Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler tries to lead the Nats to a playoff clincher tonight against the Dodgers.
Ross Detwiler will be the man on the mound for Davey Johnson, and he's actually been the Nationals' most effective (and consistent) starter during the season's second half (posting a 2.86 ERA in 12 outings). Detwiler certainly appears to be peaking at the right time, because he's going to be needed to pitch several more big games before this season ends.
Fellow lefty Chris Capuano gets the start for Los Angeles, facing the full regular Nats lineup (including Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa).
Updates to come...
LOS ANGELES DODGERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, MLB Network (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), ESPN Radio, XM 89
Weather: Clear, 71 degrees, Wind 6 mph RF to LF
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Ross Detwiler
2B Mark Ellis
LF Shane Victorino
CF Matt Kemp
1B Adrian Gonzalez
SS Hanley Ramirez
RF Andre Ethier
3B Luis Cruz
C A.J. Ellis
LHP Chris Capuano
HP Mike Winters (cc)
1B Mark Wegner
2B Brian Knight
3B Alan Porter
7:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Ross Detwiler to Mark Ellis. It's another gorgeous night here, 68 degrees at gametime.
7:11 p.m. -- It would have been nearly impossible for Detwiler to look any better than he just did in the top of the first. He struck out Mark Ellis on three pitches, got Shane Victorino to ground out and then struck out Matt Kemp. Ten total pitches, eight strikes from the lefty during a dominant first inning.
7:28 p.m. -- Six up and six down for Detwiler, who looks fantastic here in the early going. He's throwing his fastball for strikes and he's got good movement on his breaking stuff. Long way to go, obviously, but so far, so good. Scoreless in the middle of the second.
7:38 p.m. -- Good news: Michael Morse led off the bottom of the second with a base hit to center field. Bad news: Morse was shaking his right hand as he ran to first base, then was grimacing after he got there. Clearly the bruise is still bothering him, and that could be a real concern.
7:45 p.m. -- Nine up, nine down for Detwiler. He's got four strikeouts. Only one batter has hit the ball out of the infielder. He's thrown 32 pitches, 22 strikes.
8:00 p.m. -- And the Nats take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third thanks to a base hit by Jayson Werth and a double by Ryan Zimmerman, but more importantly the hustle of Bryce Harper (who scored from first on Zim's double) and the hustle of Zimmerman (who bolted home to score on a wild pitch). Just like that, Detwiler has a 2-run cushion as he takes the mound for the fourth still having not allowed a man to reach base.
8:07 p.m. -- Yeah, so much for that perfect game tonight. Mark Ellis destroyed Detwiler's 1-1 fastball into the left field bullpen to open the fourth inning. So the Nats' lead is suddenly cut in half, it's now 2-1.
8:25 p.m. -- Except the Nats got that run back in the bottom of the fourth. And then added another one for good measure. After Desmond drew a leadoff walk -- yeah, Desmond drew a leadoff walk -- Espinosa roped a double into the left field corner, bringing the first run home. Espinosa also advanced to third when Hanley Ramirez's relay throw sailed to the backstop, bringing Suzuki to the plate with a chance to drive in another run. Which he did at the end of a really solid at-bat. He fouled off several two-strike pitches from Capuano and then lofted a fly ball to right field, plenty deep to score Espinosa and give the Nats a 4-1 lead after four.
8:55 p.m. -- Detwiler is starting to labor a little bit, but he's through six innings having allowed only the one run. There was some action in the bullpen in the top of the sixth, and Cristian Garcia is still warming, so that might be it for Ross. Still 4-1 Nats.
9:08 p.m. -- Detwiler is indeed done for the night as Garcia enters for the top of the seventh. Ross' final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 82 pitches, 52 strikes.
9:16 p.m. -- And there's another dominant, 1-2-3 inning of relief from Garcia. He struck out a pair and got a fantastic assist from Zimmerman, who scooped a shot to his right and fired to first for the out. In seven big-league innings now, Garcia has allowed one run on four hits, striking out nine. Still 4-1 at the stretch.
9:37 p.m. -- Ryan Mattheus in to pitch the top of the eighth. Davey Johnson said this aftenroon Tyler Clippard is available after appearing in both games yesterday, but you wonder if he might go with Drew Storen for the ninth instead.
9:42 p.m. -- And Mattheus gets the job done during a scoreless eighth. It remains 4-1 and the Nats are now three outs from clinching a playoff berth.
9:51 p.m. -- Here we go: Drew Storen is in from the pen for the ninth, the Nats leading 4-1 and a playoff berth clinching victory hanging in the balance.
10:01 p.m. -- That's it! It's all over! The Nationals are going to the postseason. Final score: 4-1. They've clinched at least a Wild Card berth, and lowered their magic number to clinch the NL East to 8.