May 19, 2014, 3:11 PM EST
Today the Nationals and Reds begin their three-game series in Washington with two top 10 picks from the 2009 MLB Draft on the mound. Stephen Strasburg (3-3, 3.48), the first overall pick, will face off with Mike Leake (2-3, 3.09), picked eighth overall.
Strasburg will pitch against the Reds for the third time in his career. So far he’s had trouble against Cincinnati’s lineup, holding a 7.36 ERA (9 ER, 11 IP) across those outings. He last faced them on April 9 at the Great American Ballpark where he allowed six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Leake has faced the Nationals eight times already in his five-year career (kind of amazing, right?). He holds a 5.53 ERA across 42 1/3 innings against the Nats.
As you’ll see in the starting lineup below, Greg Dobbs is making his first start of the season at first base. Dobbs – as Mark pointed out to me before the game – has 14 at-bats this season, but has yet to play in the field. Keep that in mind, I guess, as you watch him at first today.
Speaking of first base, the Reds will be without Joey Votto today. Brayan Pena is starting at first base while Votto rests an injured left knee. Votto, in fact, is not even in Washington, despite not being on the disabled list. Kind of strange, but oh well.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
CINCINNATI REDS 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 sunny, 68 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
1B Greg Dobbs
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Nate McLouth
RHP Stephen Strasburg
CF Billy Hamilton
RF Skip Schumaker
2B Brandon Phillips
C Devin Mesoraco
3B Todd Frazier
1B Brayan Pena
LF Chris Heisey
SS Zack Cozart
RHP Mike Leake
HP Marty Foster
1B Rob Drake
2B Alan Porter
3B Joe West (cc)
7:15 p.m. — Strasburg allowed a double with one out to Schumaker, but no runs in the first inning. He got Hamilton out on a bunt that Ramos caught while diving in foul territory. He then struck out Phillips for the second out, and got Mesoraco to ground out to first base for the third. Strasburg threw 15 pitches.
7:25 p.m. — Nothing going for the Nats in the bottom of the first. Werth walked with two outs, but that was it. Leake threw 19 pitches.
7:35 p.m. — The Reds again got a man in scoring position in the top of the second, but the game remains scoreless. Frazier reached second with no outs on an error by Werth in right field. The ball just popped out of Werth’s glove. Strasburg is at 33 pitches.
7:48 p.m. — The bottom of the second saw some missed opportunities for the Nats. Desmond led off with a double and then moved to third on a Dobbs sac fly to right field. Espinosa then joined Desmond on base after getting hit in the thigh with a pitch from Leake. But even with two men on and one out, the Nationals could not bring any runs home. McLouth struck out looking and Strasburg grounded out to short. Leake is at 34 pitches through two.
7:57 p.m. — Strasburg is now through three scoreless after only allowing a Hamilton walk in the third. He’s thrown 47 pitches.
8:03 p.m. — The bottom of the third was a quick one for the Nationals who saw all three batters get out on balls put in play. Rendon’s actually began with a single before Schumaker threw him out at second trying to stretch a double. Leake is at 45 pitches.
8:16 p.m. — The Reds brought a run home in the fourth on a strange sequence with one out. Frazier reached on a hit-by-pitch with one out and moved to third on a Pena single. Frazier then scored on a throw attempt by Ramos to get Pena out at second. Strasburg landed a curveball in the dirt and Ramos threw to second as Pena started running to second. It was an unfortunate way to break a scoreless game. Strasburg has thrown 61 pitches.
8:35 p.m. — Strasburg allowed another run in the fifth in another rally that started with a hit batter. This time it was Cozart who reached on a HBP. He moved to second on a Leake sac bunt, and then to third on a Hamilton infield single. A Schumaker single up the middle then scored the shortstop to make it a 2-0 game. Strasburg is at 77 pitches through five.
8:44 p.m. — The Nationals couldn’t score once again in the fifth inning, despite getting two runners on with one out. After McLouth grounded out, Strasburg and Span each singled before lineouts by Rendon and Werth ended the frame. Leake is through five scoreless innings having thrown 77 pitches.
8:59 p.m. — Still a 2-0 game after the sixth inning. Strasburg will come out for the seventh having thrown 86 pitches.
9:07 p.m. — The Reds saw Hamilton go all the way to third in the top of the seventh before making the third out on a attempt to steal home. He singled to reach base with one out and then stole second. He got to third on a Schumaker groundout before trying to head home. Once he got the jump from third, Strasburg quick-pitched it to home to get Hamilton in a rundown. It worked and the Nats prevented the run. It’s still 2-0 with Espinosa up next.
9:25 p.m. — The Nationals finally scored a run, and it came after a single by McLouth. McLouth singled to left field with one out and was moved to second on a wild pitch. He then came all the way around on a single by Span to right field with two outs. It’s 2-1 now with Ryan Mattheus in to pitch the top of the eighth.
9:35 p.m. — It was 1-2-3 for Mattheus as the Nats will now have six outs to tie or win this thing. Werth will lead off the top of the eighth.
9:42 p.m. — The Nats saw Desmond get to second with a two-out single and E5 throwing error, but no runs come across. Mattheus will now go back out there to pitch the ninth.
9:51 p.m. — No runs for the Reds in the ninth, though Heisey did reach on a one-out double. The Nats will now send Espinosa, McLouth and a pinch-hitter up for their final chance. Aroldis Chapman will pitch.
10:03 p.m. — This game is going to extras. The Nats got to Chapman thanks to some solid at-bats by Espinosa, Kevin Frandsen and Scott Hairston. Espinosa led off with a double to left field, a line drive absolutely smoked off a 99 mile per hour fastball. Frandsen then flew out into the left-center field gap to move Espinosa to third. Hairston was able to fly out to deep left in the next at-bat to bring Espinosa home on the sacrifice. 2-2 game with the 10th inning up next. Rafael Soriano will take over now.
10:14 p.m. — Soriano pitched a scoreless 10th despite seeing Schumaker reach second base. Schumaker walked on four pitches with one out and stole second in the next at-bat. That was as far as he’d get, though. On to the bottom of the 10th where Chapman will remain in the game to face Rendon, Werth and Ramos.
10:22 p.m. — Nothing going for the Nats in the bottom of the 10th as Chapman got both Rendon and Ramos to strike out swinging, and Werth to line out to SS. Drew Storen will now pitch the 11th.
10:40 p.m. — Storen got out of the 11th with no runs allowed, but man was it not easy. Frazier led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Heisey then walked one batter later. Cozart then lined out to third, but Rendon tried to make the double play on a throw to first. He was a split second late – a call upheld by a 3:39 challenge by the Nats – and both runners were safe in scoring position. Ryan Ludwick then struck out looking to end the frame. Desmond will lead off the bottom of the 11th.
10:53 p.m. — On to the 12th we go as only Espinosa reached on a two-out infield single. Tyler Clippard will take over to face Hamilton.
10:59 p.m. — Three up, three down for Clippard. Bottom of the 12th up next with Tyler Moore set to lead off in Clippard’s spot.
11;11 p.m. — The Nationals had a really good chance in the 12th before a spectacular defensive play by Phillips saved the Reds. Span got to second on a throwing error by Cozart on a sac bunt attempt, and was joined on base by Rendon who walked. Werth then hit a sac fly to right field to move Span to third with two outs. Ramos almost squeaked a single through up the middle on a low line drive, but Phillips snagged it on a dive up the middle. Still 2-2 with the 13th inning up next.
11:19 p.m. — Aaron Barrett came in to pitch and escaped with no runs despite allowing two men to reach with zero outs. Mesoraco walked and Frazier singled, before Neftali Soto bunted into a forceout at third and Heisey grounded into a double play. Bottom of the 13th up next with Desmond set to hit.
11:36 p.m. — Still 2-2 after the top of the 14th despite a leadoff single by Cozart. On to the bottom of the 14th. By the way, this is the 15th time the Nats have played at least 14 innings since the team moved to D.C. Only twice have they played 15 innings. This is the longest game since Dan Haren earned the save in Atlanta on Aug. 17 of last year.
11:46 p.m. — Just unbelievable. Once again the Nats have what looks like a walk-off single get robbed by a sensational defensive play by a Reds player. This time it was Hamilton diving to catch a Rendon line drive to center field. Unreal. On to the 15th.
11:56 p.m. — After seven scoreless innings tossed by the Nationals’ bullpen tonight, the Reds finally broke through on Ross Detwiler in the 15th. Phillips led off with a single and two batters later Frazier smacked a two-run homer into the red seats in left-center field. The Reds now lead 4-2 with the bottom of the 15th up next. Werth, Ramos and Desmond are due to hit.
12:07 a.m. — The Nats got a run on a bloop single by Dobbs, but lose 4-3. They are now 23-21 on the year.
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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