Aug 27, 2014, 3:23 PM EST
PHILADELPHIA — The last thing the Nationals want, on the heels of a 9-1 homestand, is to open this 9-game road trip by getting swept by the Phillies. But they’ll need a win in tonight’s series finale to prevent that from happening.
The good news: Doug Fister is on the mound for the Nats, and we know what that usually means. And more good news: Kyle Kendrick starts for the Phillies. Over the last two seasons, he’s 1-5 with a 5.71 ERA against the Nationals.
Even more good news: Both Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche are back in the lineup tonight, LaRoche’s tight back apparently feeling well enough for him to play all nine innings.
Note the later start tonight due to a pregame ceremony honoring Mo’ne Davis and the Taney Little League team that just came home from the World Series in Williamsport.
Updates to come, so please check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 869, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 87 degrees, Wind 6 mph out 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 Ben Revere
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Marlon Byrd
LF Domonic Brown
C Wil Nieves
3B Cody Asche
RHP Kyle Kendrick
HP Gary Cederstrom (cc)
1B Chris Segal
2B Jim Reynolds
3B Manny Gonzalez
7:43 p.m. — We are underway after a very nice (albeit lengthy) ceremony honoring the Taney Little Leaguers. The Phillies really went all-out, giving these kids big-league treatment. Very cool to see.
7:57 p.m. — I noted earlier how the Nats have feasted on Kyle Kendrick over the years, and they’re at it again. They scored two runs in the top of the first thanks to a Denard Span leadoff single, an Anthony Rendon RBI double and an Ian Desmond RBI single. Kendrick has given up at least four runs in each of his last four starts against the Nationals. They’re already halfway there after only one inning, up 2-0 as Doug Fister takes the mound.
8:07 p.m. — Uh-oh, the Phillies get both runs back in the bottom of the first. Fister left a 1-0 pitch up to Jimmy Rollins, who managed to hit a 335-foot rainbow of a homer just over the right-field wall. Two more singles from Chase Utley and Ryan Howard didn’t help, but Span’s rare misplay in center field — he let Howard’s sinking liner scoot under his glove and roll to the wall — really didn’t help. That’s an unearned run and it leaves this game tied 2-2 after one eventful inning.
8:20 p.m. — Better stuff from Fister in the bottom of the second. He retired the side, striking out a pair. To the third we go, still 2-2.
8:37 p.m. — And the Nats get the lead back in the top of the third, thanks to a couple of guys who have been getting the job done for some time now. Span led off with a base hit to right-center, then deftly hustled his way to second base way before Marlon Byrd’s throw came in. That’s now Denard’s 50th multi-game hit this season. Pretty good. Meanwhile, Werth delivered another RBI single, this one a broken-bat liner to left. He is now 9-for-12 with two doubles, 11 RBI, five walks and two sac flies with runners in scoring position this month. Pretty, pretty good. Nats lead 3-2.
8:51 p.m. — Fister is battling his way through this one so far despite an, let’s say, inconsistent strike zone. I hate to pick on umpires, but Dan Iassogna (in only three innings so far tonight) has already called eight pitches out of the zone strikes and five pitches in the zone balls, per the excellent BrooksBaseball.net in-game chart.
9:08 p.m. — Wait a minute, am I dreaming or did Denard Span just hit a ball into the second deck here? Wow. He’s now 3-for-3 with a single, a double and a homer. And it’s only the fifth inning. It’s now 4-2 Nats, and for the fifth straight time, they’ve scored at least 4 runs off Kendrick.
9:46 p.m. — Things just got ugly in the bottom of the sixth. Domonic Brown drove in a run with a double to right-center. Then Grady Sizemore came off the bench an launched a hanging, 0-2 curveball from Fister into the bleachers. Just like that, the Phillies have taken a 5-4 lead. And that’s not all. Following the home run, Fister drilled Ben Revere in the forearm, prompting Iassogna to issue warnings to both dugouts. The look on Fister’s face suggested he never in a million years intended to hit Revere, and his subsequent reaction — getting Revere’s attention and asking him if he was OK — further confirmed his lack of intention. But in the bigger picture, there’s some concern now about the right-hander. He gave up nine earned runs over his previous six starts. Now he has given up eight earned runs over his last two, including four homers.
9:59 p.m. — Nats go down in order in the seventh against Antonio Bastardo. They’re fighting an uphill battle now, down 5-4 at the stretch.
10:07 p.m. — And it gets worse. Ross Detwiler entered for the bottom of the seventh. Two pitches later, the Phillies’ lead was 7-4.
10:18 p.m. — The Nats can’t get anything going against the Phillies bullpen. Lefty Jake Diekman just retired the side in the eighth, so they’re now down three runs with three outs to go.
10:32 p.m. — Detwiler gives up another run in the eighth. It’s 8-4 heading to the ninth.
10:47 p.m. — Game over. Nats lose 8-4 and get swept here in Philly. They now face a daunting, 6-game trip to Seattle and L.A., needing to get themselves back on track.
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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