Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Tom Gorzelanny starts tonight for the Nationals, if weather permits.
But if the Nationals end up as the No. 2 seed, they'd open on Saturday in San Francisco, and Gonzalez would need to pitch on short rest. Thus, Johnson has decided not to start the 21-game winner tonight against the Phillies. Instead, it'll be fellow lefty Tom Gorzelanny, making his first start since July 23, 2011.
The Phillies' starter tonight is Johnny Wholestaff. He's got the incredible ability to pitch both right- and left-handed and pitch all nine innings (or more if necessary). Should be a doozy.
This, of course, is all contingent upon the weather holding up. It's not raining at the moment, and the forecast calls for a 10 percent chance of precipitation at 7 p.m., then climbing to 60 percent at 9 p.m. In other words, anybody with a bat in his hands better be swinging at the first pitch he sees to keep this game moving and make sure it becomes official before the heavy stuff hits.
Updates to come...
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Chance of showers, 75 degrees, Wind 7 mph RF to LF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
LF Tyler Moore
1B Adam LaRoche
3B Chad Tracy
SS Mark DeRosa
RF Roger Bernadina
C Sandy Leon
LHP Tom Gorzelanny
3B Kevin Frandsen
CF John Mayberry Jr.
2B Chase Utley
1B Ty Wigginton
LF Darin Ruf
RF Domonic Brown
C Erik Kratz
SS Michael Martinez
RHP B.J. Rosenberg
HP Manny Gonzalez
1B Greg Gibson
2B Phil Cuzzi
3B Gerry Davis (cc)
7:06 p.m. -- And we're underway on a muggy, foggy Tuesday night, with Tom Gorzelanny staring down Kevin Frandsen. Yes, folks, this game actually counts.
7:16 p.m. -- Well, if he keeps up the way he pitched in the top of the first inning, Gorzelanny's final line tonight is going to be: 9 IP, 9 H, 0 ER, 9 BB, 27 K. Something tells me that won't actually be the case, but he certainly pitched well just now striking out Frandsen, John Mayberry and Darin Ruf.
7:23 p.m. -- Johnny Wholestaff retires the Nats in order in the bottom of the first, though Bryce Harper did destroy a pitch to center field for a very hard lineout. Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the Braves are trailing 1-0 in the ... er, whoops, sorry, force of habit.
7:30 p.m. -- Look at the slick-fielding Mark DeRosa at shortstop! Looked sharp on a slow bouncer up the middle, then made a really nice turn on a 1-6-3 double play to end the top of the second. Take THAT, Ian Desmond! Still scoreless.
7:55 p.m. -- Solid work here by Gorzelanny. He's through three scoreless innings, striking out five and pitching around DeRosa's fielding error in the top of the third. The lefty has quietly posted a 2.78 ERA this season. Pretty solid for a guy in a fairly thankless role.
8:10 p.m. -- Darrin Ruf owns the Nats. He's got two career homers, both of them against the Nats. His leadoff blast in the fourth put the Phillies up 1-0. Gorzelanny stayed in to face three more batters but was pulled with two outs at 65 pitches. Solid job by the long man-turned-starter. Christian Garcia in now from the bullpen.
8:13 p.m. -- Well, if you were one of those who thought Teddy would finally win the race the day after the Nationals clinched a division title ... you were wrong.
8:18 p.m. -- Adam LaRoche and Roger Bernadina to the rescue! LaRoche came within a few feet of his 33rd homer and 100th RBI but settled for a leadoff double off the center field wall. He later scored on Bernadina's base hit to left. So it's a tie game after four, 1-1.
8:38 p.m. -- Harper delivers a two-out base hit to right, raising his average to .270. He's made up 22 points over his last 33 games. Fairly impressive. He also was credited with his 18th stolen base despite what appeared to be a foul tip by Tyler Moore. Regardless, Bryce is now two away from joining the 20-20 club. Still 1-1 through five as Zach Duke enters from the bullpen.
8:51 p.m. -- Zach Duke pitches his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, keeping this a 1-1 game. Meanwhile, R.A. Dickey was just removed after allowing three runs in seven innings in Miami, trailing 3-0. So Gio Gonzalez will be the majors' only 21-game winner this season.
8:55 p.m. -- Milestone time for LaRoche! He blasts his 33rd homer of the season (a new career high) and notches his 100th RBI (tying a career high). He also becomes only the third Nats player to reach the 100 RBI mark, joining Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn (who each did it twice). Most importantly, he gives the Nats a 2-1 lead in the sixth. And gets a curtain call for doing all that.
9:04 p.m. -- Make it 3-1 as Lombardozzi delivers a two-out RBI single up the middle. Onto the seventh.
9:26 p.m. -- We're through seven now, still a 3-1 game. Here's Tyler Clippard.
9:38 p.m. -- Hmm, another homer served up by Clippard. And another homer hit by Ruf. He's now got three in his career, all against the Nats. 3-2 now in the middle of the eighth.
9:52 p.m. -- Look at Roger Bernadina run! He just tagged up from third on a flyball that might not have gone more than 225 feet to center field. This guy and his speed on the bases could prove huge over the next few weeks. It's 4-2 now as Drew Storen prepares for the ninth.
10:01 p.m. -- It's over. Drew Storen puts the finishing touches on a 4-2 victory. The magic number to clinch the NL's No. 1 seed is down to 1.