Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann is on the mound tonight at rainy Citi Field.
The Nats will be taking the field without their All-Star shortstop, Ian Desmond, who today was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique tear. Danny Espinosa, who has looked sharp at shortstop over the last week, takes over there for the next month or so, with Steve Lombardozzi at second base.
Corey Brown, meanwhile, has been recalled from Class AAA to take Desmond's roster spot. The 26-year-old outfielder has put up huge numbers in Syracuse (.300 average, 21 homers, 58 RBI, 14 stolen bases) but it'll be interesting to see if Davey Johnson sticks with red-hot Roger Bernadina in center field for now, with Brown coming off the bench.
Jordan Zimmermann (4-0, 0.84 ERA over his last five starts) gets the ball against Chris Young. Plenty of updates and analysis coming live from Flushing, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Isolated storms, 83 degrees, Wind 10 mph RF to LF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Danny Espinosa
CF Roger Bernadina
C Sandy Leon
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
SS Ruben Tejada
RF Jordany Valdespin
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jason Bay
CF Kirk Nieuwnenhuis
C Josh Thole
RHP Chris Young
HP Alan Porter
1B David Rackley
2B Jim Wolf
3B Derryl Cousins
7:11 p.m. -- We are underway on an 80-degree night in Queens. And who did I make eye contact with outside the Mets clubhouse? Why, none other than Snooki! Guess I can cross that one off my bucket list.
7:24 p.m. -- Welcome back, Bryce Harper's power stroke. The kid launches a two-run bomb into the Mets bullpen in right-center. That's his first home run since June 28 in Colorado, a span of 81 at-bats. And it puts the Nats up 2-0. It very nearly was 4-0 when Danny Espinosa crushed another ball down the right-field line, over the foul pole. It wound up just a couple of feet foul, but man, what a shot from the red-hot Espinosa. He still wound up with a two-out single, but Roger Bernadina popped out to end the top of the first.
7:35 p.m. -- Jordan Zimmermann gives up a leadoff single to Ruben Tejada, but he bounces right back to get Nat-killer Jordany Valdespin to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. A popup from David Wright ends a 12-pitch bottom of the first for Zimmermann, with the Nats still on top 2-0.
7:51 p.m. -- Mr. Consistency is up to his old tricks. Zimmermann has thrown 23 of his first 31 pitches for strikes and is through two scoreless here. He just blew away Jason Bay -- I know, I know, that's not such a big deal anymore -- with a 94 mph heater to end the bottom of the second with the Nats still up 2-0.
8:09 p.m. -- Ho hum, just another 1-2-3 inning for Zimmermann. And another couple strikeouts, giving him four in his last six batters faced. Jordan, as always, is pounding the strike zone. This of course is nothing new. He entered tonight's game throwing 68 percent of his pitches for strikes. That's fourth-best in the majors, behind only Bartolo Colon (70 percent), R.A. Dickey (69 percent) and Cliff Lee (69 percent).
8:20 p.m. -- Well, there's a home run for David Wright at Citi Field that wouldn't have been a home run last year. The Mets' lone serious offensive threat deposits one over the shortened fence in left-center field, trimming the lead to 2-1 after four.
8:26 p.m. -- So, um, yeah, Chris Young's 84 mph fastball hasn't surrendered a hit to the Nationals since the top of the first inning. He's through the fifth now, having retired 13 of 14. The Nats still lead 2-1, but you get the sense they've been missing a golden opportunity here.
8:37 p.m. -- Make it 16 of 17 retired by Young as he cruises through the top of the sixth. Morse is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. I'm really not sure how this is happening.
8:49 p.m. -- Man, what a play by Ryan Zimmerman to make a barehanded scoop of Jordany Valdespin's slow roller to third, then whip a sidearm strike to first for the final out of the sixth inning. That was an especially huge play because it prevented David Wright from stepping to the plate with two on and two out in a one-run game. Now, Wright will lead off the seventh.
8:57 p.m. -- Tough break for Davey Johnson and the Nats. After Sandy Leon walked with two outs in the top of the seventh, he really had no choice but to pinch-hit for Zimmermann with Tyler Moore. It didn't work out, because Moore struck out swinging at an 84 mph fastball at his eyelids, but Davey had to try for the insurance run there. So the Nats still don't have a hit since the first inning, but they still lead 2-1 at the stretch. Drew Storen entering from the bullpen for his third appearance of the season.
9:04 p.m. -- And Storen is out after facing only one batter: Wright, who lofted a deep flyout to center. In came Michael Gonzalez to face Ike Davis, and out went his very first pitch, crushed off the right-field foul pole. Very curious decision there by Davey, who has had some interesting ones over the last week. I know he wants to ease Storen in, but I'm not sure he's going to get much out of throwing only two pitches and then departing the game. It's now 2-2 as we go to the eighth.
9:21 p.m. -- Nothing happening in the top of the eighth as Josh Edgin and old pal Jon Rauch retire the side. The Nats still don't have a hit since the top of the first. That's not good.
9:30 p.m. -- Gonzalez and Ryan Mattheus navigate their way through the eighth, with Mattheus getting Valdespin to ground into a 6-4 force out to end the inning. So it's still 2-2 as we go to the ninth and the Nats seek their first hit since Espinosa's single in the top of the first.
9:38 p.m. -- Wait, was that really a base hit by a member of the Nationals? Indeed it was! LaRoche beats out a slow roller to the right side, taking advantage of the Mets' infield shift. Of course, it was immediately erased by Espinosa's 4-6-3 double play. So we go to the bottom of the ninth, and Mattheus is back out for his second inning of work.
9:49 p.m. -- More curious bullpen usage by Davey in the bottom of the ninth. After Mattheus retired Wright to begin the inning, he summoned Tom Gorzelanny to face Ike Davis, double-switching out Adam LaRoche for Mark DeRosa in the process. Obviously, Davey wants to have Gorzelanny available to pitch multiple innings. But why not Sean Burnett instead to get through the ninth, then save Gorzelanny in this thing really goes deep into the night? Whatever the case, Gorzo got through the inning, so we're heading to the 10th in a 2-2 game.
10:12 p.m. -- Bryce Harper to the rescue! Bases-loaded, RBI single to right for the rookie off a Pedro Beato curveball. Just crushed that hanging pitch. So the Nats take a 3-2 lead and get ready to hand the ball to Tyler Clipp... no, wait, Zimmerman destroys a Beato pitch to right-center and clears the bases with a double, making it 6-2. That should suffi... no, wait, Morse REALLY destroys a pitch to deep right-center for a 2-run homer. It's 8-2 and now Gorzelanny is hitting for himself because this isn't anywhere close to a save situation. Sweet Fancy Moses!
10:25 p.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win, 8-2 in 10 innings. Yes, 8-2 in 10 innings. Bizarre. Even better news: the Braves lost in Miami, so the Nationals now hold a 4 1/2-game lead in the NL East.