Jun 22, 2014, 10:17 AM EST
After a brilliant and much-needed performance by Doug Fister on Saturday night, today the Nationals have a shot at splitting their four-game series with the Braves. In order to do that, however, they’ll likely need another very good outing from their starting pitcher. Today Tanner Roark (6-4, 2.85) will be handed that task.
Roark has been excellent against the Braves in his young career, holding a 2.55 ERA across 17 2/3 innings in four appearances. He did struggle, though, in his one matchup with Atlanta this season. On April 11 he allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings at Turner Field.
Pitching for the Braves is right-hander Ervin Santana (5-4, 4.12). Santana was signed in March as a free agent and was solid through his first six starts this year, holding a 1.99 ERA. Since, he’s gone 1-4 with a 6.17 ERA and the Braves have lost six of his seven outings. Santana has not faced the Nationals as a Brave, but does hold a 3.67 ERA in four career starts against the franchise.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB Network, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 869, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 6 mph in from CF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Sandy Leon
RHP Tanner Roark
2B Tommy La Stella
CF B.J. Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
C Evan Gattis
RF Jason Heyward
LF Justin Upton
3B Chris Johnson
SS Andrelton Simmons
RHP Ervin Santana
HP Mark Carlson
1B Tim Welke (cc)
2B Todd Tichenor
3B Clint Fagan
1:55 p.m. — The Nats are off to a great start today with a 2-0 lead after one inning against the Braves. The first run came on a LaRoche single to center field, scoring Rendon from second. Rendon got on with a one-out walk against Santana. LaRoche’s hit moved Werth to third and he came home thanks to a Zimmerman sac fly to deep center field. Roark threw 15 pitches and Santana threw 19.
2:09 p.m. — It’s still 2-0 after the second inning as neither team got a man on base. The highlight of the second had to be Desmond’s play to throw Johnson out for the third out. He fielded a hard-hit groundball up the middle and had to turn on the run to gun Johnson out at first. It was one of the best defensive plays by a National this season, no doubt.
2:27 p.m. — No runs for either team in the third inning. Roark set the Braves down 1-2-3, and the Nats squandered a man on third with one out opportunity. Span reached third after leading off with a single. He moved to second on a throwing error by Santana on a pickoff attempt. A Rendon groundout to second base then got him to third. Werth and LaRoche, however, both struck out swinging to end the frame.
2:50 p.m. — The game is still 2-0, but the Nats have run into trouble getting anything going against Santana. He notched two more strikeouts in the bottom of the fourth, giving him seven on the day through four innings. Six of his last nine outs have been strikeouts. Roark is at 59 pitches while Santana has thrown 62.
3:18 p.m. — The Nationals struck for another run in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 3-0 game. This score came on a single by Span that scored Leon from second. Leon led off with a single and moved to second on a sac bunt by Roark.
3:45 p.m. — The Braves got their first run of the afternoon in the top of the sixth on a J. Upton RBI single to center field. Roark was then replaced by Craig Stammen who struck out Johnson for the second out on a called check swing appeal to 1st base umpire Tim Welke. Johnson argued the decision and was thrown out for doing so. Santana is also out of the game now after throwing 92 pitches.
3:57 p.m. — No runs to report on in the seventh inning. The Braves went down in order, while the Nats saw Espinosa lead off with a double. The second and third outs came on a 4-6 double play as Greg Dobbs – pinch-hitting for Stammen – lined out directly to La Stella at second. Tyler Clippard will now take over for the eighth inning.
4:23 p.m. — The Nationals got another run in the bottom of the eighth, this on a wild pitch that scored Rendon from third. Now it’s up to Rafael Soriano who will pitch for the third consecutive day. He’ll take the mound with a 4-1 lead.
4:31 p.m. — 1-2-3 for Soriano as the Nats split the series. Instant analysis right here: http://natsinsider.com/2014/06/22/instant-analysis-nats-4-braves-1-2/
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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