Jul 12, 2014, 3:33 PM EST
PHILADELPHIA — While we await the update on Jordan Zimmermann’s MRI, and debate his replacement on the All-Star roster, there is in fact another game taking place tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Featuring a star-studded pitching matchup: Stephen Strasburg vs. Cole Hamels.
The Nationals will have Ian Desmond back in the lineup after he sat out last night’s game with a sore right thumb. They will not, however, have Bryce Harper in the lineup. Matt Williams has decided to give his young slugger (4-for-35 since coming off the DL, including last night’s solo homer) a night off against a tough lefty and go instead with Scott Hairston in left field. Hairston’s career numbers vs. Hamels: 13-for-38 with five doubles, five homers and nine RBI. That’s not insignificant.
Strasburg, meanwhile, looks to finish his first half on a high note. Check back for updates throughout…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:15 p.m. EDT
TV: FOX, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 869, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
3B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
LF Scott Hairston
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Stephen Strasburg
CF Grady Sizemore
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Marlon Byrd
3B Cody Asche
C Cameron Rupp
CF Ben Revere
LHP Cole Hamels
HP Andy Fletcher
1B Toby Basner
2B Mark Wegner
3B Mike Winters (cc)
7:15 p.m. — And we’re underway with a ball from Cole Hamels to Denard Span.
7:28 p.m. — And the Nats jump out to a 1-0 lead, thanks to Span’s 7-pitch leadoff walk and then Anthony Rendon’s double off the left field on the very next pitch. Jayson Werth delivered a productive groundout to bring home the run, but the Nats still wound up stranding Rendon on third after Adam LaRoche struck out and Ryan Zimmerman was robbed of an RBI by Cody Asche, who made a fantastic play to dive and catch Zimmerman’s hard grounder to the left side and then just barely threw him out at first. So it’s 1-0 Nats, though it could’ve been 2-0.
7:37 p.m. — Stephen Strasburg got into a bit of a jam in the bottom of the first, serving up a leadoff double to Grady Sizemore, who then took third on Jimmy Rollins’ grounder to the right side. Strasburg, though, came through big-time with a pair of curveballs that struck out both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Nice job there by Strasburg in a big spot. Still 1-0 Nats after one.
7:46 p.m. — A leadoff double for Ian Desmond in the top of the second, but his teammates couldn’t bring him around. So even though they did get one run home on the Werth groundout, the Nats already are 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in only two innings tonight.
8:00 p.m. — Two innings down, and Strasburg has already allowed four hits. But he has not allowed a run, thanks to Wilson Ramos throwing out Marlon Byrd on a stolen base attempt. (Ramos has now caught 10-of-19 runners this season, a 53 percent success rate that is best among all MLB catchers with at least 200 innings behind the plate.) Strasburg also again struck out a batter with a man in scoring position and two outs, getting Hamels to end the second.
8:36 p.m. — Make it four scoreless innings for Strasburg, who has seven strikeouts tonight, several on his curveball, which has been devastating. He’s now got 147 K’s on the season, easily tops in the NL. Still 1-0 Nats after four.
8:49 p.m. — Make it five scoreless for Strasburg, who has now retired nine in a row. He’s at 79 pitches, still a bit high, but he has been much more efficient his last few innings.
9:02 p.m. — Jayson Werth is some kind of red-hot at the plate right now. He just launched a 2-run homer to right-center. So after homering only six times in his first 349 plate appearances this season, he has now homered five times in his last 37 plate appearances. It’s 3-0 Nats.
9:30 p.m. — Well, Strasburg couldn’t get through the sixth inning. He gave up a 2-run single to Byrd, then with a chance to at least complete the inning, he walked No. 7 hitter Cameron Rupp. Matt Williams decided that was enough and pulled Strasburg after 5 2/3 innings and 111 pitches. Jerry Blevins entered and got Ben Revere to line out to left, so it’s a 3-2 Nats lead heading to the seventh.
9:40 p.m. — An interesting top of the seventh for Scott Hairston. He singled off Hamels and then made a really heads-up play tagging up from first base on Ramos’ flyout to deep right field. But then he got caught too far off second base on Kevin Frandsen’s sharp comebacker to the mound. So after all that, it’s still 3-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh. Drew Storen enters, as does Bryce Harper, who takes over for Hairston in left field.
9:54 p.m. — The Phillies threatened in the seventh, with Domonic Brown singling and then taking two bases on flyballs. Storen and Utley engaged in a pretty good battle after that, with Storen finally getting him to fly out to left to end the inning. So it remains 3-2 after seven.
10:21 p.m. — Uh-oh. This just became a tie game after Tyler Clippard gave up a 2-out single to Asche, then walked Rupp, then gave up an RBI single to Revere. Just like that, it’s 3-3 and here’s Jonathan Papelbon to pitch the top of the ninth.
10:41 p.m. — The Nats had a chance in the ninth, with Desmond leading off with a bunt single and then taking second. But Ramos struck out and pinch-hitter Nate McLouth’s drive to center field wasn’t quite deep enough. To the bottom of the ninth we go, and it’s Ross Detwiler on the mound in a 3-3 game.
10:48 p.m. — Free baseball in Philly! The Nats will try to win an extra-inning game for a change. They’re 2-8 this season.
11:06 p.m. — Ryan Zimmerman to the rescue! He scorched a 2-out, RBI single up the middle on an 0-2, 100-mph fastball by Jake Diekman. Werth then scored on a wild pitch for good measure. It’s 5-3 as Rafael Soriano enters for the bottom of the 10th.
11:17 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 5-3 in 10. They improve to 3-8 in extra innings and keep pace with the Braves in the NL East.
PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT IN
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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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