Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Citizens Bank Park hosts the Nationals for a three-game weekend series.
This is probably the first time the Nationals have ever played here with more on the line than the home club. It's kind of a strange position, you have to admit. As you can tell by their lineup, the Phillies are still dealing with injuries and some other glaring holes. Don't take these guys too lightly, though: You've got to believe they're motivated to prevent the Nats from running away with this division.
Edwin Jackson gets the ball for the Nationals, coming off an 11-strikeout performance against the Mets that nonetheless resulted in a loss due to a lack of run support. He'll hope his teammates do a little more damage at the plate tonight against Kyle Kendrick.
Live updates and analysis from Citizens Bank Park to come, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 5 mph RF to LF
RF Jayson Werth2B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian DesmondRF Jayson Werth
2B Danny EspinosaSS Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Edwin Jackson
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Kevin Frandsen
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Domonic Brown
CF John Mayberry Jr.
LF Laynce Nix
C Erik Kratz
RHP Kyle Kendrick
HP Phil Cuzzi
1B Manny Gonzalez
2B Lance Barksdale
3B Gerry Davis (cc)
6:30 p.m. -- Late lineup change: Ian Desmond has been scratched, presumably something related to his hyperextended knee suffered in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's game. Steve Lombardozzi is now leading off at second base, with Danny Espinosa at shortstop and Jayson Werth now batting sixth.
7:08 p.m. -- And we're underway. Fewest number of fans I've ever seen in this ballpark.
7:12 p.m. -- Here's the news on Chad Tracy's contract extension; the Nats today locked him up for 2013.
7:20 p.m. -- Uh-oh, Michael Morse is down and in serious pain after taking a Kyle Kendrick fastball off his right hand. Trainer Mike McGowan came out to look at him, and pretty quickly Morse was on his way down the steps to the clubhouse, a look of disgust on his face. You never want to speculate too much before getting official word, but it wouldn't be surprising at all if Morse broke his hand right there. And that would not be a good development for the Nats.
7:38 p.m. -- Not a good first inning for Edwin Jackson. He gave up a single, walked a batter and gave up another single (this one by Chase Utley, scoring Jimmy Rollins). Jackson has had first-inning troubles often this season, and he appeared to be headed for really big trouble here. But to his credit, he struck out Ryan Howard and then got Domonic Brown to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning with the Phillies only leading 1-0.
7:59 p.m. -- Boy, Jackson is dancing with the devil tonight, but so far he's living to tell the story. After escaping the first inning with only one run crossing the plate, he escaped a second-inning jam that was created in part by his allowing a two-out double to the opposing pitcher. Rollins then smoked a line drive to second, but right at Lombardozzi, who snagged it for the final out. We're through two innings of a 1-0 game that really could be much more lopsided.
8:07 p.m. -- Here's the first official word on Michael Morse: According to the Nationals, he suffered a right hand contusion (bruise). No word yet on results of any X-rays, that probably won't come until after the game. So he's not out of the woods quite yet.
8:18 p.m. -- Here's the full Morse story, which I'll update later when we get more details.
8:32 p.m. -- Meanwhile, in actual game news, the Nats have two hits off Kendrick in four innings (Harper's double and Jackson's single). Haven't put up much of a fight here so far.
8:47 p.m. -- Like I noted earlier, Jackson has been flirting with disaster all night. And it finally caught up to him in the bottom of the fourth when Rollins sent a two-run single to left, bringing home Mayberry and Nix (whose slide just beat Suzuki's tag by a gnat's eyelash. So now it's 3-0 Phillies through four as Jackson labors and Kendrick cruises along.
9:13 p.m. -- Do you think the Nats are missing Morse's presence in the lineup tonight? They had a man in scoring position and one out in the sixth after Harper recorded his second double of the night. With the cleanup man at the plate, you had to like their chances of scoring. Except Bernadina is the cleanup man now, and he struck out looking before LaRoche flew out to center. Still 3-0 Phillies as the Nats are unable to get anything going against Kendrick.
9:20 p.m. -- The Phillies have been pasting just about everything Jackson has thrown their way tonight, but he's somehow managed to complete six innings allowing only three runs. Props to the right-hander for battling his way through this game and giving his teammates a chance. The Nats still trail 3-0 as we move to the seventh.
9:37 p.m. -- Tyler Moore to the rescue! Comes off the bench to pinch-hit for Jackson with two outs in the seventh and sends an 0-1 fastball from Kendrick over the left-field fence. It's now 3-2 as the Phillies turn to their bullpen.
10:09 p.m. -- Great chance for the Nats to push across the tying run in the top of the eighth, with two on and one out. But LaRoche struck out on a breaking ball down and away from left-hander Raul Valdes, and then Werth was blown away by a 96 mph high fastball from right-hander B.J. Rosenberg. Now they're down to their last three outs, still trailing 3-2 in the middle of the eighth.
10:20 p.m. -- What's the last thing you want to do as a reliever entering the eighth inning with your team down one run? Walk the leadoff man. What's the second-to-last thing you want to do? Let that guy steal second base without even drawing a throw. Is it any surprise Michael Gonzalez's ragged start to the inning led to the Phillies scoring a big insurance run? The Nats now trail 4-2 and are down to their last three outs, with Jonathan Papelbon looming.
10:34 p.m. -- It's over. Papelbon closes it out for the Phillies, handing the Nats a 4-2 loss. Espinosa led off with a single but was inexplicably thrown out trying to steal second down two runs. Utterly pointless attempt on his part. Of greater concern is the state of Michael Morse's right hand. We should get an update from Davey Johnson shortly.