Aug 1, 2014, 3:36 PM EST
Asdrubal Cabrera has arrived and will make his Nationals debut tonight, batting seventh and starting at second base against the Phillies. I would imagine that’s where we’ll see the former Indians infielder most of the time, though we’ll see how it all plays out.
To make room for Cabrera on the active roster, the Nationals decided to keep Blake Treinen in their bullpen and option struggling Aaron Barrett to Class AAA Syracuse. Barrett could use some time away from the pressures of the big leagues to work on some things, including his mechanics. It’s notable that in his first 30 big-league appearances, he owned a 1.67 ERA. Then Joe West called a balk on him for the way he moves his hands when coming set, and in 10 appearances since, Barrett’s ERA was 9.45.
Meanwhile, Doug Fister starts tonight, seeking his 11th win in 15 tries. He’ll be opposed by Roberto Hernandez, aka the former Fausto Carmona. Updates to come, please check back…
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 178, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of rain, 74 degrees, Wind 6 mph RF to LF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Doug Fister
CF Ben Revere
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Marlon Byrd
LF Grady Sizemore
C Carlos Ruiz
3B Cody Asche
RHP Roberto Hernandez
HP Tripp Gibson
1B Chris Guccione
2B Eric Cooper
3B Tom Hallion (cc)
7:06 p.m. — We are underway on a cloudy Friday evening in the District. Doug Fister starts off Ben Revere with a 89-mph sinker for strike one.
7:11 p.m. — Man, Fister was all business in the top of the first. He needed only 14 pitches (11 strikes) to retire the side, getting a couple of groundballs and then striking out Chase Utley. As you see from the time stamp, it took him only five minutes to complete that inning. He’s a sportswriter’s dream!
7:17 p.m. — Roberto Hernandez sees Fister’s 14-pitch top of the first and raises him a 7-pitch, 6-strike bottom of the inning. Also got a pair of grounders before striking out Jayson Werth. Good stuff from both starters to get this game started.
7:31 p.m. — Fister looked like he was going to get out of the top of the second with ease, as well, but then Bryce Harper butchered Grady Sizemore’s drive to deep left field, taking a circuitous route and watching as the ball struck his arm. Sizemore was credited with a double — by the way, where did the 2008 version of Grady Sizemore suddenly come from? — and the Phillies made the Nats pay for the miscue. Fister walked Carlos Ruiz, then served up an RBI single to Cody Asche. So instead of a quick top of the second, the Phillies lead 1-0 and Fister’s pitch count just skyrocketed to 43.
7:45 p.m. — Now that was one of the strangest half-innings of baseball you’ll see all year. It began with Adam LaRoche hitting what looked like a routine popup between the mound and third base. The ball, though, dropped untouched. Even so, LaRoche was jogging down the line, so Asche had a chance to throw him out at first. Except the throw sailed into the right-field corner, allowing LaRoche to advance all the way to third base. Unreal. Ian Desmond made the Phillies pay for the blunder with an RBI single up the middle. Harper’s single to right put runners on the corners, still nobody out as Asdrubal Cabrera stepped to the plate for the first time as a National. He smoked the very first pitch, but right at Howard, who then stepped on first for a double play. And later Fister drilled a ball to left field, but right at Sizemore. So, to recap: The two hardest-hit balls in the inning produced three outs, while the worst-hit ball in the inning produced three bases. Gotta love baseball, folks. It’s 1-1 after two.
8:03 p.m. — Things calmed down considerably here in the third inning. Cabrera made a really nice play, ranging well to his left to make a sliding grab, then hopping to his feet to throw to first. Rendon singled in the bottom of the third. Still 1-1 heading to the fourth.
8:17 p.m. — Another well-struck ball by Cabrera in the bottom of the fourth, with nothing to show for it. He smoked a liner at Rollins. To the fifth we go, still 1-1.
8:25 p.m. — Werth with a great throw to the plate to nail Asche trying to score on Revere’s single to right. Also a nice tag by Ramos. Sandberg tried to get the umpires to initiate a review of the hated Rule 7.13, suggesting Ramos was blocking the plate, but umpire Tripp Gibson would have none of it. That’s Werth’s sixth assist of the year, and it keeps this a 1-1 game in the middle of the fifth.
8:35 p.m. — Make it 27 consecutive games reaching base for Span, who singled with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to keep his streak alive. Unfortunately, that’s all the Nats got in the inning, so this remains a 1-1 game.
8:48 p.m. — Chase here taking over for Mark for the rest of the game. The Phillies struck for another run in the sixth to go up 2-1. Byrd hit a solo shot to right field over the out of town scoreboard off Fister with two outs. Fister has thrown 99 pitches through six.
9:06 p.m. — Nothing going for either team in the seventh inning, as the game remains 2-1 with the eighth up next. Tyler Clippard will take over for Fister who is done for the night after 106 pitches.
9:15 p.m. — Three up, three down for both the Phillies and the Nats in the eighth. This game is still 2-1 with the ninth on deck. Rafael Soriano will pitch next.
9:37 p.m. — The Nats got two men on, but Harper and Cabrera both struck out swinging to end this one. Nats lose 2-1 and fall to 58-49 on the season. They’ve lost six of nine.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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