Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
It's the rubber game of the series against the Reds tonight at Nationals Park.
So Davey will stick with this lineup for at least another day, hoping it fares better tonight against Bronson Arroyo, the veteran right-hander who has struggled this season but has posted a 3.60 ERA over his last three starts.
Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, gets the ball for what is going to be one of his final starts of the season. If you're keeping track of such things, Zimmermann's innings count currently stands at 145, so he's got roughly 15 more to go before he's shut down.
I'm back at Nationals Park tonight, so plenty of updates to come, including highlights from Matt Purke's introductory press conference...
REDS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 187
Weather: Chance of storms, 85 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS6:20 p.m. -- Your weather update: The skies are turning ominously dark here, and there's been lightning flashes in the distance. I was just down on the field for a live shot on CSN and overheard the grounds crew talking about 50 mph winds approaching from the west. Needless to say, this could get nasty for a little while. So I doubt this game starts on time. That said, this appears to just be one large cell passing through town, and it's relatively clear behind it. So I don't foresee a postponement in our future.
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
RF Jayson Werth
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Jonny Gomes
C Jesus Flores
P Jordan Zimmermann
2B Brandon Phillips
LF Dave Sappelt
1B Joey Votto
RF Jay Bruce
3B Miguel Cairo
CF Drew Stubbs
C Ryan Hanigan
SS Paul Janish
P Bronson Arroyo
6:27 p.m. -- Meanwhile, folks in Minnesota are reporting the Twins have placed Denard Span on the DL with migraine symptoms. This is one of several reasons why Mike Rizzo was hesitant to make that trade for Drew Storen on July 31. Span is still recovering from a concussion, and as we've seen in these cases, you just never know what the long-term effects will be.
6:55 p.m. -- We've got some movement, coaches and pitchers heading towards the bullpens. The tarp hasn't been removed yet, but a Nationals official just said they're expecting to begin this game at 7:30 p.m.
7:37 p.m. -- We are underway after an official delay of 32 minutes.
7:44 p.m. -- Jordan Zimmermann starts the game off by walking Brandon Phillips, but he navigates his way around that with no problem, getting a flyball and two grounders to the right side of the infield to end the top of the first on 16 pitches.
7:51 p.m. -- Ian Desmond entered the day with a .277 on-base percentage. So of course he drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first. Then he got thrown out trying to steal second. Can't really fault Ian for that. The Reds pitched out, giving catcher Ryan Hanigan a perfect setup to gun him down. Scoreless as we go to the second.
8:12 p.m. -- Still scoreless through two. Zimmermann did allow a two-out double to Hanigan in the top of the inning, but that came with nobody on base and right after he struck out Drew Stubbs looking at a fantastic slider. In the bottom of the inning, Danny Espinosa laced his own two-out single, but was stranded when Jonny Gomes was caught looking at a 3-2 fastball on the outside corner (believing it was ball four).
8:40 p.m. -- Just when it looked like Zimmermann might be in trouble in the fourth, he caught a nice break. With runners on the corners and one out, he deflected Paul Janish's comebacker right to Desmond, who easily stepped on second and then fired to first for the inning-ending double play. Nicely done there. We're still scoreless in the middle of the fourth.
9:01 p.m. -- I was just remarking in the press box that something interesting needs to happen in this ballgame. And something did. Great catch by Jonny Gomes, slamming into the left-field wall to rob ex-teammate Joey Votto of extra bases. The game remains scoreless in the middle of the fifth. Neither pitcher is dominating, but each guy has been effective.
9:07 p.m. -- Now THAT was interesting. And a positive development for the Nats. Jesus Flores clubs a 1-2 pitch from Arroyo into the left-field bullpen for his first home run since May 8, 2009 in Arizona. That was one night before he injured his shoulder. The Nats take a 1-0 lead in the fifth.
9:12 p.m. -- He hasn't been getting a whole lot of playing time, but Flores is starting to get into a groove at the plate. He's now 4 for his last 6, with three extra-base hits. Can't tell you how nice it is to see him finally rewarded for all that time he spent trying to work his way back up here.
9:20 p.m. -- That'll be it for Zimmermann, who is pulled after throwing 102 pitches over 5 2/3 innings. Runners on the corners with two outs for Janish, with Ryan Mattheus now in from the bullpen. Zimmermann, meanwhile, is up to 150 2/3 innings for the season.
9:25 p.m. -- Big strikeout of Janish by Mattheus, who preserves the shutout through six. The Nats still lead 1-0, and Zimmermann can only win this game, not lose it.
9:38 p.m. -- Not so good news from Harrisburg, where Geoff Morrow of the Patriot-News reports Bryce Harper injured his right leg running from first to third base. Manager Tony Beasley had to help him off the field.
9:40 p.m. -- And Gomes does it again against his old team. Big, two-out, two-run single to left, putting the Nats up 3-0 after six. I'll tell you what: This guy has been exactly what the Nats wanted him to be when they got him a few weeks ago. Solid ballplayer.
9:44 p.m. -- More not-so-good news: Mattheus has been taken out of the game before throwing a pitch in the seventh inning, escorted by trainer Lee Kuntz. Really not sure what happened. Henry Rodriguez is suddenly in the game trying to protect a 3-run lead.
9:53 p.m. -- And Rodriguez promptly gives up a run on a Desmond error, a wild pitch, a passed ball and a groundout to first in which he forgot to cover the base. Henry now has 12 wild pitches for the season. Which leads the National League. Even though he's only thrown 45 1/3 innings. Yikes. 3-1 as we reach the seventh-inning stretch.
10:13 p.m. -- Medical update on Ryan Mattheus: He left tonight's game with right shoulder tightness. His status is day-to-day.
10:21 p.m. -- A 1-2-3- eighth inning for Tyler Clippard, including two strikeouts. Still 3-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth as Drew Storen begins to loosen up.
10:46 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Nats win 3-1. Jordan Zimmermann improves to 8-10. Drew Storen gets his 33rd save, with a big assist from Brian Bixler (who made a diving catch in left field). Jesus Flores gets his first home run in a long, long time.