Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Tom Gorzelanny makes his season debut today at Citi Field.
Adam LaRoche has been given the day off, probably a product more of his 5-for-28 start to the season than his career .254 average against lefties. So Michael Morse gets moved in from left field to first base. Jerry Hairston starts, as expected, but he's in left field. Which means Rick Ankiel (career .234 average vs. lefties) stays in center field.
Tom Gorzelanny, makes his first start of the season and his first with the Nationals. He hasn't pitched in 15 days, throwing only a simulated game in D.C. earlier this week to stay sharp. We'll see how that translates once he faves live competition for the first time.
Updates to come...
NATIONALS at METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WHFS (1580 AM)
Weather: Mostly clear, 52 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to LF
STARTING LINEUPS5:49 p.m. -- Turns out Adam LaRoche is out of the lineup because of a recurrence of shoulder pain that cropped up earlier this week when he made a hard throw to second base. Jim Riggleman gave every indication LaRoche will be back in the lineup tomorrow, and the first baseman continues to believe he can make it through the season without a stint on the DL. Full story on CSNwashington.com.
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
C Wilson Ramos
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Jerry Hairston
P Tom Gorzelanny
SS Jose Reyes
CF Angel Pagan
3B David Wright
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Scott Hairston
1B Ike Davis
2B Chin-lung Hu
C Mike Nickeas
P Chris Capuano
6:01 p.m. -- One other pregame note: Matt Stairs and Laynce Nix will have new uniform numbers when the Nationals return home Tuesday. Stairs, who has been wearing No. 24, will switch to the No. 12 he's worn most of his career. That number had been worn all spring by Alberto Gonzalez, who was traded to San Diego at the end of camp. Nix, who has been wearing No. 20, will switch to the No. 19 that had been worn by Brian Bixler this spring.
7:11 p.m. -- We're underway, and for the first time in Nationals history, they're wearing red jerseys on the road. What does everyone think?
7:16 p.m. -- Quick top of the first for Chris Capuano. Retired the side, struck out Jayson Werth on a high fastball, got both Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman to ground out.
7:32 p.m. -- Not the way Gorzelanny wanted to start his Nats career. He walked Jose Reyes to begin the bottom of the first, got Angel Pagan to pop out and David Wright to strike out on a 1-2 changeup but then served up a homer to Carlos Beltran on a 3-2 changeup. He got out of the inning, but he's already thrown 28 pitches. Mets lead 2-0.
7:43 p.m. -- Wow, I'm not sure what was more impressive just now: Danny Espinosa launching a 3-run homer to deep left-center over the 15-foot wall, or the Mets fan beyond the fence who caught it with his bare hand. Both efforts were mighty impressive. Nats take a 3-2 lead.
7:52 p.m. -- Much better second inning from Gorzelanny. He struck out both Ike Davis and Chin-lung Hu, then got Mike Nickeas to popup to third. Needed only 15 pitches to get through the 1-2-3 frame.
8:07 p.m. -- Big chance for the Nats to add to the lead in the top of the third after Werth drew a walk and took third on Zimmerman's single to center (with Zim taking second on the throw and appearing to injure his hand sliding in headfirst). Morse then took a fastball off his left knee, writhing in pain for a few moments, loading the bases with one out. But Ramos took a 1-2 fastball at the knees for strike three (and appeared to give plate umpire Dan Bellino a nasty look after) and Ankiel popped out to short. Rally squandered. Nats still lead 3-2.
8:14 p.m. -- Gorzelanny has settled in nicely since that shaky first. Since that Beltran homer, he's retired seven straight, three via strikeout. Been much more efficient these last two innings, a nice sign.
8:36 p.m. -- Boy, if he didn't have to face Beltran, Gorzelanny would be having one heck of a night. Unfortunately, Beltran took him deep again in the fourth, sending a solo homer to left. Otherwise, Gorzelanny has been near-unhittable, striking out seven in four innings. He's actually tied for the staff lead in strikeouts already (with John Lannan and Tyler Clippard). Tie game, 3-3, as we go to the fifth.
8:38 p.m. -- And the Nats take the lead right back. Ian Desmond goes deep off Capuano, just inside the left-field foul pole for his first homer of the season. Nats up 4-3.
8:45 p.m. -- Hmm, questionable decision there by Bo Porter on Wilson Ramos' double to right-center. Porter held up Zimmerman at third, not wanting to take a chance. Whether he would have scored is debatable; a good throw would have had him. But with two outs and Ankiel up next, you wonder if that might have been the time to make the defense make a play. Ankiel, of course, grounded out on the first pitch he saw, ending the top of the fifth. Nats still lead 4-3.
8:58 p.m. -- If you were wondering how deep Gorzelanny could pitch tonight after the 15-day layoff, he's coming back out for the sixth inning. Pitch count is only 82, so you'd think he should be good for one more inning. He's pitched quite well, all things considered.
9:18 p.m. -- Well, that just got ugly. Where to begin? How about with Jerry Hairston, who completely dropped Beltran's fly ball to deep left. Hairston had to move to get to the ball, but he was there in plenty of time, just flat-out dropped it for a huge error. That put runners on second and third with nobody out. Gorzelanny tried to escape the jam and struck out Scott Hairston (Jerry's brother) but served up a two-run triple to Ike Davis that gave the Mets the lead. Enter Brian Broderick, surprisingly used in a close game. The thinking, I assume, is that Broderick is a sinker-baller and could induce a groundball with a man on third and the infield in. And Broderick did just that. Unfortunately, Daniel Murphy slipped that grounder through the left side hole to score another run. It's now 6-4 Mets as we go to the seventh.
9:35 p.m. -- Not a bad outing for Broderick, all things considered. He gave up two singles, but both were grounders that found holes. Otherwise pitched OK, certainly better than his last outing. Nats are down to their last six outs. It'll be Morse, Ramos and Ankiel to face Bobby Parnell in the eighth.
9:58 p.m. -- Is it a good thing when you go 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in one inning? Not usually. Morse and Ramos each reached against Parnell to start the eighth, but Ankiel and Espinosa each struck out, and then Francisco Rodriguez entered to face Matt Stairs and got the pinch-hitter extraordinaire to ground out to second. So the Nats still trail 6-4, and they're down to their final three outs.
10:08 p.m. -- Looks like I spoke too soon on Broderick, as well. He stayed in to start the eighth but didn't get out of the inning with even one out. Plunked two batters and allowed a single. So the Rule 5 pick has now faced 16 batters in his big-league career and allowed 10 of them to reach safely. Bases loaded, nobody out and Doug Slaten entering to try to clean up the mess.
10:20 p.m. -- Slaten almost pulled it off, thanks to an interference call on Ike Davis (who ran into Ian Desmond on a grounder to short). Slaten then got to face Francisco Rodriguez for his first career at-bat, with the bases loaded nonetheless. K-Rod put some mighty swings on the ball but never made contact. Needing one more out to escape the jam, Slaten served up a two-run double to Jose Reyes. So this one has been blown wide-open. The Mets now lead 8-4 and the Nats are down to their final three outs.
10:29 p.m. -- And this one is over. Nats lose 8-4. Gorzelanny takes a hard-luck loss. Hairston is the goat of the night. Nats went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position tonight, making them 11-for-68 for the season.