|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
The Nationals' two other left-handed-hitting regulars — Denard Span and Adam LaRoche — also have struggled to hit lefties this season, but each will get a chance to start tonight. Not that Davey has many other options to replace those two, especially with Scott Hairston already starting in Harper's place in left field.
Gio Gonzalez gets the start for the Nationals, and it's only appropriate since today is National Left-Handers' Day. Sense a recurring theme here?
Updates to come, so please check back...
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 183
Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
LF Scott Hairston
LHP Gio Gonzalez
CF Andres Torres
Marco ScutaroJoaquin Arias
1B Brandon Belt
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Jeff Francoeur
SS Brandon Crawford
LHP Madison Bumgarner
HP Jim Wolf
1B Mike Estabrook
2B Jim Joyce (cc)
3B Jeff Nelson
5:15 p.m. — Turns out Harper isn't in the lineup tonight because he's been dealing with the flu, according to Davey Johnson, who said he otherwise would have started Bryce against Bumgarner. For what it's worth, Harper did just take BP with Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth. So perhaps he's trying to talk his way into the lineup. Stay tuned.
7:06 p.m. — And we're underway. Bryce Harper did NOT talk his way into the lineup, so it's Scott Hairston in left field as Gio Gonzalez fires ball one to Andres Torres.
7:15 p.m. — A little bit of a ragged top of the first for Gio, who allowed a one-out bloop double to Joaquin Arias and then walked Brandon Belt. The lefty looked like he was going to get out of the jam when Buster Posey hit a chopper to the right side of the infield. But Gonzalez was way late covering first base, so the Nats couldn't turn an inning-ending, 3-6-1 double play. That would've proved costly, but he battled back to get Hunter Pence to ground out and end the inning without anybody scoring.
7:29 p.m. — And the Nats waste a one-out double by Anthony Rendon, leaving them 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position already tonight. Meanwhile, in between innings, the Giants' CSN Bay Area broadcast showed Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez in a heated argument in the dugout, likely over Gio's not covering first base in the top of the first. Steve McCatty and Rick Schu had to step in and separate the two. Stay tuned on this one.
7:45 p.m. — Meanwhile, this game is scoreless through two innings. Gonzalez has retired five in a row since the Belt walk in the top of the first. Bumgarner has also retired five in a row since the Rendon double.
7:53 p.m. — The wackiness continues in the top of the third. After walking Bumgarner on four pitches to begin the inning, Gonzalez then fired a pitch to the backstop. Bumgarner took off for second base, though he started coasting when he assumed he was going to be safe. Just one problem: Wilson Ramos got the ball and fired it to second base (nearly taking off Gio's head along the way) and nailed Bumgarner for the out. Bizarre. Gonzalez, meanwhile, seems to be dealing with some issues with his back, perhaps explaining why he wasn't hustling to cover first base earlier. After all that, it's still 0-0 heading to the bottom of the third.
8:08 p.m. — A chance for the Nats in the bottom of the third, with two on and one out for Rendon, but the rookie struck out looking at a fastball right down the pipe. Zimmerman then drew a walk, loading the bases for Werth, but the team's hottest hitter also struck out, leaving the Nats 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position through three scoreless innings.
8:18 p.m. — Gio has been pitching in trouble all night, but so far he's escaped without any damage. He stranded two more baserunners in the top of the fourth. The Giants are 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. This feels like the kind of game where one clutch hit will prove the difference. Then again, there's also an intense storm cell about to hit the area, so we could be looking at a delay (and then maybe a lot of bullpen arms the rest of the way).
8:28 p.m. — And the Nats take a 1-0 lead, thanks to Desmond's 50th extra-base hit of the year (a double), LaRoche's single and Ramos' hard shot off Bumgarner's leg. They're still only 1-for-8 with RISP, but they've got the lead, and now the rain and wind has arrived. It's pretty intense, but hopefully won't last too long.
9:21 p.m. — The rain has eased up, the tarp is being rolled up and we'll have baseball resuming at 9:45 p.m.
9:35 p.m. — Tanner Roark is warming in the Nats pen, so he'll take over the game from here. Gio Gonzalez's final line will be: 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K. He won't be eligible for the win, because he didn't go the minimum five innings.
9:45 p.m. — And we are back underway, with Roark on the mound and Kurt Suzuki now behind the plate in place of Ramos. Not sure what that's about.
9:57 p.m. — Uh-oh, this game is tied after Desmond lets an easy grounder from Posey roll right under his glove, bringing home a runner from third. Looked like Ian might have picked his head up too soon, looking to make the throw before he ever had the ball. Either way, it's now a 1-1 game thanks to the unearned run against Roark.
10:23 p.m. — And this game continues to slog along. Some of that is due to Guillermo Moscoso, which is apparently Spanish for "takes 45 seconds between every pitch." Seriously, Guillermo: Pick up the pace. Then again, he got the results he wanted in the bottom of the fifth, pitching around two leadoff walks to get out of the inning. Roark made it through the top of the sixth unscathed, so it remains 1-1.
10:35 p.m. — Adam LaRoche to the rescue. He clobbered a fastball right down Broadway from Moscoso off the facade of the second deck in right field for his 17th homer of the season. This one came right after Desmond singled, so the Nats take a 3-1 lead after six. That puts Roark in line for his second win in four days, if the rest of the bullpen can hold this two-run lead. It'll be Fernando Abad for the top of the seventh.
10:54 p.m. — Boy, Ryan Mattheus really hasn't been very good since returning from his self-inflicted broken hand. He just entered with two outs in the top of the seventh, a man on first, specifically to face the right-handed Posey and Pence. And he walked Posey on four pitches, then gave up an RBI single to Pence. Not good. To his credit, Mattheus did get Sandoval to fly out, so the Nats still lead 3-2 at the stretch. But it's really become a challenge for Davey to get through the seventh inning of games.
11:05 p.m. — Zimmerman has now grounded into two double plays tonight and 15 for the season, seventh-most in the NL. Still 3-2 as Tyler Clippard enters for the eighth.
11:15 p.m. — It wasn't pretty but Clippard got through the eighth. He put two men on with one out but battled to get two outs and preserve the 3-2 lead. Onto the bottom of the eighth.
11:35 p.m. — The Nats get a big insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, with Werth doubling and eventually scoring on Suzuki's sac fly to right. So it's a 4-2 lead for Rafael Soriano, who now takes the mound for the ninth.
11:43 p.m. — It's over. Nats win 4-2. It's their fourth straight, and it leaves them 2 games under .500.