|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
This will be Jordan's eighth big-league start, and perhaps the thing that has stood out most about him to date is his ability to keep the ball in the strike zone. He has issued only seven total walks since arriving in D.C., never more than two in any individual start.
Speaking of control artists, Cliff Lee gets the nod tonight for the Phillies. This is a guy who over his last 111 starts has issued 112 walks. Stop for a moment and think about that. It's mighty impressive.
Updates to come...
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
2B Anthony Rendon
RHP Taylor Jordan
SS Jimmy Rollins
1B Michael Young
2B Chase Utley
LF Domonic Brown
RF Darin Ruf
3B Cody Asche
C Carlos Ruiz
CF Michael Martinez
LHP Cliff Lee
HP Jim Reynolds
1B John Hirschbeck (cc)
2B James Hoye
3B Bob Davidson
7:06 p.m. — And we're underway on a gorgeous Saturday night in the nation's capital. Taylor Jordan starts off Jimmy Rollins with a fastball for strike one.
7:11 p.m. — This one began on kind of a weird play: Jayson Werth dropped Jimmy Rollins' line drive to right, a game-opening error on the right fielder. But props to Taylor Jordan, who it seems like has had to pitch around errors behind him since he arrived in the big leagues, for getting around another one. He nearly got a 6-4-3 double play out of Michael Young, though Young barely beat the throw to first. No worries, because Jordan then got Chase Utley to go 6-4-3 to end the top of the first.
7:20 p.m. — It only figures that the two left-handed batters at the top of the Nats lineup would reach base against Lee, only to watch as the two right-handed hitters combined to make three outs. Denard Span singled up the middle, his second hit off a lefty in his last three at-bats, but was quickly erased on Ryan Zimmerman's 4-6-3 double play. Bryce Harper then drew a two-out walk, but Jayson Werth followed by taking strike three on the inside corner. Scoreless after one.
7:39 p.m. — Oof, that wasn't good. Jordan got roughed up big-time in the top of the second, giving up four runs on five hits. One of those was a two-run bomb by Darin Ruf off a 93-mph sinker up in the zone. In Jordan's defense, three other batters did reach without getting the ball out of the infield. Though one of those was Cliff Lee's squeeze bunt, on which Jordan made an ill-advised decision to try for the out at the plate. He didn't get it. Put it all together, and now the Nats trail 4-0 in the middle of the second.
7:48 p.m. — Double-oof. Ian Desmond put on a terrible display of baserunning in the bottom of the second. Running on the pitch from first base with one out, Desmond completely lost track of the ball. Wilson Ramos had lined it right at Michael Martinez in center field. By the time Desmond figured out what was going on, he was doubled up by a mile, ending the inning in ugly fashion.
8:11 p.m. — Things have settled down here on both ends. Jordan has tossed a couple of scoreless innings since his disastrous second. Lee, meanwhile, is cruising along, having retired five straight. It's still 4-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
8:24 p.m. — The Nats storm back and cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth. Zimmerman got things started with a ground-rule double to left (though he seemed to think it was actually a home run at first). No worries, because he still scored on Werth's single up the middle. Desmond added a double to right-center, and then LaRoche delivered a productive out, scoring Werth on a groundball to first. So it's now 4-2 Phillies after four and the Nats have new life.
8:34 p.m. — Props to Jordan for battling back from that train wreck of a second inning. He's tossed three scoreless since, capping the fifth with a strikeout of Ruff on a nice slider. That's a pitch Jordan has really improved since arriving up here in midseason. And it's the pitch that could allow him to really become something long-term, a key third weapon to have along with his sinker and changeup.
8:46 p.m. — Tanner Roark (whose last name, remember, is pronounced "ROW-ark") entered for the sixth and quickly retired the side. Taylor Jordan's final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 77 pitches. He's at 136 total innings for the season. Is that it for him, or will the Nats give the rookie another start? Ross Ohlendorf, for what it's worth, allowed one run in three innings tonight in a rehab start with Syracuse, throwing 63 pitches. He's lined up to take Jordan's spot whenever the shutdown takes place. Still 4-2 heading to the middle of the sixth.
9:08 p.m. — And the Nats keep chipping away. They've trimmed the lead to 4-3 thanks to a two-out RBI single from birthday boy Wilson Ramos in the bottom of the sixth. They've knocked Lee out of the game. And Roark has tossed two scoreless innings of relief on 12 total pitches. He's now faced 12 hitters in his big-league career and retired 11 of them. Not a bad way to debut, huh? Seventh-inning stretch time here.
9:34 p.m. — And the Nats tie this game up. No wait, they've taken a lead. No wait again, they've taken a commanding lead. It's a five-run bottom of the seventh for the home ballclub, which sent 10 men to the plate and demolished the Phillies bullpen. The tying run scored when Harper decided to bunt with runners on first and third, popping it up but getting the ball to fall short enough to only allow one out to be recorded on the play. Moments later, Werth crushed Zach Miner's first pitch over the left-field fence for a 2-run homer that gave the Nats the lead and gave Werth his 1,000th career hit. He earned a curtain call from the crowd for that. But wait, there's more. Rendon delivered a two-run single to complete the rally. All of a sudden, the Nats (who trailed 4-0 at one point) hold an 8-4 lead heading to the eighth.
9:39 p.m. — Uh-oh, Domonic Brown takes Tyler Clippard deep in the top of the eighth. That's the third homer Clippard has surrendered in his last four outings. No worries, though, because that's all he allowed. It remains an 8-5 game heading to the bottom of the eighth as Rafael Soriano begins to loosen in the pen.
9:50 p.m. — Onto the ninth. Here's Soriano trying to protect a 3-run lead.
9:58 p.m. — It's over. Nats win 8-5, their second straight and the largest deficit they've overcome all season (four runs). Tanner Roark earns his first career win. Jayson Werth enjoys the big night at the plate. They'll go for the sweep of the Phillies tomorrow with Stephen Strasburg on the mound.