Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann faces Chris Young tonight at Nationals Park.
As this is happening, Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy are taking batting practice, the first such round for Werth since he broke his left wrist on May 6. Tracy, meanwhile, is getting close to returning from his groin surgery.
As for tonight's game, it'll be Jordan Zimmermann making his second start of the second half of the season, looking to build off a fantastic outing in Miami on Friday. Chris Young gets the nod for the Mets, who have now lost five straight to fall seven games back in the NL East.
I'm back at the park tonight, so look for plenty of updates and analysis throughout...
NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, ESPN (outside D.C. and N.Y. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Thunderstorms, 95 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Michael Morse
LF Tyler Moore
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jesus Flores
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
SS Ruben Tejada
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
RF Lucas Duda
LF Jason Bay
CF Andres Torres
C Josh Thole
RHP Chris Young
HP Mark Carlson
1B Chris Conroy
2B Tim Timmons
3B Angel Hernandez
7:09 p.m. -- And we're underway on time after a storm passed through during batting practice. The good news is the temperature has cooled considerably -- it's a very nice 82 degrees as Jordan Zimmermann starts this game.
7:15 p.m. -- A solid top of the first for Zimmermann, who did allow a two-out double to David Wright (though Michael Morse's plodding approach to field the ball didn't help) but otherwise sparkled. He struck out Ike Davis to end the inning and bring his teammates to the plate against Chris Young.
7:23 p.m. -- That looked awfully familiar. Ryan Zimmerman roped a two-out double but was stranded there after Adam LaRoche grounded out to first. Scoreless through one.
7:42 p.m. -- Two more hits for the Nats in the bottom of the second, yet they still only sent three batters to the plate. Michael Morse led off with a single but was erased on Tyler Moore's 6-4-3 double play. Danny Espinosa then beat out a dribbler down the first-base line but was extinguished when he tried to steal second. Still scoreless as we go to the third.
7:56 p.m. -- Zimmermann cruising along as he always does. Three innings in the books, one hit allowed, 50 total pitches. And as has often been the case as well, the Nats haven't given him any run support. It remains 0-0 as we move to the fourth.
8:11 p.m. -- Not a good read on the basepaths by Harper in the bottom of the fourth. He had just singled to lead off the inning, then was off an running on Young's pitch to Zimmerman. Zim sent the ball on a line to the right of center field, and it appeared up here in the press box it would be caught easily. Harper, though, turned it up into fifth gear and rounded second before he realized the ball was indeed caught. He slipped and fell and could only watch as he was doubled up. Tough break there. Still 0-0 as we head to the fifth.
8:26 p.m. -- So who out there is shocked Jordan Zimmermann is involved in a scoreless game in the fifth inning? This must be like the seventh time it's happened this season already. Credit to Tyler Moore for a nice catch along the railing in left field to end the top of the fifth. Moore is looking more and more comfortable out there, and he's made two nice plays tonight.
8:47 p.m. -- Death, taxes and six innings for Jordan Zimmermann. He's done it again, the 19th time in 19 tries this season. There was a brief scare when Moore couldn't quite snag Young's drive to left, resulting in a leadoff double. But Zimmermann buckled down and got out of the inning, getting Wright to line out to Harper to end the sixth. We are still scoreless.
8:59 p.m. -- There's your run support at last. Adam LaRoche with a two-run, opposite-field blast into the Red Porch to give Zimmermann and the Nats a 2-0 lead. LaRoche's 16th homer of the season is a big one, and it ends Zimmermann's night on a high note. That's Jordan's 17th quality start in 19 tries, and he now sports the fifth-best ERA in the majors at 2.35. Tom Gorzelanny in for the seventh.
9:16 p.m. -- Uh-oh, there goes the shutout. Gorzelanny gave up a one-out double to Duda and then a two-out, RBI single to Torres. On the bright side, Torres strayed too far around first and was gunned down to end the inning. But the lead is down to 2-1 as we reach the seventh-inning stretch.
9:26 p.m. -- And the Nats get the run right back, plus another one for insurance as Lombardozzi belts a two-run double off the wall in right-center. Just missed his second career homer. The Nats up their lead to 4-1, and that's got to be a comfort to Davey Johnson ... and Tyler Clippard.
9:39 p.m. -- Sean Burnett navigates his way through the eighth unscathed, pitching around a one-out double by Scott Hairston to keep the Mets from scoring. So it remains 4-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth as Clippard starts getting loose in the pen.
9:54 p.m. -- We go to the ninth. And here's Clippard. The good news: He has a three-run lead. The bad news: Jordany Valdespin is still available on the Mets bench.
9:57 p.m. -- Yikes, Clippard serves up a leadoff homer to David Wright on his very first pitch. It's 4-2 now.
10:00 p.m. -- Yikes times two. Jason Bay crushes one off the left-field foul pole. It's now 4-3 with two outs and Valdespin stepping to the plate.
10:05 p.m. -- Nothing to worry about. Clippard finishes off his 15th save and the Nats finish off a 4-3 victory. They now lead the Mets by eight games.