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After all the drama of their Game 1 loss, the Nationals bounced back to take two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays. Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez did their job to stop the mini losing streak against the AL East. Gonzalez went six innings and allowed just two earned runs to improve to 9-3 on the year. The bullpen continued their impressive work with five pitchers combining for three scoreless innings to hold the lead. Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard, the anchors of the pen so far, were once again dominant. Each pitched an inning of perfect baseball and Clippard picked up his 11th save of the year.
The Nats offense got on the board first with a quick two-run rally in the third inning. Michael Morse brought home Danny Espinosa on a sacrifice fly to centerfield and then Ian Desmond knocked in the speedy Bryce Harper from second with a single back up the middle. Espinosa had a big night for Davey Johnson's club, coming through with a game-winning two-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. The double was ripped to right and scored Jesus Flores and Adam LaRoche to make it 4-2. That's all the bullpen would need but Roger Bernadina added an insurance run when he doubled home Ryan Zimmerman to close out the scoring at 5-2 in the seventh.
Washington will try to make it three in a row at Camden Yards on Friday night with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound. The Nats lost two of three against the O's in their first series of the year.
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg helped the Nationals snap a four game losing streak on Wednesday. On Thursday, pitcher Gio Gonzalez attempts to give the Nationals a winning streak again as he starts against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Although Gonzalez lost in his start against the New York Yankees on June 15, he pitched a solid six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and walked two batters, but still struck out eight. He hopes to get back on track after going 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in his last three starts.
The Rays will send pitcher Matt Moore to the hill on Thursday, he currentily has a record of 4-5 with a 4.16 ERA. In his last start on June 15, Moore dominated the Miami Marlins, going seven shut out innings with eight strike outs and three walks allowed.
The game is scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch with television coverage on MASN. Radio coverage of the game will be provided by 106.7 The Fan FM, 1500 WFED AM and 1580 WHFS AM.
The Washington Nationals were taking on the Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of a three-game series, trying to rebound from the opening series loss. The Nats were able to jump start their offense in the first inning, knocking around Chris Archer in his major league debut in the first inning, picking up three runs.
The Rays answered in the second inning however as Jose Molina took Stephen Strasburg deep to cut into the Nats lead while Hideki Matsui knocked in a run in the very next inning to pull within a run of Washingon. Strasburg settled in after giving up two runs and locked down the Rays offense, striking out 10 batters in seven innings of work. The Nationals bullpen were able to hold off the Rays as the Nats held on to win 3-2 and even the series.
The day after Chien-Ming Wang failed to get out of the fourth inning in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced that the Taiwanese sinkerballer would be taken out of the rotation and replaced by Ross Detwiler.
Wang has made four starts this season for Washington, giving up 13 runs in 17.2 innings for an ERA of 6.62 and a won-loss record of 1-3. Opposing batters recorded a .478 on-base percentage and a 1.047 OPS against Wang.
Detwiler has already started nine games this season, recording a record of 3-3 and an ERA of 3.88 over 48.2 innings. Opponents recorded a .310 on-base percentage and a .699 OPS against Detwiler in those nine starts.
The Washington Nationals will try to stop their four-game losing streak Wednesday evening against the Tampa Devil Rays, and manager Davey Johnson has made some changes to the lineup that will try to support Stephen Strasburg.
Steve Lombardozzi is back in the leadoff spot after sitting out Tuesday's game against left-handed Tampa Bay starter David Price. Elsewhere in the lineup, Adam LaRoche is back in the cleanup spot, bumping Michael Morse down to No. 5 in the order, and Danny Espinosa is dropped to the seventh spot in the order after taking Lombardozzi's leadoff spot. The full lineup is below.
The Washington Nationals turn to pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg (8-1, 2.45 ERA) on Wednesday night in the hopes that he can help revive the team's ability to win games. The last time the Nationals won was also the last time Strasburg was on the mound.
The Tampa Bay Rays won the series opener by chasing Chien Ming-Wang early. They may find the going tougher against the young right-hander who has not allowed more than two earned runs in his last three starts. The Nationals will be working against Chris Archer, making his first major league appearance.
Despite losing their last four games, Washington still leads the Mets by three games in the National League East.
Game Date: Wednesday, June 20
First Pitch Time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
TV Coverage: MASN2, Sun Sports
The Washington Nationals dropped their fourth straight game on Tuesday night, losing 5-4 in their series opener with the Tampa Bay Rays. Chien-Ming Wang was not sharp again, giving up five runs in his shortest appearance in a Nats uniform. Wang issued three walks and allowed seven hits in just 3.1 innings of work. Ross Detwiler came on and looked very solid, likely forcing the Nats to make a change in the rotation and putting him back in Wang's spot.
The bright spot for Washington came from the bat of Michael Morse, who ripped a two-run homer to right center in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Rays' lead to one. It was his first long ball of the season and will hopefully get the slugger going as the Nationals hit the mid-point of the season. In addition to Morse, Ian Desmond hit his career-high 11th homer of the season.
While the game would stand at 5-4 after the Morse homer, the events of the evening were just picking up. Former Nationals and current Tampa reliever Joel Peralta was ejected for having a foreign substance on his glove. Davey Johnson alluded to pine tar in his postgame press conference, and said it was no secret that Peralta's former ties to the organization provided some intel when he came out of the bullpen for Joe Maddon in the bottom of the eighth.
With tension now established between these two unfamiliar opponents, Stephen Strasburg will take the mound in Game 2 and try to be the streak-stopper.
There was a bit of controversy in the the opening game of the Rays and Nationals interleague series on Tuesday night. Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta was ejected from the game as he was warming up at the start of the bottom half of the eighth inning. Peralta was ejected for having a foreign substance on his glove. Umpire Tim Tschida sent him to showers, instantly igniting speculation.
Peralta was formerly with the Nationals organization, playing for Triple-A Syracuse as recently as two years ago. Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post points out the connection:
In 2010, Joel Peralta pitched for Class AAA Syracuse, managed by current Nats first base coach Trent Jewett. Could he have known?— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) June 20, 2012
In a bit of gamesmanship to start the top of the ninth, Rays' manager Joe Maddon had the umpires check the cap of Nationals' reliever Ryan Mattheus.
Video of the ejection is below.
After a sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees, the Washington Nationals struggles continued on Tuesday night early on in the opening game of their series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang had his shortest outing in a Nats uniform, going just 3.1 innings and giving up seven hits and three walks. Ross Detwiler replaced Wang in the fourth inning with Washington trailing 5-2. Davey Johnson's routinely gone to Detwiler to spell Wang, and tonight was the earliest he had to call on him. The former first round pick struck out the first two batters he faced to end the fourth inning.
The Rays put a four-spot up on the board in the fourth when they chased Wang. Carlos Pena started the damage with a two-run shot to deep centerfield to put Tampa back in front, 3-2. Elliot Johnson then capped the scoring with a triple that scored Ben Zobrist and Jose Lobaton. The homer and triple were exacerbated by the two walks that preceded them, and were Wang's undoing in the big fourth-inning rally.
On offense for the Nats, Ian Desmond ripped his 11th homer of the season to put Washington ahead 2-1 in the second inning. The leadoff homer set a career-high for Desmond with more than half the season remaining.
The Washington Nationals are swapping their batting order around to see if they can spark some offense against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. Leading off for the Nationals will be second baseman Danny Espinosa. After centerfielder Bryce Harper and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman bat after that, right fielder Michael Morse will bat clean up for the first time this season, followed by first baseman Adam LaRoche.
Chien-Ming Wang will take the mound for the Nationals Tuesday night.
The rest of the Nationals' lineup is as follows.
The game against the Rays is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch with television coverage on MASN 2. Radio coverage will be provided by 106.7 The Fan FM, 1500 WFED AM and 1580 WHFS AM.
The Nationals will look to bounce back from a sweep to the Yankees when they play another AL East foe, the Tampa Bay Rays.