Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez faces Tim Hudson tonight at Turner Field.
Gonzalez is coming off a stellar outing against the Reds, one in which he allowed only one hit over eight innings (Joey Votto's homer). The lefty's record against Atlanta isn't anything to get excited about: 2-3, 6.08 ERA in five starts over the last two seasons. Hudson, on the other hand, has owned the Nationals franchise over the years (15-5, 2.60 ERA in 27 starts) though they did beat the veteran right-hander twice last season. He's in search of his 200th career win.
Jayson Werth is not in the Nats' lineup after dealing with both a hamstring and ankle issue last night. Bryce Harper will slide over to his spot in right field, with Tyler Moore in left field. Wilson Ramos, meanwhile, is catching for the first time since going on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Updates to come, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 76 degrees, Wind 6 mph RF to LF
CF Denard Span
2B Danny Espinosa
RF Bryce Harper
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
3B Chad Tracy
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Gio Gonzalez
SS Andrelton Simmons
3B Chris Johnson
LF Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
C Evan Gattis
2B Dan Uggla
CF B.J. Upton
RF Reed Johnson
RHP Tim Hudson
HP Tim Timmons
1B Mike Winters (cc)
2B Mark Wegner
3B Laz Diaz
7:10 p.m. — And we're underway with a ball from Tim Hudson to Denard Span. It's a gorgeous 75 degrees at gametime.
7:16 p.m. — A 1-2-3 top of the first for Hudson, though Span really battled him before striking out on the seventh pitch of the at-bat. Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the bottom of the first.
7:32 p.m. — Well that was, uh, not good. Andrelton Simmons tagged Gio's second pitch of the night off the top of the left-field fence for a homer. And things only devolved from there. Justin Upton walked. Evan Gattis roped a double off the same left-field wall, with Tyler Moore (making only his second start of the year in the outfield) having trouble with the carom and allowing Upton to score. Gio issued another walk, this time to Dan Uggla. Even when it looked like he got out of the inning, inducing a grounder to third out of Reed Johnson, Wilson Ramos was called for catcher's interference. So after all that, the Nats are down 2-0 and Gio has already thrown 29 pitches. Yikes.
7:52 p.m. — And it keeps getting worse. The Braves are crushing everything Gio throws up there. Well, everything except for the balls. (He's already issued three walks in two innings.) He's retired only six of 15 batters in this game, amazingly all six by his own doing (five strikeouts and a sweet diving catch of Simmons' popped-up bunt). He's thrown 55 pitches, and he's put the Nats in a 4-0 hole after two ugly innings.
7:59 p.m. — Tim Hudson, meanwhile, hasn't allowed a hit in three innings so far. The only Nats baserunner: Gio, who somehow drew a two-out walk in the top of the third. So, things are going pretty well here tonight, right? Sheesh.
8:15 p.m. — Make it four hitless innings for Hudson, though he has issued a couple of walks. Otherwise, the Nats aren't doing anything against the veteran right-hander so far. Still 4-0 as we go to the bottom of the fourth.
8:30 p.m. — Make it 5-0 Braves as Gio continues his wild ride in the bottom of the fourth. Get this: He's faced 24 batters so far tonight, and only one has produced an out on a full swing. Every other out has come via a strikeout, pickoff or diving catch of a bunt. I wouldn't be surprised if that's it for Gio, and if it is, that's a heck of a pitching line: 4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 9 K, 95 pitches.
8:36 p.m. — Hey, the Nats scored! Tyler Moore leads off the fifth with a double into the right-field corner, the first hit tonight off Hudson. He then advanced on a pair of groundballs, scoring on Ramos' little nubber to third. It's 5-1 now as Zach Duke enters to replace Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of the fifth.
8:47 p.m. — Sweet Fancy Moses, this is ugly. It's now 8-1 Braves as Duke gives up three in the bottom of the fifth. The play that epitomized this game (and, really, the last several weeks): Tim Hudson drove a ball deep to right, Bryce Harper leaped to try to make the catch, had the ball land in the pocket of his glove ... and then ricochet over the wall for a homer. That about sums it up. Meanwhile, ESPN is showing that Bryce Harper documentary in 13 minutes. Somethings tells me that'll get better ratings than the actual game being played simultaneously.
9:05 p.m. — Hey, it's a 1-2-3 inning from the Nats pitching staff! Still 8-1 after six. Anybody watching the Bryce documentary?
9:15 p.m. — Leadoff triple from Desmond in the seventh ... and the Nats can't bring him home. Yeah, that sounds about right.
9:29 p.m. — Is it over yet? No? OK, resume whatever it was you were doing.
9:41 p.m. — Now it's over. The Nats fall, 8-1, as Tim Hudson notches his 200th career win, 16 of them against the Nationals franchise. Losers of three straight, the Nats are back under .500 (13-14) and have lost nine straight to Atlanta, dating back to last season.