|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
Once they do get started, Stephen Strasburg will be on the mound, making his first appearance since Saturday night's ejection in Atlanta. Strasburg, who wasn't punished by MLB for hitting the Braves' Justin Upton and then twice throwing behind Andrelton Simmons, should be plenty fresh in the wake of the shortest start of his career. How will his command be? I think a lot of people are very curious about that.
The Nationals have several lineup changes. With lefty Travis Wood on the mound for the Cubs, Davey Johnson is loading with right-handed hitters, including Scott Hairston and Tyler Moore. Ian Desmond also gets the day off. Desmond tweaked his back during BP yesterday but started the game and looked fine, only to be pulled later for precautionary reasons. Afterward, he insisted he was fine and expected to play today, but it looks like Davey isn't taking any chances.
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where: Wrigley Field
Gametime: 2:20 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 185
Weather: Storms, 80 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from LF
CF Bryce Harper
SS Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
1B Tyler Moore
LF Scott Hairston
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RHP Stephen Strasburg
SS Starlin Castro
1B Anthony Rizzo
C Dioner Navarro
RF Nate Schierholtz
CF Junior Lake
3B Donnie Murphy
LF Brian Bogusevic
2B Darwin Barney
LHP Travis Wood
HP Tim Timmons
1B Laz Diaz
2B Bill Miller
3B Mike Winters (cc)
1:55 p.m. — Well, we're 25 minutes from scheduled first pitch and the tarp is on the field, with more rain still coming into the area. So this one is going to be delayed. It's just a question now how long the delay will be.
2:50 p.m. — Nothing new to report. The tarp is still on the field. The rain is still falling. Neither starting pitcher has emerged yet.
3:35 p.m. — Hey, the grounds crew just emerged from the ivy in left field. At least I think that's where they came from. Maybe they were catching up with Andre Dawson. Anyways, they're starting to prepare the field. First pitch is tentatively scheduled for 4:20 p.m. EDT, so two hours later than originally planned.
4:20 p.m. — And we are underway at last after a 2-hour rain delay. Bryce Harper takes strike one from Travis Wood.
4:27 p.m. — And just like that, the Nationals have taken a 1-0 lead. Ryan Zimmerman poked Wood's first pitch to right-center for his 15th homer of the season, an opposite-field shot. Good start to this one for the Nats and Stephen Strasburg, who now takes the mound with a lead.
4:37 p.m. — Strasburg burst out of the gates dealing in the bottom of the first, striking out both Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo on wicked curveballs. He did surrender a bloop single to Dioner Navarro but bounced back to get Nate Schierholtz on a groundball. So that's a 15-pitch inning for Strasburg to get this one started.
4:54 p.m. — Make it 3-0 Nats thanks to another rally in the top of the second. Tyler Moore recorded his fifth hit in eight at-bats since returning from Syracuse, bolstering Davey Johnson's plan to give him more playing time, especially against lefties. Steve Lombardozzi doubled down the right-field line, putting two men in scoring position for Strasburg, who delivered. The reigning NL Silver Slugger Award winner lined an RBI single to center. Anthony Rendon's sac fly brought home another run and gave the Nats an early 3-run lead here.
5:03 p.m. — Four strikeouts already for Strasburg in two innings, all of them on curveballs. He got both Donne Murphy and Darwin Barney in the bottom of the second. Two scoreless in the books for Strasburg, 30 total pitches. Still 3-0 Nats.
5:19 p.m. — Whoa, Strasburg and Ramos just combined to catch a runner trying to steal second base! Strasburg had a quick delivery to the plate, and then Ramos fired a perfect throw to nab Castro. Nicely done all around. Still 3-0 after three.
5:31 p.m. — Four innings down, and Strasburg has allowed only one bloop single to Navarro in the bottom of the first. He's got six strikeouts and is just cruising right along to this point.
5:41 p.m. — Meanwhile, the Nats don't have a hit since Strasburg's RBI single in the second. Middle of the fifth now, still 3-0.
6:08 p.m. — 29,393 people can go home tonight and say they saw Steve Lombardozzi homer in person. Yep, Lombo just launched his first homer of the season, the fourth of his career. He and Strasburg are now a combined 4-for-6 today with a 2.000 OPS. Harper and Werth, on the other hand, are 0-for-5. It's 4-0 Nats at the stretch.
6:24 p.m. — Strasburg continues to mow down the Cubs. He's through seven scoreless innings now on 86 pitches. He's primed to go for his second complete game in three starts. And the other one, of course, was his ejection in the bottom of the second, so that can't really count.
6:42 p.m. — There goes the shutout. Brian Bogusevic blasts a solo homer to the right field bleachers in the bottom of the eighth, spoiling Strasburg's bid. But the right-hander got out of the rest of the inning. He's at 96 pitches and he will hit for himself in the ninth, so he'll be shooting for his second career complete game. 4-1 now.
6:53 p.m. — OK, here we go: Strasburg takes the mound in the ninth inning for the second time in 11 days. He'll face Rizzo, Navarro and Schierholtz with the Nats leading 4-1.
7:04 p.m. — Oh, dear. This game is tied and going to extra innings. Strasburg came within one out of the complete-game victory, but Rendon couldn't make a really tough play on a grounder in the hole at short, and Moore couldn't make the scoop at first base. Donnie Murphy then clubbed a 1-0 pitch over the left-field fence for the game-tying homer. Strasburg was beside himself as Davey came out to take the ball from him. Rafael Soriano now in.
7:08 p.m. — Extra innings. Not what anybody expected, or wanted, today.
7:19 p.m. — The Nats had a man on second with one out in the 10th, but couldn't advance him. Denard Span struck out looking and Lombardozzi flied out to center. Bottom of the 10th now, with Tyler Clippard in from the pen.
7:29 p.m. — Clippard retires the side. To the 11th.
7:38 p.m. — A nifty catch by Dioner Navarro to end the top of the 11th. The Cubs catcher had to squeeze into a narrow nook between the first base dugout and the stands to snag Rendon's pop-up. So we go to the bottom of the 11th, Craig Stammen now in.
7:46 p.m. — Stammen retires the side. To the 12th.
7:55 p.m. — David DeJesus officially was credited with a sac bunt in the top of the 12th, but it was the ugliest sac bunt in the history of sac bunts. I don't even know where to begin. Meanwhile, the Nats stranded the go-ahead run on second, so we go to the bottom of the 12th, Stammen back out there for another inning.
8:05 p.m. — Stammen gets through the bottom of the 12th. To the 13th we go.
8:18 p.m. — The Nats take the lead in the top of the 13th. Span doubles, takes third on Lombardozzi's bunt and then scores on Chad Tracy's swinging bunt groundout to the first baseman. Hey, whatever works. They lead 5-4 and here's Drew Storen for the save.
8:25 p.m. — It's over. Storen saves a 5-4 win in 13 innings.