May 6, 2014, 3:26 PM EST
And we’re all back at Nationals Park, a mere 14 hours after the conclusion of last night’s rain-delay-o-rama, which saw the Nats pull off a 4-0 victory over Zack Greinke and the Dodgers and move into first place in the NL East. So, forgive everybody here for being a bit tired and cranky right now. (At least, forgive your trusty beat reporter.)
The Nationals came out of last night’s game in pretty good shape pitching-wise. Five relievers each went one inning and should be available to return tonight. Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen didn’t pitch at all, so they’re good to go multiple innings in relief if needed. Everything, of course, will depend on young Blake Treinen, called up from Class AAA Syracuse to make his first career start. The right-hander, part of the three-way Michael Morse trade from two winters ago, has a golden arm with a fastball that consistently hits 96-97 mph. We’ll see how he handles the pressure of facing a premier lineup tonight.
Speaking of premier, the Dodgers send a pretty good left-hander to the mound themselves tonight. Guy by the name of Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw makes his return from a strained upper back muscle that knocked him out following his Opening Day start in Australia in late-March. We’ll see how much the reigning Cy Young Award winner has in the tank for his first start back.
Updates to come, so please check back…
LOS ANGELES DODGERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly clear, 68 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from LF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Scott Hairston
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Blake Treinen
2B Dee Gordon
LF Carl Crawford
SS Hanley Ramirez
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
3B Juan Uribe
1B Scott Van Slyke
C Drew Butera
LHP Clayton Kershaw
HP Paul Nauert
1B James Hoye
2B Mark Wegner (cc)
3B John Tumpane
7:06 p.m. — We are underway on a gorgeous night at the ballpark. A nice crowd was just treated to a 97 mph fastball from Blake Treinen to Dee Gordon to get this one started.
7:14 p.m. — And a scoreless top of the first for Treinen, who fired six fastballs that registered 97 or 98 mph on the official radar gun. That’ll work. He did allow a bloop, opposite-field single to Carl Crawford but then got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Scoreless as Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the Dodgers.
7:20 p.m. — And a scoreless bottom of the first for Kershaw, who looked perfectly healthy and comfortable out there. His fastball was in he 93-94 mph range, and his slider was sharp (he struck out Anthony Rendon on one). Jayson Werth managed a 2-out single to left, but that was it for the Nats.
7:32 p.m. — Another scoreless frame for Treinen, who has impressed so far. He’s thrown 17-of-27 pitches for strikes. The only potential problem: He is throwing almost exclusively fastballs. It’s worked so far, but will that still work the second time through the lineup? Treinen’s repertoire isn’t deep, and that’s why some believe he’s best-suited to pitch out of the bullpen. But we’ll see. Scoreless as we go to the bottom of the second.
7:46 p.m. — Well, there you go. Treinen struck out Drew Butera on a slider in the top of the third. So he’s got that in him. Three scoreless in the books now for the right-hander, who has thrown 39 pitches (28 strikes).
8:01 p.m. — Make it four scoreless for Treinen, who is at 51 pitches having scattered four singles without walking anybody. The Nats pitching staff has now tossed 20 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to the first-inning run Gio Gonzalez allowed Sunday in Philly. Their staff ERA is all the way down to 2.99. Impressive. Still 0-0 here in the middle of the fourth.
8:12 p.m. — You aren’t going to get many chances better than that against Kershaw. Singles Rendon and Werth gave the Nats two on with nobody out in the bottom of the first, but they weren’t able to advance either runner. LaRoche popped out to third, and Hairston and Desmond each struck out. To the fifth we go, still scoreless.
8:25 p.m. — Wow, Treinen can even swing the bat! He just recorded his first career hit, off Kershaw nonetheless. That’ll be one to remember. He’s taking the mound now for the top of the sixth. So far this season, he hasn’t pitched more than five innings. His pitch count stands at 61. Before the game, Matt Williams said he would probably be restricted to 70-80 total. No action in the bullpen yet, so we’ll see how far they push the kid.
8:46 p.m. — Well, lady luck finally caught up with Treinen and the Nats in the top of the sixth. In the inning, there was one error (on a Treinen bobble), another error changed to a hit (on a LaRoche bobble), an infield single, a soft single to right, a fielder’s choice and a soft liner to left that Hairston broke back on before coming in on and missing by a step. Put it all together, and the Nats suddenly trail 3-0. All the runs were unearned, but they now face a 3-run deficit to Kershaw in the sixth. Tough break for Treinen and everyone else.
9:00 p.m. — This just in: Clayton Kershaw is really, really good. Even when he got into a jam in the bottom of the sixth, giving up three straight singles to open the inning, he escaped without anybody crossing the plate. How? By picking off Rendon, then striking out both Hairston and Desmond. The Nats are now 0-for-5 with RISP tonight, with four strikeouts. They still trail 3-0 heading to the seventh.
9:15 p.m. — Hairston offers a lot with his bat, but in the field … well, not so much. He got a late jump on a sinking liner in the sixth that led to one run scoring and just flat-out dropped a routine flyball in the seventh that brought another run home. The Nats have now surrendered 26 unearned runs this season, tops in the majors. That’s not good. It’s 4-0 at the stretch.
9:36 p.m. — And this one has turned into a goat rodeo. Ross Detwiler, who hadn’t pitched in six days, entered for the top of the eighth with the Nats trailing 4-0 and promptly turned it into an 8-0 deficit. Hanley Ramirez homered. Drew Butera homered. Detwiler didn’t bother to go after a swinging bunt between the mound and first base. Ugly, just ugly.
10:02 p.m. — The Nats tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the eighth. They even managed to score three runs. But they stranded the bases loaded when Span tapped a comebacker to reliever Jamey Wright. So they still trail 8-3 heading to the ninth.
10:15 p.m. — Last chance for the Nats. It’s still 8-3 in the bottom of the ninth.
10:21 p.m. — And that’s the ballgame. Nats lose 8-3. Coupled with wins by the Braves and Marlins, they’re now back in second place, tied with Miami, 1/2-game behind Atlanta.
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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