Apr 6, 2014, 12:45 PM EST
Whew. Three stories about Nationals’ injuries later, and it’s time for the game thread. We’re just five games into the Nats’ 2014 season and what a ride it has been.
Today the Nationals have a game to play, and it’s about as important as an April game can be. They will look to avoid a sweep to the Atlanta Braves, who have come to Washington showing no effects from their disastrous spring training injuries.
Taylor Jordan will get the start in what will be his second career appearance against the franchise. He tossed six scoreless innings on Aug. 16 against the Braves, in a game the Nats eventually lost.
For the Braves it will be lefty Alex Wood who has tormented the Nationals in his brief MLB career. In two starts last season he allowed just one run across 11 innings. He’s got a funky delivery, if you remember, almost a Ubaldo Jimenez-type motion coming from the left side.
The Nationals will be without Ryan Zimmerman today, and it looks like both Bryce Harper and Denard Span are getting the day off. Besides Jose Lobaton, you’re looking at Tyler Moore who traveled from Syracuse this morning in terms of bench options. Span and Harper may end up having to play out of necessity.
Stay tuned for updates…
ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, XM 185, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly sunny, 55 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from RF
3B Anthony Rendon
LF Kevin Frandsen
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Nate McLouth
C Sandy Leon
RHP Taylor Jordan
RF Jason Heyward
CF B.J. Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
3B Chris Johnson
LF Justin Upton
2B Dan Uggla
C Gerald Laird
SS Andrelton Simmons
LHP Alex Wood
HP Doug Eddings
1B Marvin Hudson
2B Cory Blaser
3B Jim Joyce (cc)
1:41 p.m. — No runs for the Braves in the first after Heyward reached first on a fielding error by Espinosa. Heyward hit a hard ball to Espinosa who dropped it before throwing to first. Heyward was called safe on a close play that could have gone either way. Matt Williams came out to protest, but opted to not challenge the call. Upton grounded into a double play the very next at-bat, anyways. Jordan is at seven pitches (4 strikes) after one.
1:59 p.m. — The Nats took an early lead in the first inning on an infield groundball by Werth that scored Rendon. Rendon had led off with a bunt to reach first and was joined on base by Frandsen who singled to left. Desmond then grounded out on a barehanded play by Johnson at third. The play was challenged, but the call was upheld. It’s 1-0 Nats as Wood used 21 pitches (16 strikes) in the first.
2:05 p.m. — The Braves saw two players reach on singles with no outs, but no runs in the top of the second. Jordan is at 18 pitches (12 strikes) through two.
2:10 p.m. — The bottom of the second went quickly for the Nationals who went down 1-2-3 on eight pitches. Wood is now at 29 on the day through two, 22 of them strikes.
2:17 p.m. — Another scoreless inning for Jordan who is looking pretty good here through three. He got Wood to ground out before both Heyward and Upton hit infield popouts. Jordan has thrown 31 pitches (22 strikes).
2:26 p.m. — Three up, three down for the Nats in the bottom of the third. Wood is at 41 pitches now.
2:38 p.m. — Still 1-0 Nats despite Jordan finding himself in a bases loaded jam with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Jordan issued one-out walks to Johnson and Upton, as he threw 10 balls in his first 18 pitches of the inning. Uggla then grounded to Desmond and all three runners were safe after Espinosa dropped the throw at second. That’s his second error of the day already. Laird struck out and Simmons grounded into a forceout at second to end the inning. Jordan is at 56 pitches after throwing 25 in that frame.
2:43 p.m. — Three quick outs for the Nats as Wood is looking better and better as this game goes on. He’s now through four innings on 48 pitches. That’s after throwing 21 in the first alone.
2:47 p.m. — The top of the fifth was 1-2-3 for Jordan who is matching Wood for a nice little pitchers duel here. Jordan has tossed five scoreless on 65 pitches. McLouth, Leon and Jordan are up next.
3:03 p.m. — Finally, the Nats made Wood throw some pitches in the bottom of the fifth. McLouth made him throw 13 in the first at-bat, just to get him to line out to second. Leon then reached on a throwing error by Johnson. Jordan moved Leon to second on a groundout, and Rendon struck out looking to end the frame. Wood is now at 80 pitches.
3:15 p.m. — We are tied at 1-1 now after the Braves brought a run home in the top of the sixth. Freeman led off with a single and was joined on base by Johnson who doubled. Uggla then brought Freeman home on a sac fly with one out. Craig Stammen was warming up, so we’ll see if Jordan returns. He’s thrown 82 pitches through six.
3:23 p.m. — The bottom of the sixth was another quick one for the Nationals’ lineup. Frandsen, Werth and LaRoche all went down on balls put in play. Wood is through six with 93 pitches thrown.
3:34 p.m. — Jordan stayed in the game and allowed a leadoff single to Simmons. Jordan was then replaced by Jerry Blevins after Wood bunted Simmons to second. Blevins got Heyward to strike out swinging and Upton to line out to Desmond to end the inning.
3:45 p.m. — And we are tied no more. Desmond took the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh over the fence in left field for a solo home run. Nats up 2-1 as Denard Span has been subbed in to play center. McLouth shifts to left field as Frandsen is now out of the game.
3:56 p.m. — Blevins and Tyler Clippard combined to pitch a clean inning for the Nats in the top of the eighth. Blevins got Freeman to fly out to center before Clippard saw Johnson fly out and Upton go down swinging. On to the bottom of the eighth with Gus Schlosser in to pitch for the Braves.
4:08 p.m. — Nothing going for the Nats in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan Zimmerman did pinch-hit for Clippard, however, which was rather interesting. He said before the game that his shoulder does not hurt when he swings a bat, it is all about throwing. Anyways, Rafael Soriano is now in to try and close this one out.
4:22 p.m. — It involved two infield singles, but Soriano closed it out. 2-1 is your final score as the Nats avoid the sweep.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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