|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
Yes, Hairston will lead off tonight, a curious spot for him given his career .299 on-base percentage (.233 this season). But perhaps Davey Johnson didn't want to throw his whole lineup out of whack with Denard Span getting the night off, so it was easiest to keep everyone else in place and just put Hairston at the top. We'll see how this works out. We'll also see how Bryce Harper does in center field, the first time he's started out there this season.
Taylor Jordan, meanwhile, makes his third career start, hoping to take another positive step forward. With Ross Detwiler now on the DL, the rookie right-hander knows he'll get at least one more start (Sunday in Miami), so he shouldn't feel the pressure to have to perform tonight. Maybe that will allow him to relax and just do his thing.
Updates to come, please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 183
Weather: Chance of storms, 86 degrees, Wind 5 mph out to RF
LF Scott Hairston
SS Ian Desmond
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Anthony Rendon
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Taylor Jordan
CF Ben Revere
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
LF Domonic Brown
3B Michael Young
RF Delmon Young
1B Darin Ruf
C Carlos Ruiz
LHP Cole Hamels
HP Vic Carapazza
1B Gary Cederstrom (cc)
2B Kerwin Danley
3B Lance Barksdale
7:08 p.m. — We are underway with a strike from Cole Hamels to Scott Hairston. A muggy 86 degrees at gametime.
7:13 p.m. — The good news: Hairston still owns Hamels. He singled to center to improve to 13-for-31 in his career against the lefty. The bad news: Ian Desmond grounded into a double play and Bryce Harper struck out looking at a curveball from Hamels. Onto the bottom of the first.
7:20 p.m. — Apparently, it's "Hit a leadoff single, then erase it with a double-play grounder" night at the ballpark. The Phillies just did the same thing as the Nats in the bottom of the first. Ben Revere singled to center, only to be wiped out on Jimmy Rollins' 4-6-3 double play. Taylor Jordan completes the inning on 10 pitches, 6 strikes. Scoreless after one.
7:27 p.m. — You know, it hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention, but Jayson Werth has been on an extended tear at the plate. He just crushed a 1-1 changeup from Hamels into the bleachers in left-center, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead in the second. Add that homer to his previous 22 games, and Werth's slash line is now .377/.456/.597. That's quite impressive over a significant stretch of games.
7:52 p.m. — He's given up several hard-hit balls, but Jordan has managed to face the minimum through three innings so far. The kid looks more and more comfortable with each inning he gets up here. He's at 40 pitches, 24 strikes, so far tonight. Nats still lead 1-0 after three.
8:09 p.m. — Well, that was ... well, that was not pretty. With a man on second base and two outs in the fourth, Domonic Brown lined a single to right. Werth came up firing to the plate, and though his throw was on-time, Kurt Suzuki couldn't handle the short-hop and the ball scooted away. Worse, Suzuki then misfired to second base trying to get Brown advancing, but that throw skipped into center field for an error. And worst of all, replays showed Chase Utley never even touched the plate. Bad call by Vic Carapazza, but some ugly defense from the Nats, too. This game is now tied 1-1 after four.
8:16 p.m. — Five offensive innings in the books, and the Nats have nothing other than Werth's homer and Hairston's leadoff single. Well, and a pair of plunkings via Hamels at Suzuki. That's both old-school and prestigious. Some might call it fake-tough, but I won't go there. Still 1-1 heading to the bottom of the fifth.
8:32 p.m. — Boy, the double-play ball has been big for Jordan tonight. He's induced three of them in five innings, helping keep the damage to a minimum. That's where a good sinkerball pitcher really makes a difference. Jordan is at 72 pitches through five, ready to return for at least one more inning of what remains a 1-1 game.
8:59 p.m. — The third time around the lineup was a problem for Jordan in his two previous starts, and it was again tonight. He retired only one of five batters faced in the sixth, though he wasn't helped by his defense. LaRoche was charged with a tough error on a potential 3-6-3 double play. Unfortunately, the ball hit Rollins and skipped past Desmond into left field, allowing a run to score. Michael Young's two-run double, though, was the big blast, and it came before Davey could get Jordan out of the game. The Nats now trail 4-1 after six, and Jordan will remain winless through his first three career starts.
9:11 p.m. — Well, at least they put a couple of guys on base in the seventh. It was a couple of infield singles that did it, but at least the Nats gave themselves a chance against Hamels. And then Suzuki skied a fly ball to shallow center field, ending that rally. It remains 4-1 at the stretch, and the Nats are down to their last six outs.
9:31 p.m. — Huge opportunity for the Nats in the eighth. They loaded the bases with one out, and Charlie Manuel came to the mound, ostensibly to take Hamels out. Except Hamels talked his way back in. And then he backed it up. He struck out Zimmerman on three pitches, the last a 92-mph high fastball. Werth then battled to a full count before skying a flyball to center to end the inning with the Nats still trailing 4-1. Not the result you wanted, but that was some pretty good theater for July 9.
9:38 p.m. — Last chance for the Nats. It'll be LaRoche, Rendon and Suzuki in the ninth. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo enters from the pen, perhaps only to face LaRoche.
9:54 p.m. — That's it. The Nats lose 4-2 — Wilson Ramos delivered a two-out RBI double off the right-field wall but Scott Hairston made the final out to end it — dropping their second straight in Philly. That leaves them at 46-44.