|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
In fact, Davey Johnson has six of his eight regulars in the lineup, with only Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos (who caught all 15 innings last night) getting the day off. Both Bryce Harper (bruised left triceps) and Jayson Werth (stiff back) are playing despite nagging injuries. The Braves, on the other hand, only have three regulars in their lineup: Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson and B.J. Upton (though Upton hadn't started either of the first two games of the series).
The obvious key to today's game: Getting as many innings as possible out of the two starters. So the pressure is on Gio Gonzalez and Julio Teheran to come up big. The pressure is also on Mother Nature to hold off on the heavy rain until at least five innings are played and this game is official. Could be dicey.
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 185
Weather: Rain, 68 degrees, Wind 5 mph RF to LF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
3B Chad Tracy
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez
CF B.J. Upton
2B Phil Gosselin
1B Freddie Freeman
LF Evan Gattis
3B Chris Johnson
C Gerald Laird
RF Joey Terdoslavich
SS Paul Janish
RHP Julio Teheran
HP Wally Bell (cc)
1B Jordan Baker
2B Marty Foster
3B Marvin Hudson
12:50 p.m. — Uh-oh, it's pouring here now. Tarp's on the infield. An on-time start seems pretty unlikely at this point.
1:35 p.m. — Your weather update: The tarp is off and the grounds crew is preparing the field. No sign of the pitchers yet, though, so figure it'll be at least another 30 minutes til we'll underway.
2:14 p.m. — And we are underway at last, 39 minutes behind schedule. Julio Teheran starts off Denard Span with a fastball for strike one.
2:24 p.m. — And after one half-inning, the Nationals are already 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. They had two on with nobody out after Span singled and Anthony Rendon drew a walk. But Bryce Harper (in his first encounter with Teheran since the initial plunking of this whole saga) flew out to left, Jayson Werth struck out on a 2-2 fastball and Adam LaRcohe grounded out on the first pitch he saw. So a wasted opportunity right there as Gio Gonzalez takes the mound for the bottom of the first.
2:37 p.m. — A ragged first frame for Gio. He immediately put himself in a jam by walking B.J. Upton, letting him steal second base with way too much each, allowing a bunt single to Phil Gosselin (the first base hit of his MLB career) and then serving up an RBI single to Freddie Freeman. Gonzalez did get Evan Gattis to ground into a double play, but Chris Johnson followed with a bloop single to right, making it 2-0 Braves after one.
2:50 p.m. — Hey, the Nats put two on with nobody out again in the top of the second! And failed to advance either runner once again. Kurt Suzuki struck out on three pitches. Gio popped up a bunt attempt (he's now 6-for-12 in sac bunts this season after going 9-for-10 last year). And Span skied a flyball to center to end the inning. Two innings in the books and the Nats are 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
3:15 p.m. — Sweet. Fancy. Moses. Three innings down and the Nats are 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They once again put the first two men on base. And they once again failed to advance them. Werth struck out looking. LaRoche popped up to shallow left field, and even though the Braves got mixed up and let the ball fall to the ground, they still got Rendon on a 6-5 force out at third base. Desmond then grounded to third to end the inning and continue this run of offensive futility. It's still 2-0 Braves in the middle of the third.
3:22 p.m. — The Nats catch a break in the bottom of the third. With one out and Gosselin breaking from first base, Gio struck out Gattis, who was then called for interfering with Suzuki trying to make the throw to second. So it's an inning-ending double play, a fortuitous turn of events.
3:34 p.m. — Gio is settling into a groove now. He's got six strikeouts over the last three innings, keeping this a 2-0 deficit through four.
3:47 p.m. — Five innings down, make it 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Though to be fair, Werth did rope a line drive to left just now to end the top of the fifth and strand Harper on second. Couldn't hit the ball much harder than Jayson just did. Still, the 0-fer continues.
3:53 p.m. — Gonzalez's roll continues. He has struck out eight batters over the last four innings, allowing only one hit during that span. But it remains a 2-0 Braves lead until the Nats can do anything against Teheran.
4:03 p.m. — Another chance for the Nats in the top of the sixth after Tracy delivered a two-out double. But that allowed Fredi Gonzalez to intentionally walk Suzuki and force Davey to decide whether to let Gio hit or to send up a pinch-hitter. If not for last night's marathon, perhaps he would have pulled his starter. But given the situation, Davey really had no choice but to let Gio hit. It went about as you would expect, with Gonzalez striking out. So make it 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Onto the bottom of the sixth, still a 2-0 game.
4:15 p.m. — If the Nats are going to win this game, they'll have to score three runs off the Braves bullpen before making nine outs. That's a stiff challenge. Scott Downs enters for the top of the seventh to face the top of the lineup.
4:30 p.m. — The good news: The Nats got a hit with a man in scoring position! Jayson Werth (who else?) delivered a one-out single to center, bringing home Rendon to make this a 2-1 game and leave the tying runner on third. The bad news: The Nats killed the rally with a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play, LaRoche whiffing at the pitch from David Carpenter and Werth getting thrown out trying to steal second. So it's still 2-1 Atlanta at the stretch.
4:46 p.m. — On a day when they absolutely needed it, the Nats got seven innings of 2-run ball out of Gio Gonzalez. It wasn't always pretty, but he got the job done. And he threw 120 pitches, the second-highest total of his career. Still 2-1 heading to the eighth as Jordan Walden enters from the Atlanta pen.
4:58 p.m. — Another 1-2-3 inning from Drew Storen. So here we go to the ninth, with Craig Kimbrel entering. The Nationals haven't scored in their last 12 innings against him.
5:07 p.m. — It's over. Denard Span reached on an infield single, but Kimbrel finished it off by getting Rendon and Harper. So the Nats lose 2-1 and fall back to 15 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East.