Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg faces his hometown team today at Nationals Park.
The latest player added to the DL, of course, is Sandy Leon, the rookie catcher who suffered a serious ankle sprain last night in the fourth inning of his big-league debut. Leon was officially placed on the 15-day DL today, with 33-year-old veteran Carlos Maldonado promoted from Class AAA Syracuse to become the Nats' new backup catcher. (Starter Wilson Ramos, meanwhile, was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Maldonado.)
The best way to overcome injuries is through pitching, and the Nationals have plenty of that. Today, ace Stephen Strasburg takes the mound to face his hometown team for the first time. Coming off a 13-strikeout performance against the Pirates, Strasburg will look to improve to 4-0 on the season.
There's still some rain in the forecast, but the sun is shining at the moment. Check back for live updates and analysis...
SAN DIEGO PADRES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Scattered storms, 74 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to CF
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Bryce Harper
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Jesus Flores
RHP Stephen Strasburg
RF Will Venable
CF Cameron Maybin
3B Chase Headley
1B Yonder Alonso
2B Orlando Hudson
LF James Darnell
C John Baker
SS Andy Parrino
RHP Anthony Bass
HP Brian Gorman (cc), 1B Tony Randazzo, 2B Alan Porter, 3B Larry Vanover
1:08 p.m. -- We are underway with a 96 mph strike from Stephen Strasburg to Will Venable. The forecast -- knock on wood -- actually looks decent, though there are dark clouds overhead.
1:25 p.m. -- Looks like I spoke waaay too soon on that forecast, because it started pouring in the top of the first, with Strasburg laboring big-time. He already gave up one run thanks to a bloop double that fell into the Bermuda Triangle between Bernadina, Ankiel and Desmond and an RBI single by Yonder Alonso. A two-out walk loaded the bases, and then with the count 3-2 to John Baker, the umps pulled everyone off the field and called for the tarp. Except it stopped raining before they could even cover the infield. So now they're spreading drying agent all over the mound, the plate and the infield as Strasburg retakes the mound having already thrown 33 pitches in the first.
1:35 p.m. -- And then after an eight-minute delay, Strasburg gives up a two-run single to Baker on his next pitch. The inning finally ends after 39 pitches and three San Diego runs. Quite the fiasco.
1:41 p.m. -- Anthony Bass sure didn't have any trouble with the mound in the bottom of the first. He retired the side on seven pitches.
1:48 p.m. -- Venable laced a one-out triple into the right-field corner, giving the Padres leadoff man five total bases in two innings. But Strasburg escaped without suffering any more damage, striking out Cameron Maybin on a changeup and then getting Chase Headley to line out to center. Still, he's at 53 pitches through two innings, a hefty total. Padres still up 3-0.
1:55 p.m. -- Adam LaRoche leads off the bottom of the second with a walk, but Bryce Harper smoked a line drive right at Venable and Danny Espinosa grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
2:33 p.m. -- So, who had James Darnell homering off Strasburg to make it 4-0 Padres? Even stranger, who had Strasburg getting pulled after only four innings and 81 pitches? That ties for the second-shortest start of his career. A strange afternoon, indeed, as Tom Gorzelanny enters to pitch the top of the fifth.
2:37 p.m. -- Make it 5-0 as Gorzelanny gives up an RBI single to the ever-dangerous John Baker, who entered today's game with a .143 average and one RBI and now has two hits and three RBI in five innings.
2:40 p.m. -- Well there's something positive at last for the Nationals. Bryce Harper connects for his second homer in as many days, another solo shot to center field. That trims the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
3:01 p.m. -- Great chance for the Nats to get back in this game in the bottom of the sixth, with two on and one out. But Bernadina whiffed at a 3-2 curveball at his shoelaces, and Zimmerman then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Some pretty poor at-bats there from Davey's Nos. 2 and 3 hitters. It remains 5-1 as we go to the seventh.
3:16 p.m. -- Credit to Gorzelanny, who has gone three innings and kept this game within reach for the Nationals. Even if they don't rally, the lefty long man has allowed Davey Johnson not to burn through his bullpen on a day when Strasburg only went four innings.
3:32 p.m. -- Not so much credit to Ryan Perry, who isn't doing his part to keep this game within reach. The right-hander allowed a leadoff double to the unstoppable Jeff Baker in the top of the eighth, then allowed an RBI single to the really unstoppable Will Venable. It's now 6-1 Padres, and Perry has now been scored upon in three of his four relief appearances with the Nationals.
3:42 p.m. -- Stephen Strasburg: Yanked after four innings. Anthony Bass: Still going strong after eight innings. Go figure.
3:49 p.m. -- We go to the bottom of the ninth, and here comes hard-throwing Andrew Cashner to close this out for the Padres. If you thought Henry Rodriguez had some serious heat, get a load of this guy.
4:00 p.m. -- It's over. The Nats fall 6-1 and are held to six or fewer hits for the 14th time in 36 games this season. Their record in those games, remarkably, is 7-7.