|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
Adam LaRoche is on the bench. So is Denard Span. Those two are giving way to Tyler Moore and Scott Hairston. The only left-handed hitter in Davey's lineup is Bryce Harper, who gets bumped to the leadoff spot.
Dan Haren, incredibly the Nationals' best and most-reliable starting pitcher over the last month, gets the ball tonight, trying to erase the memories of last night's 11-1 trouncing at Wrigley Field.
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where: Wrigley Field
Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 187
Weather: Clear, 82 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to LF
CF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
1B Tyler Moore
2B Anthony Rendon
LF Scott Hairston
RHP Dan Haren
CF Junior Lake
2B Darwin Barney
1B Anthony Rizzo
RF Nate Schierholtz
3B Donnie Murphy
LF Brian Bogusevic
C Welington Castillo
SS Starlin Castro
LHP Chris Rusin
HP Bill Miller
1B Mike Winters (cc)
2B Tim Timmons
3B Laz Diaz
8:08 p.m. — And we're underway with a ball from Chris Rusin to Bryce Harper. It's another beautiful night at Wrigley Field, 83 degrees at first pitch with the wind blowing out. I would imagine the ball is going to fly again tonight.
8:15 p.m. — And the Nats jump on the board quickly, thanks to Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double into the left-field corner. To be fair, Starlin Castro was just as responsible for the run scoring, though, because the shortstop's inability to turn a 4-6-3 double play on Ian Desmond's tailor-made grounder allowed Desmond ultimately to score on Zimmerman's double. The Nats certainly will take it. They lead 1-0.
8:27 p.m. — Not the cleanest bottom of the first — Desmond let a groundball play him instead of vice-versa and wound up with an error, Haren allowed a stolen base and then threw a wild pitch — but the Nats escape unscathed. Haren got a big strikeout of Nate "Don't Call Me Babe" Schierholtz to end the inning with the 1-0 lead intact.
8:40 p.m. — The Nats put runners on second and third with nobody out in the top of the second, thanks to Tyler Moore's single (he's now 3-for-5 since his return from AAA) and Anthony Rendon's double into the right field corner. It was a bit curious that Trent Jewett didn't wave Moore around third, but his thinking was probably that there were no outs, so no need to risk it. Turns out that was a mistake, because Scott Hairston, Dan Haren and Bryce Harper made three quick outs, hitting the ball a total of 25 feet between them. That's not good. Still 1-0.
9:00 p.m. — The Nats have gotten leadoff singles in each of the three innings so far. Not one has scored.
9:30 p.m. — Bottom of the fifth now, it's 1-1 after Haren served up a solo homer to Brian Bogusevic on a 2-2 splitter in the fourth. Haren gave a look of disbelief as the ball just cleared the short fence in right-center, as if to say: "How in the world did THAT get out of here?" Welcome to Wrigley Field, Dan.
9:42 p.m. — Ryan Zimmerman has made several nice throws in this series on tough plays, but he just airmailed a routine throw for his 18th error of the season. Haren wound up in a jam because of it, with runners on the corners and two outs in the fifth. But he came up big to strike out Anthony Rizzo on a sinker on the inside corner, ending the inning and keeping this a 1-1 game. I'm not sure that's a pitch Haren makes two months ago.
10:00 p.m. — And the Nats re-take the lead in the top of the sixth. Though you'd think four hits and a walk would produce more than one run. Zimmerman got things started with a double off the wall in center. Werth added a single to shallow right, but he wound up running into an out when he did an awkward half-slide into second base on Moore's infield single to short. Strange play, but Moore did get credit for an RBI single with a man in scoring position. Davey tried to go for the jugular when he pinch-hit Adam LaRoche for Scott Hairston against righty reliever Blake Parker. LaRoche got on base, drawing a walk, but he might have been better off putting the ball in play because that left Haren to come through at the plate with the bases loaded. He didn't, as expected, so it's only 2-1 Nats as we go to the bottom of the sixth.
10:20 p.m. — That'll do it for Haren, who authored yet another quality start: six innings of one-run ball. Since returning from the DL on July 8, he's now got a 2.16 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. Oh yeah, he also recorded his first career save. Not bad. Drew Storen in for the bottom of the seventh, with the Nats still up 2-1.
10:31 p.m. — Another 1-2-3 inning of relief for Storen, who has been fantastic since his return from Syracuse last week. He has now retired 12 of the 13 batters he's faced. Very impressive. Still 2-1 heading to the eighth.
10:42 p.m. — The Nationals have put 16 men on base in eight innings tonight. They've scored two runs. Call me crazy, but that doesn't seem like a very good ratio. They should lead by a bunch right now, but it's still only 2-1 as Tyler Clippard enters for the bottom of the eighth.
10:51 p.m. — Denard Span once again displays some impressive range in center field, going way to his right to snag Schierholtz's drive to the warning track. Clippard gets through the eighth. Onto the ninth, the Nats still up 2-1 as Rafael Soriano warms up.
11:00 p.m. — OMG! A hit! With a runner in scoring position! Desmond singles home Harper, scoring a big insurance run in the top of the ninth. It's 3-1 now.
11:13 p.m. — OMGx2! Another hit! With a runner in scoring position! Span doubles home Zimmerman. It's 4-1 now.
11:22 p.m. — It's over, though Soriano did give up another homer to Donnie Murphy. Nats win 4-2.