Jun 1, 2014, 9:56 AM EST
The Nationals’ offense has enjoyed their best consecutive games of the 2014 season this weekend, combining to score 19 runs in two wins over the Rangers. For the third and final game of this interleague series, they’ll get quite the challenge as they look to keep it up.
Rangers ace Yu Darvish (4-2, 2.35) is one of the best pitchers in baseball and will be facing a lineup who mostly has never seen him before. Denard Span, amazing enough, is 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI against him. Nate McLouth and Jose Lobaton are a combined 0-for-7 vs. the right-hander.
Pitching for the Nats will be former Rangers prospect Tanner Roark (3-3, 3.47). Roark was traded to the Nationals along with pitcher Ryan Tatusko for Cristian Guzman in 2010.
Updates to come, so please check back…
TEXAS RANGERS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 185, MLB.com
Weather: Sunny, 74 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from LF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
LF Nate McLouth
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Tanner Roark
LF Michael Choice LF Daniel Roberston
SS Elvis Andrus
RF Alex Rios
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Donnie Murphy
CF Leonys Martin
C Chris Gimenez
2B Luis Sardinas
RHP Yu Darvish
HP Clint Fagan
1B Jeff Nelson (cc)
2B Scott Barry
3B Laz Diaz
1:34 p.m. — First pitch is just moments away here at Nationals Park. The Rangers made a late lineup change, scratching Michael Choice due to a left leg injury. Daniel Robertson will now start in his place.
1:49 p.m. — The top of the first inning ended with a bizarre sequence that first scored a run for the Rangers, then saw it taken away on a Nats’ challenge call. With runners on the corners, Ramos attempted to throw Rios out on an attempt to steal second. Rios was safe, but then slid past the base and was tagged out by Espinosa. While that was going on, Andrus ran home from third and was originally declared safe. Both teams challenged the play – the Rangers that Rios was out, the Nats that the runners scored – and both came out in the Nationals’ favor. It’s still 0-0 with Darvish set to take the mound.
2:04 p.m. — I noted before the game how Span had found success against Darvish in the past, and today he wasted no time carrying that over. He smoked a double over the head of Rios in right field to lead off the game. He got to third on a Rendon groundout, but could not score. It’s still 0-0 as Darvish through 16 pitches in the first.
2:18 p.m. — Things got a little interesting for Roark in the second, but the Rangers did not score a run. Murphy singled, and Sardinas walked with two outs, before Darvish took two balls to begin his count. Steve McCatty went out to talk with Roark and settle him down, and Roark responded by getting Darvish to ground out to Desmond. Desmond will now bat to begin the bottom of the second.
2:29 p.m. — Desmond, McLouth and Espinosa all struck out. That’s four straight strikeouts for Darvish. He’s thrown 29 pitches.
2:34 p.m. — We are still scoreless after the third inning as both Roark and Darvish allowed a baserunner apiece, but no runs. Darvish recorded two more strikeouts in the third, he has six so far with two hits allowed. Both hits were to Span who is now 5-for-6 off the right-hander in his career.
3:01 p.m. — The game remains knotted at 0-0 after four in what is becoming quite the entertaining pitchers duel between Roark and Darvish. Roark set the Rangers down 1-2-3 before Darvish allowed only a single in his turn on the mound. His first out, by the way, was a strikeout of LaRoche that ended with the Nats’ first baseman watching a 59 mile per hour curveball drop in the strike zone. Ridiculous. Darvish has thrown 57 pitches through four.
3:14 p.m. — Neither team even came close to scoring in the fifth inning as both Roark and Darvish tossed perfect frames. Darvish also added two strikeouts, giving him a total of 10 through five innings today.
3:34 p.m. — Will somebody score some runs? Like, please? The Nationals actually got close against Darvish in the bottom of the sixth, but came away with nothing. Werth got on with a single to left field and then moved to third on a bloop single by LaRoche. Ramos, however, then struck out for the second out and Desmond flew out to deep right field. Still 0-0 with the seventh inning up next.
3:55 p.m. — The game is no longer scoreless as Martin hit a solo home run to right field with one out in the top of the seventh. The Rangers now lead 1-0 after seven as Darvish tossed another inning without allowing a run. Darvish has thrown 92 pitches through seven.
4:14 p.m. — Drew Storen came in to take over for Roark and gave up an insurance run to the Rangers. Murphy singled to center field to score Robertson from second base. It’s a 2-0 game now with Darvish heading back out there.
4:37 p.m. — The Rangers got two runners on base, but no more runs. It’s still 2-0 with Joakim Soria set to pitch the ninth for Texas. Darvish was replaced by a pinch-hitter after throwing 100 pitches in eight scoreless innings. Ramos will lead off.
4:43 p.m. — Nats lose 2-0, here’s the instant analysis: http://natsinsider.com/2014/06/01/instant-analysis-rangers-2-nats-0/
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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