|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
If they do play, Ross Detwiler will take the mound for the Nationals, trying to build off his solid-not-spectacular return from the DL last Thursday in Colorado. Detwiler faces a bolstered Phillies lineup, with Carlos Ruiz fresh off the DL himself and ready to wreak havoc on the Nats as he has done throughout his career.
Cliff Lee starts for Philadelphia, facing a Nationals lineup that desperately needs to get healthy and productive. Still waiting to hear if Denard Span will be back after missing last night's game with a bruised right foot, but he appeared to be moving around better after the night off.
Weather and game updates to come, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 184
Weather: Rain, 76 degrees, Wind 3 mph in from RF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
C Kurt Suzuki
LF Steve Lombardozzi
LHP Ross Detwiler
CF Ben Revere
3B Michael Young
SS Jimmy Rollins
1B Ryan Howard
LF Domonic Brown
RF Delmon Young
2B Kevin Frandsen
C Carlos Ruiz
LHP Cliff Lee
HP Ted Barrett
1B Alfonso Marquez
2B Scott Barry
3B Mike DiMuro
6:30 p.m. — Your weather update: We're about 30 minutes from scheduled first pitch, and the tarp remains on the infield, with no sign of either team's starting pitcher. So it certainly appears the start of this game will be delayed.
7:45 p.m. — Good news: The tarp is being rolled up as we speak, the pitchers are headed to the bullpens and first pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m.
8:15 p.m. — And we are underway at last. It's still raining pretty hard, but Cliff Lee gets this game started with a fastball to Denard Span for strike one.
8:21 p.m. — To the surprise of no one, Lee is pounding the strike zone from the get-go. Twelve of his 14 pitches in the first inning were strikes, the only two balls coming to Anthony Rendon (who still struck out). Ryan Zimmerman did single through the left side hole for a base hit, but that was it for the Nats in the top of the first. Here's Ross Detwiler.
8:28 p.m. — Nice bottom of the first for Detwiler, who needed only 10 pitches to retire the side. He also made a nifty snag of Michael Young's comebacker. Ryan Zimmerman also made a nice, twirling play and throw on Jimmy Rollins grounder. Scoreless through one.
8:35 p.m. — Cliff Lee: 20 strikes, 4 balls so far. In other words, his command is a bit off.
8:38 p.m. — Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, has needed only 16 pitches to record six outs. Wow, Lee can only wish he was that efficient. Scoreless through two.
8:56 p.m. — We've got a pitching clinic going on here tonight, folks. Lee continues to pound the strike zone. Detwiler continues to get quick outs. He did surrender a bloop single to Carlos Ruiz, with Jayson Werth not quite able to get to the ball in shallow right field, but otherwise he's been perfect. Three innings down and Detwiler has thrown only 34 pitches (22 strikes). Still scoreless here.
9:05 p.m. — As much as Lee attacks the strike zone, it only makes sense to try to pounce on him from the moment you step into the box. Which Werth just did in a big way. He ambushed Lee's first-pitch fastball in the top of the fourth, belting a home run to left that needed maybe .8 seconds to leave the park. It's 1-0 Nats as we move to the bottom of the fourth.
9:11 p.m. — But the Phillies come right back and score the tying run. Michael Young led off the bottom of the fourth with a double to left-center, at which point Charlie Manuel decided to play small ball with the heart of his lineup. Jimmy Rollins put down a sacrifice bunt, a bit of an odd strategy, but it worked because Ryan Howard followed with a sacrifice fly to right. So it's 1-1 now moving on to the fifth.
9:27 p.m. — Denard Span has made a name for himself this year more for his glove than his arm but he just showed off an impressive hose with a pinpoint throw to the plate to nail Delmon Young, who was trying to score on Cliff Lee's single up the middle. Kurt Suzuki's tag was outstanding as well, ending the fifth inning with the game still tied 1-1.
9:37 p.m. — Another impressive at-bat from Rendon, who took an outside fastball from Lee and roped a base hit past the second baseman. Seriously, how many other members of the Nats current lineup consistently do that? Zimmerman, when he's hot. Not too many others that I can think of. It remains a 1-1 game, though, with neither team able to manufacture the go-ahead run against Lee and Detwiler, who continue to deal.
9:59 p.m. — Oof, rough bottom of the sixth for the Nats. Detwiler started to crumble on the mound, putting four straight batters on to begin the inning, with Michael Young delivering a perfect hit-and-run double to right field to score Revere with the go-ahead run. Detwiler at that point looked mighty fatigued, even though his pitch count remained under 70. But he then he very nearly righted the ship and escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam. He struck out Brown on a 95-mph fastball, then struck out Delmon Young on a breaking ball. And it looked like he got Frandsen to end the inning with a line drive to left. Except Lombardozzi got a bad jump, breaking back for a second before charging in and short-hopping the ball. Making matters worse, Lombo's throw to the plate didn't have much on it, bringing another run home. So just like that, it's 4-1 Phillies and now the Nats have to mount a serious late rally against Lee.
10:11 p.m. — Here's perhaps the most frustrating part of the evening: The Braves are on the verge of getting swept by the Mets in a doubleheader at Turner Field. There's an opportunity here for the Nationals to gain 1 1/2 games in the standings. Except they're down three runs and have only six offensive outs left. This would be a colossal waste of a golden opportunity.
10:27 p.m. — Holy moly, not only did Jeff Kobernus just hit the first home run of his career, he hit it off Cliff Lee. Yeah, I'm just as mystified by that development as anyone. It's now 4-2 Phillies, but the Nats are down to their final three outs.
10:40 p.m. — Speaking of shocking developments: Ryan Howard led off the bottom of the eighth with a stand-up triple. I know. Somehow, Drew Storen kept him from scoring. So here we go to the ninth, the Nats down two runs and facing Jonathan Papelbon. It'll be Zimmerman, Werth and LaRoche at the plate.
10:48 p.m. — No dramatic rally tonight. The Nats lose 4-2. Thanks to the Mets' doubleheader sweep of the Braves, they still actually gain 1/2-game in the standings. But the Phillies gain 1 1/2 games, and now these two clubs are tied for second place, 7 games back of Atlanta.