Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The forecast is shaky again ... but let's play two!
Even if the weather holds out, the Nationals and Rockies will play two today: the makeup from last night's rainout at 2:10 p.m. EDT and then the regularly scheduled game at 8:10 p.m. EDT. And the weather is not supposed to hold out. It's not raining at the moment, but it's expected in periods throughout the day and evening. So no one would be surprised if there are delays or even if only one of the two games gets played.
Fortunately, tomorrow looks fantastic, so a Sunday doubleheader would not be threatened.
Unfortunately, today's first game is not going to be televised. It falls under the window that is exclusive to Fox, so MASN can't broadcast it. Which is a real shame since Game 1 features Livan Hernandez vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.
Fortunately, your trusty reporter is here to chronicle it all. I'll try to provide more play-by-play than usual given the situation. So be sure to check back for updates...
NATIONALS AT ROCKIES
Where: Coors Field
Gametime: 2:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of showers, 54 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Adam Kennedy
1B Adam Dunn
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Willie Harris
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
P Livan Hernandez
CF Carlos Gonzalez
LF Seth Smith
RF Brad Hawpe
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Jason Giambi
C Miguel Olivo
3B Ian Stewart
2B Clint Barmes
P Ubaldo Jimenez
12:53 p.m. -- Todd Helton has been scratched from the Rockies' lineup; he woke up with flu-like symptoms. Jason Giambi takes over for Game 1. Helton may return for the nightcap.
12:54 p.m. -- Josh Willingham is still hampered by a tweaked groin, which is why he's not in the lineup. He's been getting treatment all morning and will continue to get treatment during the first game. Still questionable whether he'll be available for the nightcap.
12:56 p.m. -- As for the Dunn-Zimmerman flip-flop, Jim Riggleman says it's a product of Willingham not being in the lineup. He wants to have some protection for Dunn. Willie Harris is batting fifth because he's one of the few guys on the Nats roster with a history of success against Ubaldo Jimenez (5-for-8, two doubles, a triple, two walks). But if you're one of my Blue Level subscribers and received the series preview on Thursday, you already knew that.
1:20 p.m. -- The field has been awash in bright sunshine since I arrived 90 minutes ago. But the clouds are starting to roll in from the west, and a quick glance at the radar shows rain heading this way. They should have just started this game at 10 a.m. local time, avoided the weather AND been able to televise it!
2:03 p.m. -- As astute readers Grandstander and Will have pointed out, you can watch a video feed of this game on MLB.tv (if you're a subscriber to that plan). You'll be getting a Rockies broadcast, not MASN. Carp and Dibbs are here, but they're just watching Game 1 from the press box.
2:06 p.m. -- Correction: You can only get the online video stream if you don't live in the D.C. or Denver areas. It's blacked out in both team's home markets. So bizarre.
2:11 p.m. -- We are underway. First pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez to Nyjer Morgan is a 94 mph fastball for strike one.
2:19 p.m. -- Well, they didn't exactly hit the ball hard, but the Nats scored a run off Jimenez in the top of the first. Morgan bounced a single over the third baseman's head, then took second on Adam Kennedy's groundball to first. After Adam Dunn struck out on a 99 mph heater, Ryan Zimmerman managed to send a broken-bat grounder up the middle that scored Morgan. 1-0 Nats as we head to the bottom of the first.
2:29 p.m. -- Scoreless bottom of the first for Livo, who escaped a two-out double by Brad Hawpe by striking out Troy Tulowitzki on a 79 mph slider. Earlier in the at-bat to Tulo, Hernandez threw back-to-back curveballs that registered 64 and 63 mph. So in one inning, we had one starter throw a pitch 99 mph and another throw one 63 mph. And both were successful. Nats lead 1-0 after one.
2:33 p.m. -- No trouble for Ubaldo in the top of the second. He retired the side, getting Pudge to ground out and Bernadina and Desmond to fly out. Still 1-0 heading to the bottom of the second.
2:36 p.m. -- The Bugs Bunny curveball was no match for Jason Giambi. He just belted that 63 mph offering from Livo into the right-field bullpen for a solo homer. It's now 1-1 in the bottom of the second.
2:41 p.m. -- A two-out single for Clint Barmes, but Livo brushes that aside by getting Jimenez to ground out to end the inning. Really dialed it up there against the opposing pitcher, uncorking an 87 mph fastball that surely left Ubaldo quaking in his boots. We head to the third, tied 1-1.
2:47 p.m. -- For the fourth time in four tries this season, Nyjer Morgan was thrown out trying to steal second by Miguel Olivo. Note to Jim Riggleman: Put up the stop sign.
3:17 p.m. -- Was down in the stands shooting photos the last two innings. So to catch you up: The Nats now trail 2-1 in the top of the fifth. Miguel Olivo crushed a 1-0 pitch from Hernandez into the left-center field bleachers in the fourth. Willie Harris misplayed a line drive to left in the third, must have lost the ball or something because it nearly took his head off. But no harm down on the error. Ryan Zimmerman doubled off Jimenez in the fourth but was stranded at second thanks in part to a nice running catch by Carlos Gonzalez on Harris' shot to deep center.
3:30 p.m. -- Aside from those two solo homers, Livo has been in top form again. He hasn't walked a batter, has struck out two. Pitch count (82) is a little high for only five innings, but he's the last guy you have to be worried about that. Rockies still lead 2-1 as we head to the sixth. There have been a few raindrops, but nothing serious yet, and at the moment the sun remains out.
3:32 p.m. -- One factor about Livan's pitch count to consider: The Nats need a starter for Wednesday's game against the Mets because of last night's rainout. Jim Riggleman said this morning he could bring either Hernandez or Luis Atilano back on short rest, or they could turn to a minor leaguer. Normally it wouldn't be a big deal to bring Livo back, but if he ends up throwing 120-plus pitches today, do you really want to bring him back three days later? If you're wondering about minor league options, Matt Chico is lined up perfectly to start Wednesday. He pitched last night for Syracuse, only went three innings (allowing two runs on four hits). Still trying to find out why he was taken out so early.
3:38 p.m. -- Wow did Adam Dunn just crush a pitch from Jimenez. It landed in the third deck down the right-field line, had to be at least 450 feet. It's the first homer allowed by Jimenez all season. Just like that, we're tied 2-2 in the sixth.
3:42 p.m. -- That was only the 29th home run ever hit into the third deck here at Coors Field, the first since Ian Stewart on June 7, 2008.
3:51 p.m. -- Willie Harris is having some kind of trouble out in left field today. He slipped and missed that line drive in the third, and he just had trouble picking up Stewart's sinking liner in the sixth. Wound up trapping the ball on a diving attempt. The base hit allowed Tulowitzki to score, so the Rockies have retaken a 3-2 lead.
3:53 p.m. -- Speaking of that third-inning play, the official scorer just changed it from an error to a double. Took the onus off Harris, assuming he either slipped or lost the ball in the lights.
4:01 p.m. -- Credit Olivo with another caught stealing. He nailed Bernadina to complete a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play and end the top of the seventh. Doug Slaten now coming in to pitch for the Nats. Livo's final line: 6 ip, 7 h, 3 er, 1 bb, 3 k. 100 pitches, 59 strikes. His updated ERA is 1.46.
4:08 p.m. -- Slaten allows a one-out single to Gonzalez but be gets pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs to ground into an inning-ending double play. Still 3-2 Rockies as we head to the eighth.
4:17 p.m. -- Despite putting the leadoff man on in the eighth -- Josh Willingham, pinch-hitting, was hit by a pitch, then pinch-runner Willy Taveras advanced to second on a sac bunt -- Ubaldo gets out of it without allowing the tying run. Kennedy fouls out and Dunn flies out. Big ovation from the Coors Field crowd as Jimenez walked off the field. It's still 3-2 Rockies going to the bottom of the eighth. Brian Bruney coming in to pitch for the Nats, hoping not to blow this game open.
4:24 p.m. -- Bruney has walked the first two batters he's faced in the eighth. Anyone out there surprised?
4:30 p.m. -- And there's the two-out double followed by the two-out single off Bruney to make it 6-2 Rockies. Bruney has now allowed 41 men to reach base in 17 1/3 innings this season.
4:39 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Rockies win 6-2. Ubaldo Jimenez now tied with Tyler Clippard for the MLB lead with seven wins. Livo falls to 4-2, though he certainly pitched well enough to win. Both of his losses have come against Ubaldo. Game 2 to come at 8:10 p.m. Eastern. That one will be on MASN2.
5:15 p.m. -- Nats' lineup for Game 2: CF Morgan, LF Harris, 3B Zimmerman, 1B Dunn, 2B Guzman, RF Bernadina, SS Desmond, C Nieves, P Atilano. I'll put up the full game thread closer to first pitch.
6:00 p.m. -- Rockies' lineup: CF Gonzalez, LF Smith, RF Hawpe, SS Tulowitzki, 1B Helton, 3B Stewart, 2B Barmes, C Phillips, P Hammel.