the tying run in scoring position. Gorzelanny was summoned after Jackson hit a wall, allowing a two-out single and then an RBI double. The right-hander was pulled with his pitch count at 111, and Davey Johnson summoned Gorzelanny to get a big out. Which he did. So the Nats now lead 6-5 as we move to the seventh.
10:43 p.m. -- Couple of big outs from Ryan Mattheus to close out the seventh and strand another runner in scoring position. Props, of course, have to go to Zimmerman, who made one of his patented, charging-in scoops of Paul Goldschmidt's slow roller and then fired an underhand strike to LaRoche at first base for the out. Seriously, I'm convinced Zim could make that play with his eyes closed. He's on the money every single time. Still 6-5 as we go to the eighth.
10:50 p.m. -- It's been a strange game. Nearly all of the Nats offense came during that five-run fifth. They've been effectively shut down since then, with Diamondbacks relievers retiring eight straight, five on strikeouts. So the lead remains 6-5, but you have to wonder if those six runs are going to be enough to hang on for the win.
11:05 p.m. -- And for the third consecutive inning, a Nats reliever strands the tying run in scoring position. This time Michael Gonzalez did it, getting himself into a jam with two walks but bearing down to get Jake Elmore to fly out to right and then striking out Stephen Drew. Somehow, the Nats are still clinging to that 6-5 lead as we go to the ninth.
11:13 p.m. -- Here we go: Tyler Clippard in for the bottom of the ninth. He'll face Hill, Kubel and Goldschmidt, the heart of the Arizona lineup.
11:17 p.m. -- That's it. Clippard gets three flyball outs and the Nats win, 6-5. They've won eight straight and they're now an astounding 71-43.