Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
It's the final day of the season's first half at Nationals Park.
It bears noting that at this point one year ago, the Nationals' record was 26-61. Manny Acta was fired right as the All-Star break began and Jim Riggleman took over. Today will be Riggleman's 164th game as Nats manager. His record entering today: 72-91. A win today against the Giants would leave the Nationals at 40-49 going into the break. Good enough? No. But progress? Yes.
Sad news to report on this otherwise glorious Sunday: Bob Sheppard, the Yankees' famed PA announcer since Joe DiMaggio was roaming the outfield, died today at age 99. In Sheppard's honor, I'll present today's lineups in his signature fashion.
Check back for updates before, during and after the game...
GIANTS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50, MASN
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 88 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF
The center fielder, number 1, Nyjer Morgan. Number 1.
The second baseman, number 15, Cristian Guzman. Number 15.
The third baseman, number 11, Ryan Zimmerman. Number 11.
The first baseman, number 44, Adam Dunn. Number 44.
The left fielder, number 16, Josh Willingham. Number 16.
The catcher, number 7, Ivan Rodriguez. Number 7.
The right fielder, number 28, Michael Morse. Number 28.
The shortstop, number 6, Ian Desmond. Number 6.
The pitcher, number 61, Livan Hernandez. Number 61.
The center fielder, number 33, Aaron Rowand. Number 33.
The second baseman, number 21, Freddy Sanchez. Number 21.
The left fielder, number 17, Aubrey Huff. Number 17.
The catcher, number 28, Buster Posey. Number 28.
The first baseman, number 10, Travis Ishikawa. Number 10.
The shortstop, number 5, Juan Uribe. Number 5.
The third baseman, number 48, Pablo Sandoval. Number 48.
The right fielder, number 12, Nate Schierholtz. Number 12.
The pitcher, number 40, Madison Bumgarner. Number 40.
1:38 p.m. -- Livan Hernandez starts Aaron Rowand off with a fastball for strike one, and we are underway on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon on South Capitol Street.
1:50 p.m. -- The streak of allowing first-inning runs is back on. Livo just gave up two in the top of the first, plagued by back-to-back walks to Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey. Travis Ishikawa followed with a two-run single to right, making this the 10th time in 11 games that the Nats' pitching staff has been scored upon in the first. It's 2-0 Giants.
2:03 p.m. -- Much better second inning from Hernandez, who retired the side. He's actually retired five in a row since that Ishikawa two-run single. Nats now coming up for their second crack at the outstandingly named Madison Bumgarner.
2:22 p.m. -- Have we mentioned that Buster Posey is really good? I mean, seriously good. He's been in the big leagues a little over a month and is hitting .351 with seven homers and 23 RBI. Whoops, make that 25 RBI after he just drove a two-run triple off the center-field fence. Nyjer Morgan didn't exactly help matters by misplaying the carom, but still, it's hard not to be impressed with Posey. Think about this: Between Posey, Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Mike Stanton, Mike Leake and Jaime Garcia ... that's going to be one impressive NL Rookie of the Year ballot. (Oh yeah, Giants now lead 5-0 in the third inning of a ballgame that is rapidly deteriorating.)
2:48 p.m. -- We may have to add Bumgarner to the Rookie of the Year candidate list as well. The 20-year-old lefty has been outstanding through four scoreless innings, scattering three singles while striking out four. Giants still lead 5-0 after four. Has anyone scored in the World Cup final yet?
2:59 p.m. -- Not Livo's best outing of the year. He's done after five innings, five runs and five hits allowed. Doug Slaten will come out of the pen to pitch the sixth with the Nats still down 5-0.
3:24 p.m. -- The Nationals haven't had many opportunities today, so the one they just squandered in the sixth was particularly painful. With two outs, Dunn, Willingham and Rodriguez all singled. Yet no one scored. That's because Dunn held up at third on Pudge's bloop single to center, then didn't attempt to score after Aaron Rowand booted the ball. Pat Listach gave him the go signal; apparently Dunn didn't see it. He just threw his hands up in the air. So with the bases loaded and two out, Michael Morse flied out to right on a 2-1 count, killing the rally without a run scoring. Still 5-0 in the seventh.
3:33 p.m. -- That'll do it for Bumgarner. He departs one batter into the seventh after allowing a single to Ian Desmond. Pretty impressive performance from the rookie left-hander. Former Oriole Chris Ray now pitching for the Giants, facing pinch-hitter Willie Harris, who is pinch-hitting for pinch-hitter Alberto Gonzalez.
3:43 p.m. -- Well, at least the Nats scored before either Spain or the Netherlands did. Guzman's single up the middle brings Desmond home and cuts the lead to 5-1 in the seventh.
3:55 p.m. -- Another golden opportunity squandered. The Nats had the bases loaded with one out and Willingham at the plate. But Sergio Romo put on a clinic on how to pitch out of a jam. He got Willingham to strike out on three straight sliders, then got Pudge to fly out to end the inning. It's 5-2 after seven, even though the Nats have outhit the Giants, 9-5. Drew Storen on to pitch the top of the eighth.
4:11 p.m. -- Now 6-2 Giants after Uribe's RBI single off Storen. Nats down to their final six outs.
4:26 p.m. -- The Nationals have no put 16 men on base in eight innings today. They've scored twice. Really frustrating day at the plate. Still 6-2 going to the ninth, and Matt Capps is coming on for an All-Star tune-up appearance.
4:42 p.m. -- It's over. Giants win 6-2. The Nats fall to 39-50. So for the fifth consecutive year, they head into the All-Star break with at least 50 losses.