Nationals 7, Marlins 4
Game in a nutshell: For the second time in two weeks, the Nationals summoned John Lannan from Syracuse to start one half of a doubleheader. And for the second time in two weeks, the left-hander delivered. He wasn't quite as sharp as his July 23 outing against the Braves, but Lannan tossed six-plus innings to earn the quality start and improve to 2-0 for the season. He was bolstered by an early offensive explosion that featured another home run from Adam LaRoche, a two-run single from Mark DeRosa and a whole lotta production from the heart of the lineup. Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and LaRoche combined to go 6-for-9 with two doubles, a homer and five walks. And though it took some finagling of the bullpen late to seal this one, the Nationals emerged with a relatively easy win over a self-imploding Marlins club in the first game of tonight's twinbill.
Hitting highlight: Everything's coming up LaRoche! After a 3-hit, 2-RBI performance Thursday night, the veteran first baseman brought out the big stick again for this one. He picked up three more hits, including his 21st homer of the season, and added three more RBI to raise his team-leading total to 67. Combine the two games, and LaRoche drove in a run four times in a span of six at-bats. Not bad. Also not bad: LaRoche's numbers over a longer stretch. In 14 games since July 20, he's hitting .396 with five homers and 12 RBI.
Pitching highlight: The Nationals really couldn't have asked for much more than they've gotten from Lannan in these two fill-in starts. He reached the seventh inning both times, held the opposition to three runs or less both times, allowed a total of nine hits in 13 innings and kept his pitch count relatively low. Lannan did battle some command issues in this game, issuing five walks (three in the first two innings). But he retired 13 of 14 batters at one point and effectively pitched with a big lead, going right after the Marlins. If these two outings don't convince the Nats he's capable of taking over Stephen Strasburg's rotation spot in September, nothing will.
Key stat: The Marlins pitching staff has issued 13 bases-loaded walks this season, more than any other team in the majors, including two today.
Up next: They're already warming up for Game 2! Gio Gonzalez faces Josh Johnson in a game that will begin in approximately 25 minutes.
Nationals (60-42) vs. Giants (59-43) at AT&T Park
The Nationals hung on two beat the Giants in the opener on Thursday night despite a finish that was anything but smooth. On Friday, they will look to win their third straight game overall with Max Scherzer (10-6, 2.92) on the mound.
Scherzer has been brilliant as of late with just four earned runs allowed across his last five starts (34.1 IP). He struck out 10 in seven innings against the Padres his last time out.
Behind Scherzer will be a new-look lineup with Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa all getting the day off. Ben Revere is in center, Clint Robinson is at first base and Wilmer Difo is in at shortstop.
They will face Jeff Samardzija (9-6, 4.22), who has allowed at least four earned runs in five of his last six starts and in seven of his last 10.
First pitch: 10:15 p.m.
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats -Max Scherzer vs. Giants - Jeff Samardzija
CF Ben Revere
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
C Wilson Ramos
LF Jayson Werth
1B Clint Robinson
3B Anthony Rendon
SS Wilmer Difo
RHP Max Scherzer
CF Denard Span
LF Angel Pagan
2B Joe Panik
SS Brandon Crawford
1B Brandon Belt
3B Connor Gillaspie
RF Gregor Blanco
C Trevor Brown
RHP Jeff Samardzija
The Nationals will be without Jose Lobaton for at least a few days, as they placed the backup catcher on the disabled list Friday retroactive to July 20. Lobaton is dealing with left elbow tendinitis.
Taking his place on the roster will be catcher Pedro Severino, who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. This is Severino's second stint with the Nats this season.
Lobaton, 31, takes a break after holding a .194 average with one homer and three RBI through 22 games. He last played on July 19 against the Dodgers and has only appeared in four games this month.
Severino, 23, only made one appearance with the Nats when he replaced Wilson Ramos, who went on the bereavement list in late April. Severino also played two games with the Nationals last season.
Known more for his defensive abilities, Severino has a .259 average with two homers and 17 RBI in 73 games at Triple-A this season.
MASNsports.com first reported Severino's call-up.
[RELATED: Papelbon's job as Nats closer now a real question]
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The Nationals are very interested in acquiring a closer before the trade deadline on Monday.
The hang up has been — as it was with a potential deal for Aroldis Chapman — with the number of pieces they would have to give up in the process.
While keeping all of their top prospects would be ideal, a source close to the MLB's Jon Morosi believes the Nationals would be willing to trade 22-year-old RHP Lucas Giolito to the Yankees for 31-year-old closer Andrew Miller.
RELATED: WHO ARE THE NATS' TOP TRADE DEADLINE TARGETS?
The Yankees had previously insisted that they would be keeping Miller, but with the team looking to stockpile young talent for the future, a one-for-one trade would do them well. But having just dealt Chapman, the Yankees may want more in return, which the Nationals have balked at in recent talks.
But Miller would be an upgrade from the Nationals' current situation.
Jonathan Papelbon has been shaky and inconsistent as of late, and while Shawn Kelley has been capable of spot closing duties, it is clear that the team is deficient in that department. Miller only has nine saves this season, but has played second fiddle to Chapman and his blistering pitch speed. Miller has a 1.39 ERA and has struck out 77 batters this season.
Miller is a good closer, but is he worth giving up a bona fide top prospect in Lucas Giolito?
According to fellow MLB Network reporter Jon Heyman, the Yankees reportedly think it's the other way around.
One thing is for sure, the answer will become clear by the end of the weekend.
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