Welcome to MASN’s discussion space for tonight’s Nationals-Reds game in Cincinnati. I’ll post updates and analysis below, and you can talk about the game in the comments section:
8:15: The bottom of the second inning was one of the ugliest innings the Nationals have played in a long time. Three walks, a bobbled ball (and then an erratic throw to the infield) by Willie Harris and a misplayed grounder from Cristian Guzman, and the Nationals were down 4-0. That they ended a 23-inning scoreless streak with two runs in the top of the third inning was much less impressive when it only helped them cut a deficit in half. It’s 4-2 Reds after three innings, and now we’re under a rain delay.
Where to start? I’ve heard Harris’ time in Washington probably shouldn’t be measured by much more than weeks, and he’s not playing well in a rare start tonight. The way he played Drew Stubbs’ double-in-name-only wasn’t in keeping with his resume as a solid defensive player. And J.D. Martin, whose curveball is hanging tonight, has walked three and given up three hits. If it’s a quick delay, he could be back, but it might be just as good for the Nats if he’s not. He doesn’t have it tonight.
8:38: Sounds like they’re going to resume play around 8:50 in Cincinnati -- the thunderstorm rolled through briefly.
8:51: They’re back underway in Cincinnati.
9:07: Whatever momentum the Nationals created with their two-run third has been washed away by the rain delay. The Nationals went down 1-2-3 in the fifth, and still trail the Reds 4-2.
9:30: The Nationals caught a break in the sixth when Brandon Phillips deflected Ivan Rodriguez’s single. But all that did was load the bases for Harris, who flew out to left to end the inning. He’s catching plenty of ire tonight from fans. It’s been a rough night for Harris, in a rough season.
9:33: And now the Nationals trail 5-2; Jonny Gomes just crushed a hanging slider from Martin. The pitch couldn’t have been in a friendlier location for Gomes. This is slipping away from the Nationals once again.
9:36: Consider this one just about gone. Miguel Cairo makes it two homers in three batters, flattening a high changeup from Martin, who’s now done for the night. He didn’t have any break on his off-speed stuff tonight, and the Reds made him pay.
10:10: The Nationals had something going here in the top of the eighth, with back-to-back walks from Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn to start. But Josh Willingham popped up to second -- slamming his cup of water in the dugout after getting back -- and Ivan Rodriguez grounded into a double play to finish the inning. The Nationals just aren’t getting key hits with runners on base on this road trip, and that was probably their best chance to get back in this game.