Jun 28, 2014, 5:48 PM EST
CHICAGO — And we’re back for our second game of the day here at Wrigley, the final game of this series. The Nationals need another win to salvage a 4-game split, and to do that they’ll need to beat Jeff Samardzija and finally provide some run support for Blake Treinen.
Treinen returns from Syracuse as the special 26th man call-up for the doubleheader. The right-hander has given up only nine runs (six earned) in four big-league starts, but he has yet to earn his first career win because his teammates have scored only eight total runs in those four games.
A couple of changes to the Nationals’ lineup for the nightcap: Denard Span gets this one off, so Anthony Rendon will lead off. But Ian Desmond is starting both ends of the doubleheader (something Matt Williams said yesterday he wasn’t planning to do) and so is Kevin Frandsen, which means Danny Espinosa will not have started either game today. A sign of things to come?
Updates to come, so please check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where: Wrigley Field
Gametime: 7:15 p.m. EDT
TV: Fox (coverage map), MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 869, MLB.com
Weather: Isolated storms, 81 degrees, Wind 14 mph RF to LF
3B Anthony Rendon
2B Kevin Frandsen
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
CF Nate McLouth
RHP Blake Treinen
LF Chris Coghlan
CF Ryan Sweeney
1B Anthony Rizzo
SS Starlin Castro
3B Luis Valbuena
C Welington Castillo
RF Nate Schierholtz
2B Darwin Barney
RHP Jeff Samardzija
HP Hunter Wendelstedt
1B Mike DiMuro
2B Mike Estabrook
3B Tom Woodring
7:15 p.m. — And we’re underway for the second time today. Anthony Rendon sends a flyball to center first on the first pitch for the first out.
7:23 p.m. — A 1-out infield single for Kevin Frandsen, but he was immediately erased on Jayson Werth’s 6-4-3 double play. That makes Werth 8 for his last 56, a stretch during which he has driven in only three runs. Not going well for him right now.
7:28 p.m. — That’s a nice-and-tidy, 11-pitch bottom of the first for Blake Treinen, who was firing up 95-mph sinkers with ease. He struck out Ryan Sweeney on one of them, a nice pitch that broke back over the inside corner for his first K of the night. To the second we go…
7:37 p.m. — Adam LaRoche certainly isn’t fazed going up against Samardzija. He just launched his third homer in 16 career at-bats against the right-hander, this one one-hopping its way onto Sheffield Ave. beyond the right-field bleachers. On the downside, Ian Desmond just struck out again. In this series, he’s now 0-for-12 with six strikeouts. Not good. Nats lead 1-0, though.
7:48 p.m. — You know, struggles at the plate or not, Desmond continues to play a distgustingly good shortstop. (Is disgustingly a word? I don’t care, I’m using it anyway.) With runners on the corners and two outs just now, he ranged way to his right to snag Darwin Barney’s grounder, then fired across his body to a stretching Frandsen at second base to get Nate Schiertholtz by a split-second. Huge play to end the second inning with the Nats still up 1-0.
7:54 p.m. — Some nice at-bats from the Nats in the top of the third. It started with McLouth’s leadoff double to right-center. It continued with Treinen’s well-executed sac bunt. And it concluded with Rendon’s sac fly to center, giving him 46 RBI now in Game 81 of the season. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who usually hits second in the order. 2-0 Nats.
7:59 p.m. — Another 1-2-3 inning for Treinen, who showed off his slider in striking out Sweeney for the second time tonight. That’s big for Blake. If he can keep throwing his offspeed stuff in good locations, it makes him an even bigger threat. Still 2-0 after three.
8:15 p.m. — Bad news: Luis Valbuena destroyed a 3-1 pitch from Treinen into the right-field stands for a game-tying homer in the bottom of the fourth. Worse news: It’s now pouring here and the game is in delay with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Stay tuned for updates.
8:37 p.m. — No word yet on when we’ll resume, but here’s some good news to pass along: Bryce Harper has homered twice tonight for Harrisburg at Akron. I think at this point, it’s probably safe to go ahead and buy tickets to Monday night’s game if you want to see his return in person.
8:42 p.m. — More good news: The tarp is being removed as we speak and the game should resume around 9:10 p.m. EDT.
8:55 p.m. — Both Treinen and Samardzija are warming up, so it looks like both starters will stay in after a delay that will be roughly 1 hour.
9:11 p.m. — And we’re back after a 55-minute rain delay, with Treinen back on the mound sitting on 55 pitches. He gets the strikeout to send the fourth, so it’s still a 2-2 game here.
9:30 p.m. — Wilson Ramos is back, ladies and gentlemen. The Buffalo smashed his first homer since coming off the DL to lead off the fifth, putting the Nats back on top. He’s now 4-for-8 with two walks and a homer in his return. Pretty good. Even better: The Nats are putting a beating on Samardzija. They got RBI singles from Frandsen and Werth, plus a run-scoring error via Rizzo. It’s now 6-2 in the middle of the fifth.
9:48 p.m. — That’ll do it for Treinen, who is pulled after 5 innings of 2-run ball. Considering the rain delay, that’s more than enough for the Nats. He’s in line now to earn his first career win if the Nats can hold their 6-2 lead. Xavier Cedeno on to pitch the 6th.
10:03 p.m. — Wow, Nate McLouth went into the ivy and emerged with the ball (alas, not with Andre Dawson). Impressive catch by tonight’s center fielder, helping keep this a 6-2 game. Meanwhile, Harper just hit his third homer of the night in Akron. Sweet. Fancy. Moses.
10:22 p.m. — A scoreless seventh inning from Ross Detwiler, who showed off his reflexes with a quick snag of Barney’s comebacker. We go to the eighth, still 6-2 Nats.
10:35 p.m. — On the heels of his four scoreless innings during Tuesday night’s 16-inning win in Milwaukee, Detwiler has now retired all six batters faced tonight. He has certainly come up big on this road trip.
10:48 p.m. — Detwiler even knows how to draw a walk. And score a run (via LaRoche’s RBI single). It’s 7-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
10:55 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 7-2. They sweep the doubleheader, split the series, finish 4-3 on the road trip and finish the first half of the season 43-38.
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)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
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