Aug 22, 2014, 3:05 PM EST
In the middle of a 10-game winning streak, the Nationals are set to get quite the test on Friday night.
In order to make sure this one goes to 11, the Nats will have to do so against a pitcher who has absolutely tormented them over the years. Giants starter Tim Hudson (8-9, 3.03) will take the mound with a 17-5 record and 2.37 ERA in 30 career starts against Washington.
It seems no one has had their number like Hudson and it will be interesting to see if they can break through that history today. He pitched against them on June 12 and went seven scoreless in a 7-1 Giants win.
Fortunate for the Nats, they will have their best pitcher on the mound in Doug Fister (12-3, 2.20). Fister led the Nationals to a win against the Giants with seven scoreless innings of his own on June 10. The Nats won that day 2-1.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (outside D.C. market), MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of storms, 76 degrees, Wind 5 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
RHP Doug Fister
CF Angel Pagan
RF Hunter Pence
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Michael Morse
2B Joe Panik
1B Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford
RHP Tim Hudson
HP Jerry Meals (cc)
1B Paul Emmel
2B Chris Conroy
3B Jordan Baker
7:06 p.m. — And we’re underway with a strike from Doug Fister to Angel Pagan. After some early rain, the skies have cleared and we look OK for the time being.
7:10 p.m. — Even with a leadoff single allowed to Pagan, Fister still managed to complete the first inning on nine pitches (eight strikes). Asdrubal Cabrera made a nice play on Hunter Pence’s grounder, tagging Pagan and making an off-balance throw to first to complete the double play.
7:22 p.m. — Here’s how things are going for the Nats right now: They just tried a double steal with two outs in the bottom of the first, with Anthony Rendon taking off for third and Adam LaRoche taking off for second. Buster Posey tried to throw LaRoche out, but the ball skipped away, letting Rendon waltz home with the night’s first run. It’s 1-0, and life remains good for the Nats.
7:33 p.m. — Michael Morse stepped to the plate in the top of the second and got a really nice ovation from the crowd, most of which stood up to applause. I thought Morse might step out of the box for a second and tip his cap, but he stayed locked in. And, alas, there was no “Take on Me” over the PA system. Perhaps they’ll save that for his fourth at-bat of the night like they used to, but I don’t know. Meanwhile, we saw yet another fantastic play at second base from Asdrubal Cabrera, who ranged way to his left, spun and threw to first to get Morse. He really has been excellent over there.
7:49 p.m. — Oh, Bryce Harper, you give us the really good and the really bad, all in one inning. The good: He put together a fantastic at-bat against Hudson, fouling off a bunch of pitches before lining yet another single up the middle. He’s now hitting .378 (14-for-37) during the Nats’ winning streak, including 6 hits in his last 9 at-bats. The bad: He got picked off first base by Posey, straying too far on the pitch. I don’t know if that technically counts as a TOOTBLAN, but there definitely were nincompoop-like qualities to it. That’s now the 11th time Harper has been thrown out on the bases this season. He’s only played 68 games. That’s not a good ratio. Still 1-0 Nats after two.
7:53 p.m. — Ho-hum, just another great catch from Denard Span, who ranged way to his right and then dove to snag Pagan’s sinking liner and end the top of the third.
8:15 p.m. — Hmm, just when all looked good for Fister, things quickly fell apart in the top of the fourth. With two outs and nobody out, Pablo Sandoval chopped a ball over the mound and under Cabrera’s glove for a single. Morse then scooted a hard grounder past a diving Desmond at shortstop. And then Joe Panik launched a 3-run homer to center, the first of his career. Looked like a sinker that didn’t sink enough from Fister. Just like that, the Giants lead 3-1.
8:23 p.m. — But Jayson Werth responds with a laser beam of a homer to left field leading off the bottom of the fourth. That’s his 13th homer of the season, but his first since the All-Star break. It’s also a good sign that his shoulder is feeling OK if he can drive a ball like that. 3-2 now heading to the fifth.
8:51 p.m. — Uh-oh, another homer allowed by Fister. This time, Posey belted a 2-2 sinker up in the zone to left field, giving the Giants a 4-2 lead in the sixth. You’ll recall Fister gave up three homers in his season debut in Oakland back on May 9. In 17 starts since, he had given up only eight total homers. Now he has surrendered two in six innings tonight. And the most uncharacteristic stat of the night for Fister: He has thrown 107 pitches in only six innings. That might be it for him tonight.
8:54 p.m. — This definitely is it tonight for Morse. He has been pulled for defense in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Giants up 2 runs. Apparently, this has been standard practice for Bruce Bochy.
9:05 p.m. — LaRoche and Hudson love to face each other, being longtime good friends from their days together in Atlanta, but they didn’t get a chance at a third encounter tonight when Bochy pulled his starter with two outs in the sixth and summoned former Robinson Ram lefty Javier Lopez from the bullpen. That’s a tough matchup for LaRoche, who proceeded to strike out on three pitches. So the Nats still trail 4-2, and here’s Jerry Blevins to pitch the top of the seventh.
9:25 p.m. — Not much happening at the plate tonight for the Nats. Jean Machi just set them down in order in the bottom of the seventh, so they’re still down 4-2 and now down to their last six outs.
9:37 p.m. — You know, I was about to point out that Blevins has quietly been quite effective lately. After two quick outs in the eighth, the lefty owned this pitching line over his last seven appearance: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 12 K. But then he walked Gregor Blanco, then allowed Panik’s fourth hit of the night and then served up a 2-run double to Travis Ishikawa that has turned this into a 6-2 lead for the Giants. It’s going to truly take something special now for the Nats to keep this winning streak alive.
9:56 p.m. — And now they’re down to their last three outs. They just haven’t been able to string together hits tonight.
10:09 p.m. — Yikes, this thing got ugly in a hurry. Ross Detwiler gave up four runs in the top of the ninth, so it’s now 10-2 and the crowd has mostly filed out except for those wearing black and orange.
10:30 p.m. — That’ll do it. The Nats did score a run in the bottom of the ninth, but that’s it. Final: 10-3. The streak ends at 10 games, unfortunately in what became a blowout.
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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