Aug 23, 2014, 12:32 PM EST
The Streak ended last night at an even 10 games. Now the Nationals will try to start another one. They’ll hope to get back on track this afternoon when they again host the Giants, who are scratching and clawing themselves, trying to stay alive both in the NL West and Wild Card races.
Jordan Zimmermann gets the ball for the Nats, looking to continue his recent success. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA over his last five starts, striking out 25 while walking only four. He’ll be opposed by two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, who for the last three seasons has bore very little resemblance to the guy who won said Cy Young Awards.
The Nationals have a new face on hand today: Veteran outfielder Nate Schierholtz, signed to a minor-league contract only five days ago, has been called up from Class AAA, where he went 3-for-19 with a homer (all three hits came in one game). Michael Taylor was optioned back to Syracuse, but I’m sure we’ll see him again as soon as rosters expand Sept. 1. To make room for Schierholtz on the 40-man roster, Nate McLouth (shoulder surgery) was placed on the 60-day DL.
Updates to come, both on the game and the weather (looks like a good chance of rain throughout the afternoon and early evening)…
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, Fox Sports 1, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 184, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of rain, 76 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from 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 Jordan Zimmermann
CF Angel Pagan
RF Hunter Pence
1B Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
LF Michael Morse
2B Joe Panik
C Andrew Susac
SS Brandon Crawford
RHP Tim Lincecum
HP Paul Emmel
1B Chris Conroy
2B Jordan Baker
3B Jerry Meals (cc)
2:25 p.m. — Weather update: It has begun raining lightly here, and the tarp has now been pulled over the infield. The question is whether the rain will pass in time for this game to start as scheduled. Stay tuned.
3:30 p.m. — We are now 30 minutes to first pitch and the rain continues to fall. No sign of pitchers for either team. So the start of this one will officially be delayed.
4:15 p.m. — The Nats say they hope to start at 5 p.m.
4:45 p.m. — Now they’re saying 5:15 p.m. for first pitch.
5:17 p.m. — And we are finally underway after a delay of 1 hour, 12 minutes. It’s still raining lightly as Jordan Zimmermann fires strike one to Angel Pagan to get this game started.
5:24 p.m. — Yikes, two batters into this game and already Zimmermann and the Nats trailed 2-0. Pagan led off with a bloop double down the right-field line. Hunter Pence then followed with a 2-run homer to center, a bomb. It’s tough to fault Zimmermann, though. He had Pence 0-2 and then threw a fastball at Pence’s eyelids. Somehow, Pence was able to make the kind of contact necessary for a home run. Nevertheless, the Nats are down 2-0 early.
5:38 p.m. — But the Nats storm right back and get both runs back off Lincecum, who they continue to own. Denard Span led off with a ball into the right-field corner that caromed right through Pence’s legs. Span generously was awarded a triple, his seventh of the season. Anthony Rendon drew a walk, then Jayson Werth roped an RBI single to right-center that left runners on the corners. Though Adam LaRoche’s 4-6-3 double play prevented him from recording an RBI, it did bring home the tying run. So it’s 2-2 after one, and Lincecum’s struggles continue. In his last 31 innings against the Nats, he has allowed 32 earned runs and 44 hits. Wow.
6:04 p.m. — And it continues in the bottom of the second. The Nats just scored three more runs off Lincecum, though only one was earned thanks to Pablo Sandoval pulling a Jordan Pacheco and firing a wild throw from third to first on a Rendon grounder, allowing Span to score from second. Werth added an RBI single of his own. So it’s now 5-2 Nats after two.
6:25 p.m. — And it continues in the bottom of the third. Cabrera launched a 2-0 pitch into the Red Porch. Then Zimmermann doubled down the left field line, at which point Bruce Bochy decided he’d seen enough. Lincecum is done after only 2 2/3 innings, the second-shortest start of his career. His updated numbers over his last 7 starts against the Nats: 32.2 IP, 34 ER, 48 H, 2.05 WHIP. I mean, wow, that’s ridiculous. It’s 6-2 Nats after three.
6:33 p.m. — Zimmermann, meanwhile, has settled down since his first-ining ambush. He has retired 11 of the last 13 batters he’s faced, striking out five. It remains 6-2 in the middle of the fourth.
6:47 p.m. — Make it 14 of 16 retired by Zimmermann since the Pence homer. He looks sharp, and he’s thrown only 63 pitches through five innings.
7:10 p.m. — Both pitchers are cruising now. Since taking over for Lincecum way back in the bottom of the third, Yusmiero Petit has retired 10 straight batters. That has kept this a 6-2 game heading to the seventh.
7:29 p.m. — Thirteen in a row retired by Petit out of the bullpen. Even Craig Stammen is impressed with that. Still 6-2 going to the eighth.
7:42 p.m. — A standing ovation for Zimmermann as he completed the eighth inning on 107 pitches. Since the Pence homer, he has retire 23 of 28 batters, preserving the Nats’ 6-2 lead.
7:49 p.m. — It’ll be Matt Thornton to pitch the ninth for the Nats, trying to hold a 4-run lead that has held since the third inning.
7:55 p.m. — That’ll do it. Nats win 6-2, getting all their offense in the first three innings. They start a new winning streak and are back to 20 games over the .500 mark.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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