Friday’s Nationals-Phillies discussion space

Having climbed out from under today’s crushing load of news, at least for now, I’m free to talk about the game. So, in that spirit, here’s our discussion space for tonight’s Nationals-Phillies game, joined in progress. The Nationals lead the Phillies 1-0 after two innings. I’ll provide updates and analysis here, and if you want to participate, leave your thoughts in the comments. I’ll respond to you there. I’ll probably set up a live chat sometime in the middle innings to talk trade deadline stuff.

7:47: The Nationals have opened up a 3-0 lead on the Phillies in the third inning, helped by a throwing error from catcher Carlos Ruiz. They’ve had Nyjer Morgan on base twice, and he’s scored two runs, tripling to lead off the game and getting hit by a pitch. He’s locked in right now, and doing what he did most of the second half last year.

8:00: Craig Stammen, coming off a rough outing, is predisposed to pitching well. He’s doing so tonight, having struck out four in four shutout innings. If he could do this even remotely consistently, the Nationals’ rotation would be so much different. He’s looking good tonight.

8:28: This is just bizarre. Everything that usually happens to the Nats is helping them out tonight. Josh Willingham just squeezed a double inside the left-field line, and as it went into foul territory, it bounced off a section of the fence down the left field and jutted back out into fair territory. As Raul Ibanez chased it down, Adam Dunn raced around to score, crossing the plate standing up as the relay forced Carlos Ruiz to jump. It’s 5-0 Nationals in the top of the sixth, and Stammen is still cruising.

8:38: We’re going to live chat for a little bit, so if you’ve got questions about the game, the trade deadline or the Nats in general, chime in below. Or, tweet to the chat by tagging with #masnnats.