Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Osceola County Stadium hosts the Nationals this afternoon.
Several of those guys actually made the trip today to Kissimmee to face the Astros, including Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. They'll be going up against Houston No. 2 starter Bud Norris. (FYI: Livan Hernandez is expected to open the season as the Astros' No. 3 man.)
Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound for the Nationals on the heels of a strong, four-scoreless-inning start against the Marlins. Johnson will hope to get five innings out of the young right-hander today, at which point he'll turn the game over to relievers Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard and Brad Lidge.
Plenty of updates to come live from the ballpark...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. HOUSTON ASTROS
Where: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: Astros radio via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind 8 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS1:05 p.m. -- Fastball from Bud Norris to Ian Desmond for strike one, and we're underway on an 80-degree afternoon in Kissimmee.
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chad Tracy
LF Jason Michaels
CF Roger Bernadina
C Jesus Flores
P Jordan Zimmermann
LF Brian Bixler
SS Jed Lowrie
RF Travis Buck
1B Carlos Lee
CF Brian Bogusevic
3B Chris Johnson
C Chris Snyder
2B Jose Altuve
P Bud Norris
1:14 p.m. -- Not much doin' in the top of the first. Desmond fouled off several pitches but struck out on a 3-2 fastball. Danny Espinosa did draw a walk, but Ryan Zimmerman grounded out weakly to shortstop and Jayson Werth lofted a lazy fly ball to right to end the inning.
1:21 p.m. -- Jed Lowrie tagged Jordan Zimmermann for a double off the wall in right-center, but that's all the right-hander allowed in the bottom of the first. He got old pal Brian Bixler to foul out to first (denying us the chance to see Bixler motor down the first-base line), got Travis Buck to ground out to first and got Carlos Lee to ground out to third. Scoreless after one.
1:27 p.m. -- The Nats kept Lowrie pretty busy in the top of the second. Chad Tracy: pop-out to short. Jason Michaels: groundout to short. Roger Bernadina: groundout to short.
1:41 p.m. -- The Astros get on the board in the bottom of the second without benefit of a hit. Zimmermann walked Brian Bogusevic to lead the inning off, then let him steal second. A fly ball to the warning track in center advanced Bogusevic to third, then Chris Snyder's sac fly brought him home. Houston leads 1-0 after two.
1:48 p.m. -- Uh-oh, Bernadina is walking off the field right now with assistant trainer Mike McGowan. Brett Carroll has taken over in center field. Stay tuned...
2:01 p.m. -- Uh-oh, Part 2: Four innings in the books, and the Nats don't have a hit yet. Commence panic mode! Actually, they haven't looked particularly good against Norris so far. Four strikeouts, only two balls out of the infield. Astros lead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
2:05 p.m. -- I just remembered Norris was replaced in the fourth by Lucas Harrell. Even more reason to panic!
2:10 p.m. -- Three singles by the Astros off Zimmermann produce another run in the fourth. Zimmermann has now allowed two runs and five hits. Wouldn't say they're crushing him, just making solid contact a few times. Nats trail 2-0 after four.
2:16 p.m. -- Make it five no-hit innings for the Astros staff against the Nationals lineup. Two more groundballs and a strikeout in the fifth.
2:18 p.m. -- Yikes, Brian Bixler just homered off Zimmermann. I mean, seriously. Brian Bixler. Hasn't exactly been a good day for the Nationals, huh? They trail 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth.
2:25 p.m. -- Zimmermann gives up another run before the fifth inning ends, serving up a double and an RBI single. That should end his afternoon, and it wasn't a particularly good one. His final line: 5 ip, 8 h, 4 er, 1 bb, 3 k. It's 4-0 as we go to the sixth.
2:30 p.m. -- Six innings without a hit now for the Nationals. Flores grounded out. Minor-leaguer Kevin Keyes and Desmond each flied out to right. Tyler Clippard now in for the bottom of the sixth, still 4-0 Astros.
2:33 p.m. -- And Chris Johnson destroys Clippard's very first pitch for a solo homer to left. Make it 5-0.
2:42 p.m. -- Brian Bixler's slugging percentage today: 1.250. The Nationals' team slugging percentage so far today: .000.
2:48 p.m. -- Hey, Jayson Werth breaks up the no-hitter with a 14-hop single up the middle with two outs in the top of the seventh. Just crushed that pitch. Oh well, no history here today in Kissimmee.
3:03 p.m. -- And now the scoreless streak is over as well. Jason Michaels tattoos a pitch from left-hander Fernando Abad over the left-field fence for his first homer of the spring. It's 5-1 Astros in the eighth.
3:13 p.m. -- A nice, 1-2-3 eighth for Craig Stammen, who has pitched quite well this spring but is probably going to be the victim of the numbers game. Also, Steve Lombardozzi is getting some action in left field for the second time in three days. Look for more of that over the next 10 days.
3:20 p.m. -- It's over. Final score: Astros 5, Nats 1. They've now gone 0-9-1 over their last 10 games. But hey, it's spring training!