Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Scott Olsen faces Derek Lowe in today's series finale.
Everyone's favorite benchwarmer, Michael Morse, gets the start in right field, even against a right-hander. Wil Nieves is behind the plate, giving Ivan Rodriguez the day off.
Check back throughout the afternoon for updates...
BRAVES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 12:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
C Wil Nieves
P Scott Olsen
2B Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
1B Troy Glaus
LF Matt Diaz
SS Omar Infante
C David Ross
CF Melky Cabrera
P Derek Lowe
12:37 p.m. -- This game is underway and Scott Olsen has returned from the DL. Olsen starts Martin Prado off with a fastball for strike one.
12:40 p.m. -- Seven pitches. Four strikes. Three 6-3 groundouts for Scott Olsen in his first inning back from the DL. Not bad. Not bad at all.
1:05 p.m. -- And the Nats take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Adam Dunn leads off with a ground-rule double to deep center, moves to third on Josh Willingham's grounder and then scores on Michael Morse's grounder to short. Olsen, meanwhile, gave up a couple of singles in the top of the second but got out of the jam. So far, so good for the Nats.
1:07 p.m. -- Make it 2-0 thanks to Ian Desmond's solo homer to right-center on a 3-2 pitch. Desmond has quietly been hitting the ball pretty hard the last few weeks after a brutal stretch through the early part of the summer.
1:17 p.m. -- Three scoreless innings now for Olsen. He appears to be picking up right where he left off before going on the DL. Pounding the strike zone, inducing grounders.
1:29 p.m. -- Big line of storms heading this way. The skies have darkened considerably in the last 15 minutes.
1:34 p.m. -- So much for Olsen's shutout bid. He issued a one-out walk to Troy Glaus, then left a 1-1 fastball up to Matt Diaz and watched as the ball sailed into the left-field bleachers. It's tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth as the wind picks up and the skies darken even more here.
1:49 p.m. -- You know, Wil Nieves gets a hit about once every three months. But he sure does make them count. Big two-run single just now from the backup catcher, putting the Nats up 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth.
2:03 p.m. -- We're through five now, so this is an official game. Olsen rebounded nicely from that shaky fourth and retired the side in the fifth. If he can get through the top of the sixth unscathed and before the rain hits, that would have to go down as a fantastic performance from the lefty. Couldn't expect much more than six innings and two runs in his first start back from the DL. First things first; he's got to get through the sixth.
2:15 p.m. -- Guess I spoke a bit too soon. Olsen allowed a run in the sixth, though it was unearned after Ian Desmond was charged with an error. The Nats still lead, though, 4-3. And as I type this, they're pulling the tarp out over the infield. We're officially in a rain delay in the middle of the sixth.
2:33 p.m. -- There's a report on NBCsports.com saying Miss Iowa will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before tomorrow night's game against the Phillies. The Nats aren't confirming that yet, but if true, it'll be an impressively quick turnaround from Miguel Batista's one-liner Tuesday night to the beauty queen appearing here at the park Friday night. Incredible how these things come together so fast.
2:36 p.m. -- Actually, Miss Iowa herself, Katherine Connors, has tweeted the news, saying it's official!
3:13 p.m. -- While we continue to wait out this rain delay, if you haven't seen the news from Philly yet: Roy Oswalt has been traded from the Astros to the Phillies. And there's strong speculation he'll start tomorrow night here in D.C. So in the span of four months, both Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt could have made their Phillies debuts at Nationals Park. (Wonder how many Philly faithful will be here tomorrow.)
3:24 p.m. -- The tarp is coming off the infield as we speak, but don't get your hopes up. There's another cell approaching, so the tarp will be placed back on the infield. The delay continues, even though it's bright sunshine right now.
3:31 p.m. -- It's official: Oswalt will start tomorrow night for the Phillies.
3:38 p.m. -- Game expected to resume at 3:50 p.m.
3:47 p.m. -- We're back underway, with Peter Moylan now on the mound for the Braves. Sean Burnett is currently warming for the Nats, so he will be replacing Scott Olsen.
4:00 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance; 30,263. Lots of camp kids here. Or at least, lots of camp kids who WERE here. They're mostly gone now.
4:16 p.m. -- Burnett tossed a scoreless seventh, so Drew Storen is now on for the eighth, still protecting a 4-3 lead.
4:23 p.m. -- Storen makes it through the eighth unscathed, helped by a 4-6-3 double play. So the Nats are three outs from victory as Matt Capps begins to loosen up in the pen.
4:30 p.m. -- Adam Dunn's trade value just went up another tick. Opposite-field home run, his 24th of the year, puts the Nats up 5-3 and gives Capps some breathing room.
4:42 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Nats win 5-3. Thus, they improbably took two of three from the first-place Braves despite Stephen Strasburg and Livan Hernandez throwing a combined 4 1/3 innings in the series. Isn't baseball great?