Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler faces Adam Wainwright tonight at Nationals Park.
Detwiler has been nothing short of fantastic through his first three starts of the year, posting a miniscule 0.90 ERA while pounding the strike zone with almost nothing but fastballs. It's been an effective formula for the lefty, who really has blossomed since late last season, perhaps his biggest start coming against the Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS.
The man who started Game 5 of that series for St. Louis, Adam Wainwright, is also on the mound tonight. Though the veteran right-hander has been strong so far in 2013, the Nationals have had considerable success against him. In four head-to-head encounters in 2012, the Nationals twice pounded Wainwright for six runs and knocked him out early.
Updates to come, so please check back...
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 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), XM 89
Weather: Clear, 62 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from CF
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Ross Detwiler
CF Shane Robinson
1B Allen Craig
LF Matt Holliday
RF Carlos Beltran
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
2B Matt Carpenter
SS Pete Kozma
RHP Adam Wainwright
HP Cory Blaser
1B Jim Joyce (cc)
2B Jeff Nelson
3B Jim Wolf
7:07 p.m. — We are underway on a chilly, though very pleasant night here on South Capitol Street. Ross Detwiler starts off Shane Robinson with a fastball (what else?) and Robinson skies it to center field for an out.
7:12 p.m. — Solid top of the first for Detwiler. Though he surrendered a bloop single to Allen Craig, it came on a broken bat. As a matter of fact, Detwiler shattered two of the three bats he faced in the inning, getting Matt Holliday to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame. Good stuff from the left-hander early on.
7:22 p.m. — Man, talk about bad luck. Denard Span and Jayson Werth each hit the ball hard, only to be denied by fantastic defensive plays, Span by second baseman Matt Carpenter, Werth by left fielder Holliday. Bryce Harper did record a broken-bat single, but Adam LaRoche struck out, continuing his struggles and ending the first inning with no score.
7:30 p.m. — More great defense in the top of the second, this time from Danny Espinosa, who went way to his right to grab David Freese's hard grounder, then flipped backhanded straight from his glove to Ian Desmond to start a slick, 4-6-3 double play. Detwiler has put two men on base, but he's faced the minimum through two.
7:42 p.m. — Another inning, another double play turned by the Nats defense. This one was another doozy, with Kurt Suzuki firing to second base on Wainwright sac bunt attempt and starting off a rare, 2-6-4 twin-killing. The Nats were so stunned to have turned it, they didn't even leave the field. Hey guys, that's three outs. Still scoreless, though it's been a highly entertaining game so far.
8:02 p.m. — Finally a hiccup for Detwiler in the top of the fourth. And no double play to bail him out this time. The Cardinals strung together four straight hits to open the inning, with Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran each delivering RBI hits to right field. Perhaps they're starting to guess right on Detwiler's fastball-only philosophy? 2-0 Cardinals moving to the bottom of the fourth.
8:11 p.m. — So, it might help if the Nats, you know, scored every once in a while. They've yet to do so tonight and just struck out in succession against Wainwright in the bottom of the fourth. This lineup has now scored one run in its last 22 innings. That's not going to cut it. Still 2-0, heading to the fifth.
8:19 p.m. — OK, that's more like it. Another double play turned by the Nats defense. And this one was another doozy: 5-4-1 on a sac bunt by Wainwright. It ended with Kozma trying to go all the way from first to third, only to be denied as Detwiler made a very heads-up play to race over and cover third, applying the tag. So, if you're keeping track, that's four double plays by the Nats defense in five innings. Won't matter much, however, if they can't score themselves. Still 2-0.
8:24 p.m. — The Nats made Wainwright throw all of four pitches in the fifth inning. When you're struggling to score runs the way they are, you might want to make a guy work a bit harder than that.
8:54 p.m. — Big chance for the Nats in the bottom of the sixth ... and they squander it. With runners on the corners and one out, Werth popped up on the very first pitch he saw. After Harper walked — incredibly the first issued by Wainwright this season — LaRoche stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. He battled but ultimately couldn't check his swing on a high, 2-2 fastball. So LaRoche is now 0-for-9 with six strikeouts since mid-game Sunday. And the Nats still trail 2-0 heading to the seventh.
9:03 p.m. — A five-pitch seventh for Wainwright. To be fair, both Rendon and Espinosa smoked line drives. They just happened to both be hit right at Cardinals. A frustrating night for the Nats, to be sure.
9:19 p.m. — Two scoreless innings from Henry Rodriguez. Who saw that coming? Would be a shame to waste that kind of performance in a loss, but that's where this is headed unless the Nats can rally over the next two innings.
9:29 p.m. — Nothing doing for the Nats in the bottom of the eighth. They do have Wainwright up to 101 pitches, but there's currently no action in the Cardinals bullpen as the top of the ninth begins. So Mike Matheny may just let his veteran go the distance. Still 2-0.
9:34 p.m. — Here we go. It'll be Harper, LaRoche and Desmond in the bottom of the ninth against Wainwright, though Edward Mujica is warming.
9:49 p.m. — That's it. Wainwright didn't go the distance, but Mujica finished it off, sending the Nats to their second shutout loss in three days, again by a count of 2-0. They've lost eight of 11 and are now playing .500 ball for the season.