With two of the big bats in their lineup ailing, the Washington
Nationals need Jayson Werth to step up.
The struggling slugger proved to be up to the task in the series
opener against the Chicago Cubs.
Werth looks to build on one of his most productive games of the
season and help the banged-up Nationals take the first two in their
series with the Cubs on Tuesday night.
In Monday’s 5-4 victory, Werth recorded his first two-RBI game
since May 31 and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th
on a wild pitch by Carlos Marmol. Werth was in position to score
after stealing third earlier in the at-bat.
“There was no sign for that,” manager Davey Johnson said. “It
was just his read – and boom – he’s over there. That’s a winning
Werth played despite leaving Sunday’s 10-2 loss to Pittsburgh
after getting hit by a pitch on his left wrist. Johnson said he
would have liked to rest him, but Washington (43-43) started
without third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (sore abdomen) and first
baseman Michael Morse (bruised forearm).
Zimmerman, who had surgery on his abdomen in April, pinch hit in
the seventh inning but was immediately removed after drawing a
Morse, who has a chance to make the All-Star game as part of
Final Vote, has sat out the last two games after being hit on the
right forearm Saturday, and could miss a few more.
These injuries open the door for Werth, batting .160 in his last
28 contests, to lead the offense.
The Nationals are 16-6 when Werth drives in a run and 27-37 when
he doesn’t. They have won all five of his multi-RBI games.
“I’d like to get going a little bit offensively, but as long as
we’re winning and I’m helping the team win, doing the little
things, I’m satisfied with it,” Werth said.
Washington won for the third time in eight games under
The Cubs (35-51), losers of 11 of 17, had a seven-game winning
streak at Nationals Park snapped in the opener of a seven-game
Aramis Ramirez had two of Chicago’s 10 hits, and is batting .409
with seven homers, 11 RBIs and 14 runs in his last 12 games.
After Casey Coleman made a spot start for the ailing Ryan
Dempster (illness and sore back) in the opener, the Cubs will go
with another minor leaguer on Tuesday with Ramon Ortiz scheduled to
make his season debut in place of Carlos Zambrano (back).
Ortiz made his major league debut in 1999 but has only appeared
in 16 games since 2008 – all with the Los Angeles Dodgers last
season. The Cubs signed the 38-year-old right-hander in April, and
he has gone 6-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 16 starts for Triple-A Iowa.
Ortiz, who lost a career-worst 16 games for the Nationals in
2006, is 1-1 with a 4.84 ERA in five games against the Washington
“We’ll take a look at his Tuesday start and see where we go from
there,” manager Mike Quade told the Cubs’ official website.
The Nationals are also slated to start a minor leaguer.
Because of Saturday’s doubleheader, Ross Detwiler is expected to
be called up from Triple-A Syracuse. The left-hander was 6-6 with a
4.53 ERA in 16 starts for the Chiefs.
Detwiler, 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA in eight games – five starts –
last year, has appeared in 24 games over three seasons with the
Nationals and has never faced the Cubs.