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Game 88: Orioles at Nats

Jul 7, 2014, 3:18 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

Hello and welcome to the opener of the Battle of the Beltways, the annual showdown between Washington and Baltimore that means very much to the fan bases of both clubs and, quite honestly, means very little to players on both sides. Much as we’d like to believe this is a real rivalry, the players just don’t see it that way.

That doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t enjoy the next four days, though, with two games at Nationals Park and then two games at Camden Yards later this week. If nothing else, both teams are playing quite well with the Nats 1/2-game back in the NL East and the O’s leading the AL East. It all gets started tonight on South Capitol Street, with Stephen Strasburg taking the mound against fellow right-hander Chris Tillman.

No changes to the Nationals’ lineup. And really, considering that this particular group has gone 5-0 in the last week, why would Matt Williams change anything?

Updates to come, so please check back…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: 92.7 FM, 94.3 FM, 106.7 FM, 980 AM, 1500 AM, XM 188,
Weather: Mostly clear, 91 degrees, Wind 13 mph out to CF

CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Stephen Strasburg

ORIOLES (48-40)
RF Nick Markakis
3B Manny Machado
CF Adam Jones
LF Nelson Cruz
1B Chris Davis
SS J.J. Hardy
C Nick Hundley
2B Jonathan Schoop
RHP Chris Tillman

HP Gary Cederstrom (cc)
1B Dan Iassogna
2B C.B. Bucknor
3B Tripp Gibson

7:08 p.m. — And we’re underway. A big crowd on hand as Stephen Strasburg delivers ball one to Nick Markakis.

7:14 p.m. — A couple of hard-hit balls to get this game started, though Bryce Harper made a nice sliding catch of Markakis’ sinking liner before Manny Machado doubled down the left-field liner. Strasburg battled back and struck out Adam Jones with a changeup, then got Nelson Cruz to ground out to end a 14-pitch first inning.

7:24 p.m. — A leadoff walk for Denard Span, the third straight game he was reached safely in the first inning. But that’s all the Nats could muster against Chris Tillman. Anthony Rendon hit a ball hard but right at Markakis in right field. Jayson Werth then struck out on a breaking ball in the dirt. And Adam LaRoche grounded out to end the inning. Scoreless here after one.

7:30 p.m. — Ryan Zimmerman had yet another nifty pick at third base in the top of the second, snagging Nick Hundley’s hard grounder to his left. And he made yet another throw across the diamond that … well, it got the job done. I think everybody knows at this point it’s not going to be pretty. A 1-2-3 second for Strasburg.

7:43 p.m. — Eight in a row retired now by Strasburg, who has looked sharp. The only guy to get the ball out of the infield against him since Machado’s double was Chris Davis, who flied out to left. He’s got three strikeouts and is at 41 pitches (26 strikes) so far through three scoreless innings.

7:53 p.m. — The Nats’ first hit of the night goes to … Strasburg! Yep, he lined an opposite-field single with one out in the bottom of the third. That’s as far as he went, though. Span flied out to right and Rendon, after a long battle with Tillman, struck out on a 3-2 breaking ball. So we’ve got ourselves a pitchers’ duel here, scoreless through three.

8:05 p.m. — Strasburg grooved a 1-0 fastball to Nelson Cruz, and Nelson Cruz did what he’s been doing all year to grooved pitches. He blasted it over the scoreboard in right-center, his 28th homer of the season. And since Machado was on base at the time, the Orioles take a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

8:28 p.m. — Wilson Ramos has quietly put together an 11-game hitting streak. That’s a career-high for him and a season-high for the Nats. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to do anything else against Tillman. Strasburg did bounce back from the Cruz home run, striking out four in a row. But it remains a 2-0 game after five.

8:40 p.m. — Manny Machado is 3-for-3 against Strasburg tonight. Everybody else is 1-for-17. That one, of course, was kind of a big hit (Cruz’s homer). But the right-hander has been really good, especially his changeup, which he just used to strike out Adam Jones for the second time tonight. That’s eight K’s for Strasburg through six innings. He’s at 94 pitches, the Nats still trailing 2-0.

8:52 p.m. — As has been the case so many times this season, Span and Rendon teamed up to do something big for the Nats. Span led off the sixth with a base hit up the middle. Rendon then smashed the very next pitch over the wall in right-center, his 13th homer of the season. This game is tied 2-2, and it should be noted that the Nationals are 25-0 this season when both Span and Rendon score a run. Well, they both just scored, so ….

8:58 p.m. — That was a pretty big shutdown inning right there for Strasburg. Moments after his teammates had tied the game, he went out and retired the side in the top of the seventh, thanks in part to Rendon, who took a shot off Strasburg’s glove and fired a laser to first base to retire J.J. Hardy. So Strasburg is now at 104 pitches through seven innings, and the Nats bullpen is stirring. Still 2-2 game.

9:10 p.m. — A 2-out single by Ramos in the bottom of the seventh, but pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen couldn’t keep the rally going. So we go to the eighth with Tyler Clippard on the mound. Strasburg’s final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 104 pitches, 68 strikes. All in all, a very good start against a very good lineup.

9:23 p.m. — Hoo-boy, you’ve been waiting for Zimmerman to need to make a throw in a big spot, and it just happened. With a chance to get Clippard out of a 2-on, 1-out jam, he took Machado’s grounder, stepped on third and threw to first with a shot at the inning-ending double play. Except the throw sailed wide, extending the inning. Props to Clippard, though, for picking his teammate up. He got Jones to fly out to left, so this remains a 2-2 game heading to the bottom of the eighth.

9:33 p.m. — Nothing happening for the Nats against Darren O’Day in the bottom of the eighth. Span smoked a liner up the middle, but Hardy was shaded that way and made the play. So we go to the ninth, and it’ll be Rafael Soriano facing the heart of the Orioles lineup in a tie game.

9:39 p.m. — Soriano gave up a leadoff single to Cruz, but then clamped down and retired the rest of the heart of the lineup. So we’re on to the bottom of the ninth, still 2-2. O’Day still on the mound facing LaRoche, Zimmerman and Harper. Hang on, folks.

9:55 p.m. — The Nats couldn’t ask for a better opportunity in the bottom of the ninth. Zimmerman smoked a 1-out double to right-center, forcing Buck Showalter to intentionally walk Harper and bring up Desmond, who LOVES those situations. He entered 11-for-17 in his career after the man in front of him was intentionally walked. Make it 11-for-18. Desmond whiffed at an O’Day slider. Ramos did the same, stranding the winning runner in scoring position. So we go to the 10th, and this is not a situation the Nats enjoy. They’re 2-7 in extra innings this season.

10:07 p.m. — The “no doubles” defense nearly cost the Nats just now. With a man on first and two outs, Machado looped a single to shallow left field. Harper was playing nearly at the warning track, so he had no shot at it. Drew Storen, though, pitched his way out of the jam, getting Jones to pop up. So we head to the bottom of the 10th, with left-hander T.J. McFarland on the mound for the O’s against pinch-hitter Scott Hairston, Span and Rendon.

10:15 p.m. — To the 11th…

10:39 p.m. — Uh-oh, Chris Davis destroyed a 3-2 fastball from Craig Stammen to right-center for a 2-run homer. And Hardy followed with a solo blast. And the onslaught continued, with four runs crossing the plate before Stammen was pulled in favor of Aaron Barrett. Who then served up a 2-run homer to Machado. Just like that, the Nats trail 8-2 and need a big-time rally in the bottom of the 11th.

10:47 p.m. — And that’s your ballgame. Nats lose 8-2 in 11 and fall to 2-8 in extra innings this season. An ugly end to an otherwise splendid ballgame.

402 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    Stamnen you can stop any time

  2. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    Idk why he’s pulling him… Save the BP… This one is over… Nats couldn’t even hit Tillman… What makes you think they will hit worst pitching tonight….

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      I would pulled him after Davis. The game is never list til the last out.

  3. Danny - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    I like the Os, but I hate when the Nats lose to them.

  4. Danny - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Haha what do you want to bet they don’t get swept. Go to bed.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    In the bottom of the 9th Ryan Zimmerman got a one out double, Harper gets IBB. Desi and Ramos both strike out.. That was the key to this loss.

    • David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      Indeed, that was our opportunity and we missed it. Desi took wild swings. But remember, the guy pitching had an ERA of like 1.

  6. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Buck had the same feeling as me Harper would have won the game. People criticized him, when he knew exactly what he was doing.

  7. David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    If this were one outing for Stammen I’d right it off, but it’s at least two games in the past two weeks he’s cost us (and a couple of others he wasn’t sharp in). He’ll be fine, but he needs to get his act together soon.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Carp is clueless. “Stammen has only had 2 bad outings this year” and then he mentions Miami. Sure, the Nats were already down 6 runs and Craig gave up 5 but what about the 4 losses Craig has? Those weren’t good outings and doesn’t include the ones where he came in for mop-up.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      I swear I don’t remember CS’s last good outting… And I will not include any blowouts (I don’t remember him even being in any) as he can be more reckless, in a sense….

    • David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      He hasn’t necessarily pitched poorly in all of those losses. I remember one against the Padres where a guy got on, was bunted over and then scored on a little dribbler up the middle. Yeah, you should say that Stammen never should’ve put him on, but it was like Stammen’s third inning of work, too. You can’t expect the guy to be perfect over multiple innings.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        “You can’t expect the guy to be perfect over multiple innings.”

        It’s usually not just 1 play David. It’s a series of them. I’m not looking for perfection, I’m looking for consistently good.

        Stammen got himself in that 3-2 hole against Davis and then grooved one to him. Is that good pitching? Instead of limiting the damage to 2 runs he went to full out meltdown mode and embarrased his team.

      • David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM

        I get that, but every pitcher in baseball has those innings sometimes. Stammen does not meltdown often. It’s painful when it happens, but it’s going to happen. To everyone, on every team.

      • scmargenau - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:13 PM

        It wasn’t grooved. It was a ball.

  9. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Idk why Stammen was pulled… This is so embarrassing… And pathetic…

  10. Danny - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    This must be what the Rockies feel like all the time.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      The Rockies bat 280 so they at least hit most of the time.

  11. stoatva - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    When did Vladi Guerrero become the o’s hitting coach ?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      You could hit those BP pitches. Another extra innings loss on Matt Williams.

      • David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:44 PM

        How is this on Matt Williams?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:49 PM

        Who said it was? It’s on his record. Are you putting words in my mouth? It’s Matt Williams managerial W/L record in extra innings. He didn’t pitch the ball.

      • David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:51 PM

        Not putting words in your mouth, I just misunderstood your intent apparently. Apologies.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:54 PM

        No problem. We are all on edge after that meltdown. No way I blame Matt Williams for that. He managed a great game. His personnel didn’t do their job.

        Hairston has to go. Barrett back to AAA. How long to we wait for Hairston to continue his slide.

      • stoatva - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:48 PM

        Give me a break. Both of Machado’s last two hits were going to bounce on the plate.

  12. David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    I hope they get it out of their system tonight. Mother of God.

  13. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    stammen set this all up and Barrett just threw gas on the fire, twice in a week now Barrett has done that
    Now all this bad mouthing of Strasburg seems sill, He had little problem with this same line up.

  14. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    This game went to hell in a hand basket fast…

    Extra innings, the Nats are 2-8… Tells an interesting story…

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:44 PM

      Class b bullpen implodes

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:44 PM

        People can’t keep claiming the Nats have the best BP or top BP with a stat like that…. They can’t..

  15. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Makes no sense to be this bad in OT, Why does the bullpen imolode in OT?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      Craig has lost 3 games now in extra innings.

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Rizzo better work on Barrett’s replacement because at least he has options. Not sure what you do with Stammen. Blevins needs to be a LOOGY.

    The great bullpen just gave up 6 runs.

    • David Proctor - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      Stammen went through a rough patch last year too. I distinctly remember people calling for him to be optioned. Every reliever goes through it. Remember Clip earlier? Stammen will be fine, we’ll just have to hope he figures it out soon and try not to put him in high leverage spots for a while. Same could be said for Barrett, but he doesn’t have the track record so I’m more willing to option him if his struggles continue.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:48 PM

        This one game, however I gate Angelo’s so against two teams Braves and O’s I do no accept anyexcuses. Had this been the Nets, not happy, but nit pissed at him. Against O’s pissed.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        I see a distinct difference. He lost the bite on his slider. It’s been gone for a while.

      • scmargenau - Jul 7, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        To be fair – some of the pitches hit were darn good pitches

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      The great bullpen pitched innings 8-10. No runs

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        The back of the bullpen guys came through.

  17. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    Our 3/4/5 hitters are 1 for 15… Laughable….

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      Real problem was in 9th batters 7/8. Game was winnable then

  18. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    stammen you see how McFarland is pitching, take note

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:50 PM

      He has a six run lead to work with.

      I left house with tie ballgame, only to come back and see this. I was hoping for peaceful sleep.

  19. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Let’s hear Stammen pitiful excuse in the post game.

  20. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    On the homer by Davis is further out then the non strike that was the original strike out

  21. manassasnatsfan - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    We got the division easy, don’t worry. Might even end up with best record in the NL. Don’t worry

  22. Nats fool - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    This was a bad way to lose. Our lack of professional ab’s will destroy the season. How many times did we go first-pitch hacking? How many high fastballs and sliders outside were chased? I’m sorry, but we have to start planning for Desi’s replacement next year. He is just frustrating to watch. The league has a bead on him and he doesn’t adjust.

  23. senators69 - Jul 7, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    I F’ing hate to lose to the OOOOOs!
    Reminds me of when I was a kid and the OOOOOs used to lord over the Senators.
    My teams I hate to lose to the most: Braves, OOOOs, Cards
    WTF is with our bats??? NO bats, except for Rendon…and I’d still take Rendon over Machado!




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