Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals look to make it three in a row tonight against the D'backs.
As for the actual game tonight, Jordan Zimmermann makes his penultimate start of the season, his innings count sitting at 150 2/3 at the moment. He'll be opposed by right-hander Ian Kennedy, a 15-game winner and breakout hurler for Arizona this season.
Plenty of updates to come, and check the homepage later for highlights from the press conference to introduce draft picks Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin...
DIAMONDBACKS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Mostly sunny, 78 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to LF
STARTING LINEUPS7:26 p.m. -- We are underway, officially 21 minutes late, with a strike from Jordan Zimmermann to Wilie Bloomquist. There's barely anyone here in the stands, though there's still a good line of people walking into the park from Half Street.
SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Michael Morse
RF Jayson Werth
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Laynce Nix
C Wilson Ramos
P Jordan Zimmermann
SS Willie Bloomquist
LF Gerardo Parra
RF Justin Upton
C Miguel Montero
2B Ryan Roberts
1B Lyle Overbay
CF Chris Young
3B Sean Burroughs
P Ian Kennedy
7:30 p.m. -- Solid top of the first for Zimmermann. He retired the side on 13 pitches, 10 of them strikes. Struck out Gerardo Parra swinging at a high 0-2 fastball.
7:48 p.m. -- Pretty efficient stuff so far from Zimmermann, who has navigated two innings on only 31 pitches (21 strikes). He did issue a two-out walk to Lyle Overbay, but bounced back to get Chris Young to pop out and end the inning. The Nats got a leadoff single from Ian Desmond in the bottom of the first but couldn't advance him.
8:04 p.m. -- Three innings in the books, and nary a hit allowed yet by Zimmermann. He retired the side again in the third, recording his third strikeout. Looks to be pretty sharp so far tonight, having thrown 30 of 44 pitches for strikes.
8:13 p.m. -- So much for history being made tonight, at least the no-hitter kind. Gerardo Parra leads off the fourth with a groundball single up the middle and past Ian Desmond.
8:16 p.m. -- Hmm, remember that beanball war the last two times these teams met? Well, Zimmermann just drilled Justin Upton in the left elbow. And Upton was not happy. Slammed his bat to the ground and looked at Zimmermann, who just stared back. No fireworks yet, but stay tuned, this could get interesting before the end of the night.
8:26 p.m. -- And now Kennedy drills Morse in the same elbow that's been bothering him for a while. Marvin Hudson issues warnings to both benches. It appears that will be the end of this.
8:45 p.m. -- We're heading to the bottom of the fifth now, and Upton has been removed from the game (presumably because he was injured on that hit-by-pitch). That could add a little more fuel to this already-smoldering fire. We shall see. Meanwhile, the game remains scoreless, as Zimmermann and Kennedy twirl dueling gems.
8:55 p.m. -- A golden opportunity squandered. Zimmermann didn't help matters by bunting into a fielder's choice, with Wilson Ramos getting gunned down at third base. Still, when Desmond singled and Ankiel drew a walk, the bases were loaded with one out for Zimmerman. What more could you ask for? Well, actually putting the ball in play would have been nice. Zim got caught looking at a nasty curveball from Kennedy, in disbelief Hudson called it a strike. Then Morse stepped to the plate and briefly tried to sell Hudson on the idea that Kennedy's inside pitch grazed his arm. Hudson had none of it, though, and replays confirmed the ball hit Morse's bat. Davey Johnson argued, to no avail. And Morse struck out on the next pitch, killing the rally. It's still scoreless through five.
9:00 p.m. -- A bunch of readers on Twitter are claiming you saw an ultra-slo-mo, zoomed-in replay that clearly showed the ball striking Morse's hand before his bat. All I can say is, whatever we were shown here in the press box only showed it hitting the bat. I'll take your word for it, though.
9:13 p.m. -- Well, you can't say the Nats haven't had their chances tonight. Unfortunately, they haven't been able to cash in on any of them. Through six innings, they're 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, capped by Ramos' 5-4-3 double play to end the sixth just now. This game remains scoreless.
9:23 p.m. -- Zimmermann had thrown 107 pitches three times this season, never more. Well, tonight, he was given a chance to throw pitch No. 108. And it wound up in the right-field bleachers, courtesy Sean Burroughs. That incredibly was Burroughs' first big-league home run since 2005. Worse, it put the D'backs up 2-0 in the seventh. And when Kennedy tagged Zimmermann's 109th pitch for a double, his night was over. Tyler Clippard is on to face the top of the lineup, with the Nats now trailing.
9:32 p.m. -- Clippard, as he always does, gets out of the jam with two strikeouts. Meanwhile, the official diagnosis on Justin Upton is a left elbow contusion.
9:42 p.m. -- Another good relief appearance for Sean Burnett, who has begun to resemble his 2009-10 form once again. We go to the bottom of the eighth, and it's still 2-0 D'backs.
9:50 p.m. -- Reliever David Hernandez sets down the heart of the Nats order (Zimmerman, Morse, Werth) in the eighth. They're down to their final three outs, still trailing 2-0 and still regretting those earlier missed opportunities.
10:10 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. The Nats lose 2-0. It's the sixth time this season Jordan Zimmermann has been charged with a loss after allowing two earned runs or fewer. That he's going to end an otherwise fine season with double-digit losses but not double-digit wins is a crying shame.