Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The tarp has been covering the infield at Nationals Park all day.
Actually, looking at the radar and the extended forecast for the evening, it looks like there's a pretty good chance the Nationals and Rockies will be able to get this one in. There's a 35 percent chance of showers at 7 p.m., but that number drops to 25 percent and 15 percent the next two hours before picking up again to 30 percent around 10 p.m.
With a 4:35 p.m. getaway game scheduled tomorrow -- and the Rockies not scheduled to make any more trips to Washington this season -- you've got to believe they're going to do everything they can to play tonight.
Check back for updates (both weather and game-related) all afternoon/evening...
ROCKIES AT NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of showers, 59 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Willie Harris
2B Adam Kennedy
C Wil Nieves
P John Lannan
LF Carlos Gonzalez
CF Dexter Fowler
1B Jason Giambi
SS Troy Tulowitzki
RF Brad Hawpe
3B Melvin Mora
C Chris Iannetta
2B Clint Barmes
P Jason Hammel
6:05 p.m. -- Weather update: They're pulling the tarp off the infield right now, and the forecast shows clearing ahead. Appears this game will start on time at 7:05 p.m.
6:09 p.m. -- I know a lot of you have been asking about Wil Nieves catching John Lannan for the third time in four starts. Here's the deal: Nieves is NOT Lannan's personal catcher. In fact, Jim Riggleman is not a fan of that whole idea in the first place. "I have great disdain for that," the manager said. Riggleman planned all along to sit Ivan Rodriguez for either tonight's game or tomorrow's game. Originally, Pudge was going to sit out tomorrow. But then he realized Livan Hernandez was starting tomorrow, and after the two paired up for that four-hit shutout last weekend, Rodriguez requested to be behind the plate again. So that meant he had to be out of the lineup tonight.
6:54 p.m. -- They're about to sign the national anthem, and there are seriously about 500 people in the stands.
7:05 p.m. -- First pitch from Lannan to Gonzalez is a strike. It's so quiet in the ballpark, you can clearly hear Charlie and Dave's radio broadcast over the concourse loudspeakers.
7:20 p.m. -- Really ragged first inning for Lannan, who was lucky to get out only allowing two runs. He put five men on base and threw only 18 of his whopping 34 pitches for strikes. He also took a hard comebacker off his left leg, and though he appeared fine health-wise, he perhaps was a bit shaken up by that. Rockies lead 2-0 as the Nats come to bat for the first time against Hammel.
7:33 p.m. -- The Nationals didn't seem too pleased with plate umpire Mike Estabrook's strike zone in the bottom of the first. Estabrook rung up Cristian Guzman with a called third strike, then upset Ryan Zimmerman with a check swing call that left Zimmerman shaking his head in disbelief. The Nats did have a chance to get on the board, with runners on first and second and two out. But Josh Willingham (one of the club's hottest hitters to date) grounded into a fielder's choice to end that threat, so the Rockies still lead 2-0 after one.
7:44 p.m. -- Much better second inning for Lannan, who allowed a one-out single to Gonzalez but struck out Giambi on a high fastball to end the inning in style.
7:55 p.m. -- If Lannan is going to throw a 72-mph curveball with the count full, he can't leave it hanging letter-high. Unless he wants to give up towering home runs to Brad Hawpe, which he just did in the top of the third. Hawpe mashed that creampuff to right-center, putting the Rockies ahead, 3-0.
8:00 p.m. -- If you're interested to read Mike Rizzo's take on Stephen Strasburg (the GM watched him in person today in Harrisburg), here's the link to my story on CSNwashington.com.
8:18 p.m. -- It's amazing what a simple bunt single by Nyjer Morgan can lead to. After dropping a perfect one down the third-base line, Morgan clearly had Jason Hammel's attention divided. What followed was three straight hits -- a single by Ryan Zimmerman, a two-run double by Adam Dunn (who appears to be breaking out of his slump) and an RBI single by Josh Willingham. Willingham then had a heads-up play later when second baseman Clint Barmes booted a grounder. Willingham never let up, rounded third and scored without a throw, completing a four-run third for the Nats, who now lead 4-3.
8:45 p.m. -- Strange things always seem to happen when I leave the press box to take photos. Tonight, it was Nyjer Morgan getting called out for interference on a bunt attempt leading off the bottom of the fourth. Morgan, in the opinion of plate umpire Mike Estabrook, ran inside the foul line and interfered with Jason Giambi catching the throw to first. Upon further review, it does appear Morgan was in fair territory, though you still don't see that call made all that often. So it's now 4-4 in the fifth, with Lannan giving back the tying run in the top of the fourth.
8:58 p.m. -- It would appear John Lannan's evening is over. He needed a whopping 108 pitches to get through six innings and allowed 11 hits along the way. But the score's 4-4, and Lannan did make it through at least five innings (which to this point has ensured a Nats victory). Will the streak continue tonight? Only if these guys get some clutch hits and some quality relief work the rest of the way.
9:10 p.m. -- Another new attendance low at Nationals Park. Only 11,191 paid to watch tonight's game (far fewer actually attended). This after setting the franchise low of 11,623 on Monday. So over the course of the last three games, they've drawn a total of 37,851. Which is still about 4,000 less than the park's capacity.
9:24 p.m. -- Uh-oh. Ryan Zimmerman just struggled to make it to second base on a double off the right-field wall and came out of the game after consulting with assistant trainer Mike McGowan and manager Jim Riggleman. Ian Desmond now pinch-running. It would appear Zimmerman has re-tweaked the hamstring injury that kept him out of the lineup much of last week. Not a good development.
9:30 p.m. -- Come to think of it, this may actually not be a re-tweaking of the previous hamstring injury. That was his left leg. Tonight, Zimmerman was clearly grabbing his right leg after going into second base.
9:51 p.m. -- Riggleman might want to buy a lottery ticket on his way home tonight. He sure seems to have the magic touch right now. With two on and one out in the eighth, he could have elected to pinch-hit for Wil Nieves (probably the weakest hitter on the roster) with Ivan Rodriguez. Instead, Riggleman let Nieves hit, then watched as the backup catcher smoked an RBI double to left-center to give the Nationals the lead. Then Pudge, pinch-hitting for the pitcher, sent a deep drive to left for a sac fly that gives the Nats a 6-4 lead.
9:54 p.m. -- Which countdown is it time for? Why, the final countdown, of course. Here comes Matt Capps.
10:08 p.m. -- And the Nats are back over the .500 mark. Final score: 6-4.