Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Yunesky Maya faces Josh Collmenter tonight at Chase Field.
Maya will be opposed tonight by unheralded right-hander Josh Collmenter, a 25-year-old rookie who has burst onto the scene here in Arizona, allowing only four runs in four starts to date. Collmenter uses an unconventional delivery -- he throws from straight over the top, maybe even a tad to the left. Thus, he gets great downward action, especially on his breaking balls, something the Nats will have to be ready for.
The Nationals will be without one of their big guns tonight. Jayson Werth, who took an Aaron Heilman fastball off his left elbow in the ninth inning last night, is not 100 percent. So Werth takes a seat, which means the Nats at the moment are without their three top, veteran position players from Opening Day: Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche.
Plenty of updates to come...
NATIONALS at DIAMONDBACKS
Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 9:40 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Clear, 93 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS8:30 p.m. -- Couple of injury updates: Ryan Zimmerman will begin his minor-league rehab assignment Sunday at low-Class A Hagerstown. More details here, but you've got to believe there's a good chance Zim will be ready to come off the DL before the end of this road trip. ... Meanwhile, Jayson Werth's left elbow is pretty swollen today, so Jim Riggleman decided to keep him out of the lineup. Werth took a fastball from Aaron Heilman right off the elbow in the ninth inning last night. "The issue last night was that it hit the ulnar nerve," Werth said. "It was kind of like hitting your funny bone hard. After a couple of minutes, it goes away. But today we're dealing with the swelling of the impact, I guess, which doesn't always calm down so quickly." Werth said he's pretty confident he'll be able to play tomorrow. He hasn't worn an elbow pad in the past, but: "I will now, for a little while."
LF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Laynce Nix
1B Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Jerry Hairston
P Yunesky Maya
3B Ryan Roberts
2B Kelly Johnson
RF Justin Upton
SS Stephen Drew
CF Chris Young
C Miguel Montero
1B Xavier Nady
LF Gerardo Parra
P Josh Collmenter
8:55 p.m. -- Also, if you're wondering whether the Nats might feel the need to retaliate for the Werth plunking, it doesn't sound like that's going to happen. Talking to some Nats people today, they don't believe Heilman did it on purpose. And talking to some people close to the D'backs, they insist it wasn't on purpose. Heilman's just been that bad.
9:40 p.m. -- We are underway on another gorgeous night here in the Valley of the Sun. It's 95 degrees outside Chase Field, but much cooler inside, even with the roof open.
9:53 p.m. -- Wow, quite a play by Michael Morse and Yunesky Maya to end the bottom of the first. Morse had to go to his knees to corral Stephen Drew's sharp grounder. He bobbled it a couple of times, then made a sidearm throw from his knees to Maya, who got to first base just barely ahead of Drew. It's possible Maya's foot came off the bag before he caught the ball, but the D'backs didn't argue Vic Carapazza's call. Scoreless after one.
10:02 p.m. -- D'backs take a 1-0 lead in the second as Chris Young tattoos a 1-2 pitch from Maya into the left-field bullpen. Not sure exactly what the pitch was, it was 81 mph and sinking down and in, a change-up perhaps.
10:21 p.m. -- Leadoff double from Ivan Rodriguez in the third ... and he never advanced beyond that. Found it particularly interesting that Maya was swinging away during his at-bat instead of dropping a bunt.
10:30 p.m. -- Speaking of Pudge, he just made another perfect throw to second to thwart a stolen base attempt. Nats catchers have now combined to throw out 14 of 33 runners this season, a 43 percent rate that leads the majors. Nats still trail 1-0 after three.
11:15 p.m. -- Hoo-boy. Where to begin? Well, for starters, Maya couldn't get through the fifth inning. It began with a walk to the opposing pitcher and ended with a plunking of Upton. That loaded the bases with one out and Drew at the plate. So out went Maya and in came Doug Slaten. With the bases loaded. In a one-run game. It didn't stay that way for long. Slaten fell behind in the count 3-0, then left a meatball right over the plate to Drew, who crushed it about 415 feet to the deepest part of the ballpark. It didn't go out, but it did result in a three-run triple. Just like that, the D'backs lead 4-0.
11:32 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Nats have amassed a total of three hits in six innings against Collmenter. Two singles and a double. And they've failed to advance any of those three runners so far.
11:54 p.m. -- I have no idea if it's been intentional or not -- I really don't believe it has been -- but the Nationals have now plunked Justin Upton three times in two days. Maya did it in the fifth tonight, and Cole Kimball just grazed him with a fastball in the seventh. You've got to believe the Diamondbacks are going to retaliate at some point. But here's the thing: With Werth out of the lineup, who would be the guy to get it? Nix? Morse? Espinosa?
12:03 a.m. -- Well, if nothing else the Nats don't have to deal with Collmenter anymore. He's done after seven shutout innings. David Hernandez now on for the top of the eighth, still 4-0 Diamondbacks.
12:12 a.m. -- Not that things got any easier with Hernandez on the mound. 1-2-3 eighth, with Matt Stairs flying out to fall to 3-for-35 and Roger Bernadina striking out to end the inning.
12:19 a.m. -- A nice 1-2-3 inning from Henry Rodriguez, including back-to-back strikeouts. If only this guy could find some semblance of consistency. We go to the ninth, Nats down 4-0, with left-hander Joe Patterson on the mound for Arizona.
12:25 a.m. -- That'll do it. Quite an uninspired 4-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. Yunesky Maya falls to 0-4 with a 6.43 ERA in seven career starts. The Nats put four total men on base in the game. None of them advanced even one base after reaching. Morse's hitting streak, by the way, came to an end at 11 games.