Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After a rainy road trip, the Nats are back home tonight to face the Mets.
Jordan Zimmermann gets the start for the Nats, trying to bounce back himself from his worst start of the season (five runs, eight hits allowed in St. Louis). Zimmermann has already beaten the Mets once this year.
With Ian Desmond officially off the roster while on paternity leave, Alex Cora will be starting at shortstop. Roger Bernadina has been recalled to temporarily take Desmond's roster spot; the outfielder will be available off the bench tonight.
Check back for updates throughout, and catch me on CSN's "SportsNet Central" live from the ballpark at 6 p.m. ...
METS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Chance of storms, 75 degrees, Wind 13 mph out to LF
STARTING LINEUPS6:25 p.m. -- Couple of pregame items to pass along: 1) Jayson Werth did not take BP this afternoon. He fouled a ball off his foot last night and was still feeling the effects of it today. Though he's still listed in the lineup for now, the Nats are considering scratching him. We should know for sure within a few minutes. 2) Ryan Zimmerman did some light baseball activities this afternoon -- played catch from about 60 feet, took some lightly thrown grounders and jogged about 90 feet. The way Jim Riggleman described it, it sounds like it's still going to be at least a week until Zim is activated off the DL, maybe longer. I'll have a full post on that soon. 3) Grayson Wesley Desmond was born at 3:56 p.m. today in Sarasota, Fla. He weighs 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and along with his mother, Chelsey, is doing very well. Ian Desmond will miss tomorrow's game but could return Thursday.
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
LF Michael Morse
3B Jerry Hairston
SS Alex Cora
P Jordan Zimmermann
SS Jose Reyes
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Jason Bay
1B Ike Davis
C Josh Thole
CF Jason Pridie
P Chris Young
7:03 p.m. -- The Nats have taken the field, and Jayson Werth is in his customary spot in right field. Werth was able to take some swings in the underground batting cage here, and team officials deemed his sore foot good to go. Breathe easy, everyone.
7:13 p.m. -- Fantastic play by Rick Ankiel to snag Carlos Beltran's drive to the wall in center field. Saved a run and ended the first inning with the Mets still scoreless. Jordan Zimmermann looked real good in striking out David Wright looking at a 1-2 breaking ball. Wright couldn't pull the trigger.
7:18 p.m. -- Three infield popups from the Nats in the bottom of the first against Chris Young, who is known to record plenty of outs in the air. Scoreless after one.
7:27 p.m. -- The Mets pounced on Zimmermann in the second, scoring two runs in the process. Jason Bay beat out an infield single, then took third when Ike Davis dropped a double just inside the left-field foul line. With the infield back, the Nats conceded a run on Josh Thole's grounder to short. Then Terry Collins took a page right out of Jim Riggleman's "Smartball" book: Perfect squeeze bunt by Young to score Davis and put New York up 2-0.
7:32 p.m. -- MLB released this year's All-Star ballot today, and you may have noticed Wilson Ramos isn't on it. Ivan Rodriguez is listed as the Nats' starting catcher, which I suppose was true on Opening Day. So if you all want to get Ramos to Phoenix in mid-July, you better start your write-in campaign now. Helping your cause, Wilson just clubbed his first homer of the season, into the left-field bullpen. He's now hitting .357, and the Nats now trail 2-1 in the second.
7:42 p.m. -- The Mets are teeing off on Zimmermann so far. Three innings in, he's already allowed three runs on six hits. Included in that are three doubles (including Beltran's RBI double off the right-field wall just now) and some hard-hit outs (including Beltran's ball to center that Ankiel corralled). Mets lead 3-1 and Zimmermann needs to figure this out soon.
7:50 p.m. -- Big-time squandered opportunity from the Nats in the bottom of the third after Alex Cora's leadoff double. He took third on Zimmermann's sac bunt, but was stranded there after Espinosa struck out swinging and Ankiel struck out looking.
7:59 p.m. -- A quick programming tease for you: Chase Hughes and I will have another live edition of Beltway Baseball tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. on CSNwashington.com (also live-streamed here on NatsInsider.com). This week, we're going to answer questions from you readers. Go to the thread I just posted on the homepage to submit your question, and then watch tomorrow afternoon to see if we selected it.
8:03 p.m. -- Werth's foot really must be fine cause he just crushed his fourth homer of the season, taking a high 3-2 fastball from Young well into the left-field stands. And moments later, Ramos crushed his second homer of the night, also to left field. Who's starting up the All-Star write-in campaign? Tie game here now, 3-3 in the fourth.
8:19 p.m. -- Zimmermann has settled into a nice groove. Since allowing the RBI double to Beltran in the third, he's retired seven of eight Mets. And the only guy to reach (Jose Reyes) was picked off first. Reyes and Collins argued, but to no avail. Pretty good move from Zimmermann there. Still 3-3 as we go to the bottom of the fifth.
8:31 p.m. -- Second and third, two outs and Werth stepping to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Collins isn't going to take any chances here. He gives Young the heave-ho and signals for Ryota Igarashi from the bullpen to face the big guy in a big spot.
8:35 p.m. -- And Igarashi gets Werth swinging at a 1-2 fastball. Fifth inning over. Game still tied.
8:42 p.m. -- He's only at 73 pitches, but Jordan Zimmemann is done with one out in the sixth inning. He allowed back-to-back singles, and now with lefties Josh Thole and Jason Pridie coming up, Jim Riggleman will go with Doug Slaten. Not exactly showing a lot of confidence in the young right-hander, though Zimmermann wasn't exactly in top form tonight either.
8:47 p.m. -- Well, that didn't work. Thole lined a double to left, just past a lunging Morse, bringing home two runs. The Mets take a 5-3 lead as Slaten allows two inherited runners to score.
8:53 p.m. -- This is why relievers' stats can be really misleading. Slaten has a 0.00 ERA this season. Yet he's allowed eight of 19 inherited runners to score. Hasn't done his job particularly well, even though the numbers might suggest otherwise.
9:09 p.m. -- Nice job by Todd Coffey, who got a huge ovation when he sprinted in from the bullpen to the strains of the Ultimate Warrior's Theme, then retired the side in the seventh, striking out Wright and Beltran in the process. Still 5-3 at the stretch, Nats running out of time.
9:17 p.m. -- So trailing by two runs in the seventh, the Nats just did the following: bunt single, sac bunt, foul-pop, strikeout on three pitches. Not a particularly inspiring attempt at a rally there. And now they're down to their final six outs.
9:32 p.m. -- Ramos singles home Ankiel with two outs in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-4. Third RBI of the night for the rookie catcher. Send Wilson to Phoenix!
9:46 p.m. -- Really poor job by Sean Burnett to hold the deficit to one run. He came in to face old friend Willie Harris (who got some nice applause when he stepped to the plate) and plunked him. Then he plunked Daniel Murphy, loading the bases for David Wright. He did get a groundball from Wright, but that still allowed a run to score. So now the Nats are trailing 6-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth against Francisco Rodriguez. Hairston, Cora and Roger Bernadina are due up for D.C.
9:59 p.m. -- And it's over. Nats lose 6-4. They've now dropped five of their last six and have fallen to two games under .500 (10-12). Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, has fallen to 1-4.