Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Liking the panorama function on my new phone...
So the pressure's on Stephen Strasburg to come up big against a Phillies lineup filled with reserves. No Ryan Howard. No Chase Utley. No Carlos Ruiz. Of course, the pressure's also on the Nationals lineup to do something against Cole Hamels, who has been frustrated by his own lack of run support and comes into this game with a stunning 1-7 record.
Updates to come, so please check back...
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 184
Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees, Wind 14 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Tyler Moore
C Jhonatan Solano
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RHP Stephen Strasburg
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Freddy Galvis
3B Michael Young
RF Delmon Young
LF Domonic Brown
1B Kevin Frandsen
CF Ben Revere
C Humberto Quintero
LHP Cole Hamels
HP Mike Winters (cc)
1B Mark Wegner
2B Laz Diaz
3B Tim Timmons
1:37 p.m. — And we're underway on a gorg ... wait, no time to talk about the weather because Jimmy Rollins already lofted Stephen Strasburg's very first pitch of the day to center field for an out.
1:41 p.m. — It took Strasburg all of nine pitches to retire the side in the top of the first. After the Rollins flyout, he got a pair of grounders to short, with Ian Desmond making a nice play to get Freddy Galvis and Adam LaRoche making a nice scoop of a low throw from Desmond to get Michael Young.
1:54 p.m. — The good news: Bryce Harper singled and advanced to second on a bad throw by Galvis. That makes him 6-for-14 in his career against Cole Hamels (I believe there was also a hit-by-pitch in there somewhere). And then Harper stole third, despite the fact his knee clearly is still bothering him. But the Nats couldn't bring him home with one out. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche each struck out, so they're already 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position today. Not a good start to the afternoon for the lineup.
2:03 p.m. — Ever wonder what it feels like to take a 95 mph Stephen Strasburg fastball off your chest? Ask Kevin Frandsen, who just got the opportunity to experience that when he squared around to bunt and missed the ball altogether and went down in a heap. Frandsen appears to be OK, and he was awarded first base, though I'm not sure he should have gotten the base. Looked to me like he never pulled the bunt back, so that should've been a strike. First base ump Mark Wegner disagreed. Oh well, didn't end up costing Strasburg, who allowed a two-out single but got out of the inning scoreless.
2:20 p.m. — Strasburg hasn't been perfect, but he's been very good so far. He's through three scoreless innings on 42 pitches (26 strikes). He did allow a leadoff single to Hamels, but he allowed nothing else in the third, striking out Michael Young looking to end the frame. Still scoreless heading to the bottom of the third.
2:29 p.m. — And Strasburg one-ups Hamels at the plate, with a hustle double to right field. OK, so the fact the right fielder is Delmon Young played a role in that, but still ... Not that it helped get the Nats out of their offensive funk. Span lined out to center and Harper struck out to end the inning, making them 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position already today. Harper, meanwhile, really limped his way out to right field. He is nowhere close to 100 percent healthy right now.
2:36 p.m. — Strasburg has really found his groove now, striking out the side in the top of the fourth. The last of those Ks was a check-swing by Frandsen, who spiked his bat to the ground in displeasure and was immediately ejected by Mike Winters. Rough 24 hours for Mr. Frandsen: He was hit by a 100 mph Henry Rodriguez pitch, hit by a 95 mph Stephen Strasburg pitch and now he's been ejected. Still scoreless here.
2:48 p.m. — This one's living up to the billing. Scoreless through 4 1/2 innings as Strasburg and Hamels trade blows. Strasburg struck out five straight batters who attempted to swing away (Ben Revere tried to bunt his way on in the fifth). He's at 67 pitches, 44 strikes.
2:54 p.m. — So, over the last seven half-innings, only two batters have reached base against Strasburg and Hamels are ... Hamels and Strasburg. Pretty crazy. Still 0-0 heading to the sixth.
3:01 p.m. — Make it six scoreless innings for Strasburg, who did give up a one-out single to Galvis in the sixth but then got Michael Young to ground into his league-leading 12th double play of the season. He's at 79 pitches. Still scoreless here.
3:09 p.m. — Another hit for Strasburg to lead off the bottom of the sixth. But that's it for the Nats. So, if you've lost track, Strasburg is now 2-for-2 against Hamels today, the rest of the lineup is 1-for-19. Yikes.
3:19 p.m. — And Strasburg strikes out the side in the seventh, hopping off the mound at the end. He's got nine strikeouts through seven scoreless, his pitch count at 97. There's no movement in the bullpen whatsoever. Still 0-0 at the stretch.
3:45 p.m. — Whoa, the Nats finally strike at the plate and bring home five runs in the bottom of the seventh, knocking Hamels out of the game. OK, so it wasn't an entirely conventional rally, but it worked. Zimmerman beat out an infield single. LaRoche struck a base hit to right. Desmond then sacrificed the runners up to second and third, a questionable decision on his part considering who was hitting behind him. But after the Phillies intentionally walked Moore, Solano nubbed a ball about 50 feet down the third base line and somehow two runs scored. Michael Young's throw to the plate was low and Humberto Quintero couldn't hang on as Zim slid across safely. LaRoche then came barreling around with the second run. Lombardozzi delivered the more conventional hit with runners in scoring position, bringing two guys home with a hit down the right-field that Delmon Young butchered into a triple. Throw in Span's RBI double and it's now 5-0. One other note: Harper, so clearly battling a bum knee, drew a walk and was finally removed for a pinch-runner. I seriously doubt he'll be playing tomorrow, but we'll see.
3:54 p.m. — So much for the Strasburg shutout. It ends on, of all things, a balk. But no real harm. Strasburg's line: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 112 pitches. It's 5-1 as we go to the bottom of the eighth.
4:02 p.m. — Make it 6-1 Nats as LaRoche doubles and Moore drives him home.
4:19 p.m. — That'll do it. Tyler Clippard closes out a 6-1 victory. Strasburg improves to 3-5 with a 2.49 ERA and the Nats take this series, heading into four straight with the Orioles.