Apr 26, 2014, 11:35 AM EST
Let’s get right to the most-significant news of the morning: Bryce Harper is not in the Nationals’ lineup after jamming his left thumb sliding into third base last night. Harper’s thumb remains swollen, and though X-rays were negative, he is scheduled to be examined by a hand specialist today. Manager Matt Williams still doesn’t believe the injury is serious, though, and said the 21-year-old outfielder should be available off the bench if needed.
In a bit of a surprise, it’s Kevin Frandsen in left field today instead of Nate McLouth, who has struggled this season but reached base twice in three plate appearances after replacing Harper last night. Frandsen, if you’re wondering, is 1-for-4 in his career against Padres starter Andrew Cashner. McLouth is 0-for-3.
Tanner Roark gets the start for the Nationals, looking build off a strong outing last time out, during which he shut out the Angels over 6 2/3 innings. Updates to come…
SAN DIEGO PADRES VS. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Kevin Frandsen
C Sandy Leon
RHP Tanner Roark
SS Everth Cabrera
LF Chris Denorfia
RF Will Venable
2B Jedd Gyorko
1B Yonder Alonso
CF Alexi Amarista
3B Jace Peterson
C Rene Rivera
RHP Andrew Cashner
HP Doug Eddings
1B Marvin Hudson
2B Cory Blaser
3B Jim Joyce (cc)
1:05 p.m. — We are underway on a spectacular Saturday afternoon in the District. Tanner Roark gets Everth Cabrera to ground out to second on the game’s first pitch.
1:10 p.m. — That was quick. Roark retires the side on nine pitches (seven strikes), getting a couple of groundballs and then striking out Will Venable on a curveball. Tanner has now thrown 10 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to his start 10 days ago in Miami.
1:25 p.m. — Wow, the Nats strike early and often yet again. They plated three runs off ace Andrew Cashner, taking advantage of a couple of Padres errors but also getting an RBI single from Adam LaRoche, an RBI double from Ian Desmond and a sac fly from Danny Espinosa. They’re 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position to start the afternoon. And get this: LaRoche’s stats from April 2012: .329/.415/.549, 4 HR, 17 RBI. LaRoche’s stats from April 2014 (so far): .329/.433/.524, 4 HR, 15 RBI. This by no means guarantees he’ll duplicate his Silver Slugger season, but he’s certainly off to a comparable start. Nats lead 3-0 after one.
1:36 p.m. — Not a great start to this game for the Padres. Cashner is getting lit up, their infield has already been charged with three errors through the game’s first 10 batters and their lineup has done nothing against Roark, who has retired all six batters he’s faced and barely broken a sweat doing it. Still 3-0 after two.
2:07 p.m. — Man oh man, Roark is locked in today. He’s faced 15 batters through five innings and has retired all 15, needing only 53 pitches to do it. He’s throwing strikes, he’s working fast and he’s looking downright dominant. Still 3-0 in the middle of the fifth.
2:21 p.m. — Matt Williams with his second successful challenge in three days. He got the umps to overturn Jayson Werth being called out trying to advance to second on the Padres’ fourth error of the game. He’s now 2-for-6 on the season, and this one nearly paid big dividends, because the Nats wound up loading the bases with two outs after the overturned call. But Espinosa sent a flyball to left to end the inning, with the Nats still ahead 3-0 as Roark heads to the mound for the sixth having yet to put a man on base.
2:31 p.m. — Well, so much for history today at the ballpark. Rene Rivera lined a solid single up the middle with one out in the sixth to break up Roark’s bid at a perfect game. He wound up having to pitch out of a jam after LaRoche was charged with a sloppy error on a bunt attempt. But Tanner calmly got Cabrera to foul out to left and Denorfia to fly out to center. So he’s still got a shutout intact through six innings, having thrown only 69 pitches.
2:42 p.m. — Span has looked uncomfortable at the plate all day against Cashner, but give him credit for battling his way through a big at-bat just now. He fouled off several two-strike pitches and then sent an RBI single to left, scoring Frandsen. It’s 4-0 Nats after six.
2:50 p.m. — Seven scoreless in the books for Roark.
3:05 p.m. — Eight scoreless, after Roark got a 6-4-3 double play to end the eighth. He’s at 90 pitches, and it certainly looks like he’ll get a chance to finish this one off.
3:13 p.m. — A standing ovation for Roark as he came up to bat in the bottom of the eighth. So here we go. He’s never thrown 9 innings as a professional, majors or minors.
3:25 p.m. — There it is: Tanner Roark goes the distance, tossing a 3-hitter for his first career shutout and his first complete game as a professional pitcher. Nats win 4-0.
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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