Jul 11, 2014, 3:34 PM EST
PHILADELPHIA — Hello from Citizens Bank Park, where a suddenly banged-up Nationals club closes out the first half of the season this weekend before taking a much-needed All-Star break.
The two key injury updates you’re waiting for: 1) Ian Desmond is not in tonight’s lineup after taking a pitch off the pad of his right thumb. X-rays last night were negative, but I don’t think it would be shocking if Desmond missed the entire weekend series to let this thing heal. 2) Jayson Werth is playing after fouling a ball off his left foot in the final at-bat of last night’s game. So it looks like he’s fine.
Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, gets the start against a Phillies lineup that features a new face tonight: Grady Sizemore. The just-acquired veteran center fielder is making his Philadelphia debut, leading off. A.J. Burnett is on the mound.
Updates to come, so please check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 869, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
CF Grady Sizemore
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Marlon Byrd
3B Cody Asche
LF Domonic Brown
C Cameron Rupp
RHP A.J. Burnett
HP Mike Winters (cc)
1B Andy Fletcher
2B Toby Basner
3B Mark Wegner
7:08 p.m. — And we’re underway with a ball from A.J. Burnett to Denard Span. The skies have darkened here over the last hour or so, but it’s remained dry. Keep your fingers crossed.
7:13 p.m. — Here’s one we haven’t seen very much this year: Anthony Rendon grounding into a double play. It’s only the fifth time he’s done it. Made Denard Span’s leadoff single moot. Jayson Werth, meanwhile, didn’t look too good whiffing at a breaking ball from A.J. Burnett to end the top of the first.
7:18 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 bottom of the first for Jordan Zimmermann, who got a couple groundballs and then a deep flyout to center from Chase Utley. Only nine pitches for Zimmermann. To the second we go…
7:26 p.m. — The Nats looked like they had something going in the top of the second when Adam LaRoche led off with a double to right-center. Ryan Zimmerman moved him to third with a grounder to the right side. But that’s as far as they could advance him. Bryce Harper hit a bouncer to a drawn-in Utley at second base, with LaRoche not running on the play. That leaves Harper 4-for-32 since coming off the DL. And then Wilson Ramos grounded out, killing the rally.
7:36 p.m. — Just when you thought Zimmermann was settling in for a dominant night on the mound, the Phillies roughed him up pretty good in the bottom of the second. They strung together three straight well-struck base hits off him, capped by Domonic Brown’s 2-run double to right-center. Just like that, the Nats trail 2-0 after a surprising (and quick) outburst vs. Zimmermann.
7:59 p.m. — And Zimmermann’s troubles continue in the bottom of the third. After Sizemore led off with a single to right, Rollins launched a high fastball to right field for a 2-run homer that made it 4-0 Phillies. Zimmermann’s problem tonight: He’s finding too much of the plate. Just about all six of the hits he has surrendered have come on pitches right over the plate. The Nats have some work to do to get back in this one.
8:13 p.m. — Matt Williams was talking about Bryce Harper this afternoon, saying he was seeing better signs at the plate from the kid despite his numbers still looking bad. Williams noted that Harper had been “calming down” at the plate, not overanxious and not trying to do too much. Well, he’s looked pretty antsy so far tonight. He has made two outs on two pitches, grounding out each time. Not what the Nats are looking for. Still 4-0 in the middle of the fourth.
8:17 p.m. — Oh, no. This is not good. After throwing a 1-2 pitch to Cameron Rupp, Zimmermann made a little motion to the dugout. Out came Matt Williams, Steve McCatty and head trainer Lee Kuntz to talk to him. And out of the game the club’s lone All-Star has come. Craig Stammen in. This is not at all what the Nats wanted to see. Stay tuned for updates, obviously.
8:39 p.m. — Things have settled down here, with Stammen retiring all five batters he has faced so far. It remains 4-0 Phillies after five, but obviously the rest of this game is going to take a backseat to the Zimmermann news. Here’s my full story on him, which will be updated once we get any new info.
8:58 p.m. — It’s 5-0 now after Rupp lined an RBI double off the left-field wall. It would’ve been 6-0 if not for a great relay from Harper to Espinosa to Ramos to get Brown at the plate to end the sixth.
9:03 p.m. — Well, here’s some good news: Bryce Harper just homered, a rocket to right field off Burnett to snap his 4-for-33 slump since coming off the DL. Still 5-1 Phillies at the stretch.
9:15 p.m. — But the Phillies get the run right back, with Rollins launching his second homer of the night to make it a 6-1 game in the seventh. It’s Rollins’ first 2-homer game since 2012, when he also did it to the Nats (homering both times off Edwin Jackson).
9:36 p.m. — Good news: Ryan Zimmerman delivered the Nats’ first hit with a man in scoring position in seven tries, cutting the deficit to 6-2 and leaving two more men in scoring position for Harper. Bad news: Harper then popped up the next pitch to end the inning. So, Bryce has now seen five total pitches in four at-bats tonight. One of them, obviously, turned into a home run. Three of them, though, turned into outs.
9:45 p.m. — OK, last chance for the Nats. They’re down 6-2 heading to the ninth. It’ll be Ramos, Espinosa and a pinch-hitter against Ken Giles.
9:51 p.m. — That’s your ballgame. Nats lose 6-2. Stay tuned for the Zimmermann update. I’ll be posting it on my Twitter account as soon as I get it from Matt Williams in the clubhouse.
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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