Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez tries to pitch the Nats to a sweep of the Mets today.
So we've got a great pitching matchup for a Thursday matinee on South Capitol Street. The Nats also will have one of their best relievers available for the first time this season, with Drew Storen officially activated off the disabled list this morning, creating an eight-man bullpen for the moment.
On the other hand, they'll be playing with only a four-man bench. And one of those men is Ian Desmond, who remains out of the lineup with an oblique strain.
Plenty of updates to come, so please check back all afternoon...
NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 12:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Danny Espinosa
CF Roger Bernadina
C Jesus Flores
LHP Gio Gonzalez
SS Ruben Tejada
CF Andres Torres
3B David Wright
RF Scott Hairston
LF Jason Bay
1B Ike Davis
2B Justin Turner
C Josh Thole
RHP R.A. Dickey
HP Chris Conroy
1B Tim Timmons
2B Angel Hernandez
3B Mark Carlson
12:38 p.m. -- We are underway with a ball from Gio Gonzalez to Ruben Tejada. Gonna be a big crowd today, with lots of camp kids decorating the upper deck in various shades of neon T-shirts.
12:44 p.m. -- Well, that didn't go so well. It looked like Gio was going to get two quick outs, but Steve Lombardozzi was slow to field Andres Torres' routine grounder and then had nothing on his throw to first. Torres beat it out, and Lombo threw out his arms in disbelief, but that wasn't the first shaky play he's made since moving back to second base last week. And this one really hurt, because Gio grooved his very next pitch to David Wright and watched the ball soar to left field for a two-run homer. Both runs are officially charged to Gonzalez, but Lombardozzi is responsible for one of them. 2-0 Mets as we go to the bottom of the first.
12:54 p.m. -- Barkeep, another round of cortisone shots for me and all my friends! Especially that guy who just caught Ryan Zimmerman's latest home run on the fly with his bare hand. Another bomb for Zim, who in 20-plus games since his cortisone shot is now hitting .357 with eight homers, 22 RBI and a .750 slugging percentage. The Nats now trail 2-1 after one. Wait, wasn't this supposed to be a pitchers' duel?
1:02 p.m. -- Yeah, so much for that pitchers' duel. Ike Davis led off the top of the second by crushing a 2-2 curveball from Gio to center for another homer. The Mets lead 3-1.
1:25 p.m. -- And it just keeps getting worse for Gio Gonzalez, who can't find the strike zone ... and when he does is getting hammered. He's now given up five runs on six hits and two walks through three innings. That's the most earned runs he's allowed all season, and his ERA has shot up to 3.25, its highest mark since April 12. Craig Stammen was furiously warming in the pen before Gio finally got out of the top of the third. The Nats now trail 5-1.
1:37 p.m. -- And that will be it for Gio Gonzalez, who gets hooked by Davey Johnson with one out in the fourth, his shortest start of the season. Final line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. Craig Stammen now in for a long relief appearance.
1:47 p.m. -- Oof. David Wright blasts another homer, this time a three-run shot to center off Stammen. It's 9-1 Mets, and there are still five more innings to be played today.
2:10 p.m. -- Meanwhile, the Nats have done nothing at the plate against Dickey through four innings. Pretty sloppy effort all around so far, they didn't bring a whole lot of energy to the park this afternoon.
2:17 p.m. -- So, Stammen got to hit for himself in the bottom of the fifth, with the Nats trailing 9-1. And now Mark DeRosa is replacing Ryan Zimmerman at third base. We're sitting a long way from the dugout up here in the press box, but I believe that is indeed a white flag in Davey Johnson's hand.
2:28 p.m. -- Hey, the Nats scored a run! DeRosa led off the sixth with a double, took third on LaRoche's groundout and then scored on Morse's sac fly. It's 9-2 as Stammen returns for his fourth inning of work out of the bullpen.
2:45 p.m. -- It's not entirely a lost cause today for the Nats. Sandy Leon records his first big-league hit. Congrats, kid.
2:57 p.m. -- Ian Desmond is pinch-hitting in the eighth, so once again the Nats don't appear to believe he'll need to be placed on the DL.
3:03 p.m. -- And Desmond sends a solid single up the middle, then comes all the way around to score on Morse's double to right-center. Good sign there. So it's now 9-3 as Dickey's afternoon is finally done. And warming in the Nats pen in anticipation of his season debut: Drew Storen.
3:19 p.m. -- They tried to mount a rally and managed to push across a couple runs, but Harper flied out with the bases loaded to end the eighth. So it's 9-4 as we go to the ninth, and here's Storen.
3:26 p.m. -- Nice job by Storen. He retired the side, getting Wright and Nieuwenhuis to ground out and Bay to fly out. Nine total pitches, five strikes. His fastball was 92-93 mph.
3:39 p.m. -- That'll do it. A fairly forgettable day at the ballpark ends with the Nats losing 9-5. And since the Braves beat the Giants today, they'll enter this weekend's big series trailing Washington by 3 1/2 games.