Sep 22, 2013, 6:47 PM EST
Tonight the Nationals and Marlins make up Saturday’s game that was postponed because of rain. Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 2.96) returns to the mound after missing his last two starts with forearm tightness. It will be the final home game of the Nationals’ season, basically unless a miracle happens. Their 4-2 loss to the Marlins put their playoff chances at 0.2 percent according to CoolStandings.com.
Davey Johnson said before the game he is still concerned about Strasburg, enough that he purposely saved Ross Ohlendorf and Craig Stammen in the day’s first game in case he needs to make an early call to the bullpen. Strasburg will face the Marlins for the fifth time this season. Through 17 total innings he holds an ugly 5.82 ERA against Miami.
The Nats face a lefty in Brian Flynn (0-2, 9.64) so Davey has Tyler Moore in at first. Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon are also playing after sitting out the first game.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
MIAMI MARLINS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Sunny, 73 degrees, Wind 13 mph RF to LF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
1B Tyler Moore
3B Anthony Rendon
RHP Stephen Strasburg
2B Donovan Solano
1B Ed Lucas
LF Christian Yelich
RF Giancarlo Stanton
CF Justin Ruggiano
3B Chris Coghlan
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
C Koyie Hill
LHP Brian Flynn
HP Adrian Johnson
1B Bill Welke
2B Brian O’Nora
3B Dave Rackley
7:16 p.m. — For the second time today the Nationals find themselves trailing to the Marlins after the top of the first inning. This time it was just one run for Miami and it came on a slow groundball by Yelich down the first base line. Solano, who doubled and moved to third on a Lucas groundout, came home to score. 1-0 Marlins, Strasburg threw 20 pitches.
7:24 p.m. – Three quick outs for the Nats who were retired on just 11 pitches by Flynn. Zim grounded out while both Span and Werth struck out.
7:33 p.m. – Put another one on the board for the Marlins. Ruggiano clubbed a solo shot into the visitors bullpen in left field and it’s now a 2-0 game. Strasburg has tossed 34 pitches so far.
7:41 p.m. – No runs for the Nats in the bottom of the second. Ramos reached on a two-out walk, but that was it as Moore struck out to end the inning. Harper flew out for the first out and missed a homer by about five feet. Ruggiano collided with the wall on his way down from leaping to make the catch. Flynn is at 33 pitches.
7:46 p.m. – Strasburg allowed a single to the pitcher, Flynn, but that was it. Solano promptly grounded into a double play and Lucas hit a weak groundball to Zimmerman at third for an out. Strasburg has thrown 41 pitches.
7:57 p.m. – Two runs came across in the bottom of the third and this game is tied. Rendon led off with a single and was moved to second on a Strasburg sac bunt. Span then singled up the middle to bring him home. A wild pitch moved Span to second and he was then driven in by a Zimmerman single. 2-2 game. Flynn is at 50 pitches.
8:13 p.m. – The Marlins regained the lead in the top of the fourth on a Hechavarria RBI single that scored Stanton. Stanton got it started with a one-out single and Coghlan joined him with a walk before Hechavarria’s hit. Strasburg is at 71 pitches.
8:29 p.m. – The bottom of the fourth saw the Nats load the bases with no outs, and then come away with absolutely nothing. Rendon and Strasburg struck out swinging before Span grounded into a forceout at second. Flynn has thrown 79 pitches through four and just escaped what could have been a disastrous inning.
8:37 p.m. – Strasburg allowed a single to Ed Lucas with two outs, but that was it. He struck out Yelich to end the frame and record the 500th K of his career. He’s the third fastest player in MLB history to reach that mark (426.1 IP), only behind Kerry Wood (404.2) and Mark Prior (421.2).
8:48 p.m. – The bottom of the fifth saw more missed chances for the Nats, this time with runners on second and third. Zimmerman reached on an E5 and was joined on base after Werth singled. They were moved over with one out on a Desmond groundball down the first base line, but were left stranded by a Ramos groundout to the pitcher. The Nats are now 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in just the last two innings alone.
9:01 p.m. – Nothing going for the Marlins in the top of the sixth. The first out came on a Stanton groundball to Zimmerman at third. Zim dove to make a backhand stab and quickly fired a bullet to first. It was a bang-bang play that featured maybe Zimmerman’s best throw of the 2013 season.
9:24 p.m. – The Nationals took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on two RBI single by Span off relief pitcher Ryan Webb. Moore was hit by a pitch to lead off and was replaced on base by Jeff Kobernus. One out later Steve Lombardozzi doubled to left-center as a pinch hitter for Strasburg. Both were then driven in by Span’s single to right field. Craig Stammen will pitch the seventh for the Nats.
9:30 p.m. — Hey everyone, Mark Z. back in the saddle to finish out the game thread (and the Instant Analysis, and the postgame wrap) as Chase heads home following a long day (after a long night) at the park. Stammen just tossed a scoreless top of the seventh, getting a double-play grounder out of Solano and preserving the Nats’ 4-3 lead. That should set things up for Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano, who are each fresh after not appearing in today’s earlier game.
9:39 p.m. — Total attendance for the season was just announced: 2,652,422. That’s an average of 32,746 per game, most in the 6-year history of Nationals Park. It is, however, slightly lower than the 33,728 they averaged in the inaugural 2005 season at RFK Stadium.
9:47 p.m. — Another milestone just now: Ian Desmond swiped second base, notching his second straight 20-20 season. The only other player in Nats history to record even one 20-20 season: Alfonso Soriano, who of course went 40-40 in 2006. To the eighth, Nats still leading 4-3 and Clippard in to pitch.
10:02 p.m. — Uh-oh, Clippard gives up the lead in the top of the eighth, allowing back-to-back doubles to Yelich and Stanton. Yelich’s hit should have only been a single, but Span was slow to get to the ball and made a poor throw to second base, allowing a hustle double. So it’s now 4-4 as we go to the bottom of the eighth.
10:10 p.m. — To the ninth we go, still 4-4. Rafael Soriano enters for a non-save situation.
10:16 p.m. — Soriano retires the side, so we go to the bottom of the ninth. It’ll be Werth, Harper and Desmond for the Nats.
10:28 p.m. — Nats win. Werth leads off the bottom of the ninth with a double. Eury Perez pinch-ran for him and was part of a double-steal to put the winning run on third. Ramos then hit a sharp grounder to third, where Coghlan booted the ball and brought the winning run home. So the Nats hit the road for the final week of the season trailing both the Reds and Pirates by 5 games with 6 to play.
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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THU: 2:30 p.m.
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SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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