By Michaela Johnson
Nationals skipper Dusty Baker announced Friday that Jeremy Guthrie would start the second game of the series against the Phillies Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
In his first start as a National, Guthrie threw ⅔ innings, allowing six hits and four walks for a total of 10 earned runs. The bullpen also had difficulty getting out of the inning. Enny Romero entered the game, giving up three hits and two more earned runs. The Nats have never before given up 12 runs in a single inning.
The veteran right hander had not appeared in a major league game since 2015 with the Kansas City Royals. Guthrie started 24 games for the Royals and ended the season with a 5.95 ERA.
In 2016 Guthrie pitched for the Miami Marlins and San Diego Padres triple-A teams, ending the season 7-9 with a 6.57 ERA. He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals this spring and threw 18 ⅔ innings in spring training, posting a 2.41 ERA with 15 strikeouts.
Guthrie was given the start because Joe Ross was unavailable after being optioned triple-A Syracuse on April 2, where he is required to stay for 10 days.
The Nats will not need a fifth starter again until April 22, giving the team a few weeks to try to find a solution for their early season pitching challenges.
MORE NATIONALS: RIZZO DOESN'T EXPECT AN APOLOGY FROM HARPER ON 2016 SEASON
If you've understandably been caught up with the Capitals and Wizards in their respective playoff series, you might not be aware of just how hot Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is right now. Fresh off a three-game sweep of the rival Mets in New York, Harper was named National League Player of the Week.
For the whole week, Harper hit .550 (11-for-20) with four doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and 10 runs scored.
He is now leading all of baseball in batting average (.400), he's tied for second in homers (7), and he's alone in second in RBI (20). He's also amassed a blistering 1.340 OPS through the team's first 18 games.
Harper's biggest game of the past week came in Atlanta when he went yard twice, with his second homer being a grand slam. He finished the game 4-for-4 with two homers, one double, five RBI, one walk and four runs scored.
With Harper's injuries from last season behind him (even though he won't completely admit to being hurt), the Nationals' right fielder is back to, or even better than, his 2015 form that ended with his first career MVP award. During that season Harper took home player of the week honors three times.
The Nationals as a team have the best record in baseball at 13-5, and already have a three-game lead in the NL East.
Related: MLB Power Rankings
DENVER (AP) -- Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run homer in the seventh, Colorado's lights-out bullpen threw three-plus scoreless innings and the Colorado Rockies beat Washington 8-4 on Monday night, ending the Nationals' seven-game winning streak.
Trailing 4-3, Blackmon lined a hanging slider from lefty Enny Romero (1-1) into the right-field stands. It was Blackmon's sixth homer of the season and followed a pinch-hit double from Pat Valaika -- his first hit of the season.
The Rockies' relievers came through once again after starter Tyler Anderson wore down. Carlos Estevez (2-0) got four outs and Adam Ottavino threw an effective eighth. Greg Holland pitched the ninth in a non-save situation after the Rockies added three insurance runs in the eighth. He got pinch-hitter Bryce Harper to ground out to end the game.
The Rockies' bullpen is now 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA, which is tops in the NL.
MORE NATIONALS: BRYCE HARPER PICKS UP HIS FIRST PIECE OF HARDWARE ON THE SEASON