Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez seeks his 16th win in today's series finale at Nationals Park.
Fast-forward to this morning when the Nationals' lineup for their series finale against the Mets was posted, with Desmond listed as the starting shortstop. Jayson Werth also is in there after Johnson said he planned to rest the outfielder.
So, there you have it. I'd pass along Davey's explanation for the change-of-heart, but he doesn't hold a pregame session with reporters on Sundays, so we'll have to wait until after this game. That's assuming the game is played. There's a fairly sizable weather system approaching from the southwest, and it looks like rain is a certainty for much of the afternoon. Having said that, this is the Mets' final scheduled game in D.C. this season, which means they'll do everything they can to try to get the game in.
Stay tuned for updates...
NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 50, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Thunderstorms, 80 degrees, Wind 7 mph RF to LF
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez
CF Andres Torres
2B Justin Turner
3B David Wright
RF Scott Hairston
1B Ike Davis
SS Ronny Cedeno
LF Jason Bay
C Kelly Shoppach
RHP Jeremy Hefner
HP Jordan Baker
1B Ted Barrett (cc)
2B Brian Runge
3B Marvin Hudson
12:55 p.m. -- It's raining pretty hard here right now, and there doesn't appear to be any clearing up coming. Could turn into a long afternoon.
2:00 p.m. -- Nothing new to report. The tarp has been on the infield for a good 90 minutes now, and there's been no movement since.
3:25 p.m. -- Hey, we're going to have baseball! The grounds crew has removed the tarp (to a thunderous roar from the crowd) and we'll have first pitch at approximately 4 p.m.
4:01 p.m. -- And we are underway at last following a 2-hour, 26-minute rain delay. The stands are still nearly full. Can't say I ever remember this many fans sticking it out here through a delay this long.
4:17 p.m. -- It took 27 pitches, but Gio Gonzalez battled his way through a long first inning and kept the Mets from scoring. He fell behind a bunch of hitters, including 3-0 to Ike Davis with two outs and two on, but props to the lefty for coming up with big pitches when he needed to.
4:30 p.m. -- Much better stuff from Gonzalez in the top of the second. He did surrender a two-out single up the middle to Kelly Shoppach but got three groundouts and wasn't working from behind in the count as much as he was in the first.
4:36 p.m. -- It's over in Atlanta as the Dodgers beat the Braves 5-0. So the Nats will be at least four games up (possibly five) when their big series with Atlanta begins tomorrow night.
4:40 p.m. -- Boy, it didn't look like Danny Espinosa squared up that 1-0 breaking ball from Hefner just now. Guess he did, because the ball sailed into the same corridor next to the left-field bullpen that Ike Davis found last night. That's an opposite-field, two-run homer by Espinosa to give the Nats a 2-0 lead after two.
4:51 p.m. -- Three scoreless in the books for Gio, but he's already thrown 57 pitches. Still falling behind almost everybody. Something to keep an eye on.
5:05 p.m. -- Another hit for Werth, who is now 21-for-52 with nine walks since coming off the DL. Harper then laced an RBI triple to right-center, the latest well-struck ball for the rookie (who has looked much better the last few days). A Zimmerman base hit brought Harper home and gave the Nats a 4-0 lead. The only negative: Desmond is now 0-for-9 since his possibly premature return from the DL.
5:30 p.m. -- He's given up at least one hit in all five innings so far, but Gio has yet to allow a run. You might say he's living a semi-charmed kind of life today. (Anybody who stuck around for the Third Eye Blind concert last night will get that joke.) Still 4-0 as we move to the bottom of the fifth.
5:38 p.m. -- Whoa, Harper launches one off the facing of the second deck in right-center for his 12th homer of the season, second in this series. Can you name the only players in ML history to hit at least 12 home runs in their "age 19" season? Tony Conigliaro (24), Mel Ott (18), Ken Griffey Jr. (16), Mickey Mantle (13) and Bryce Harper (12). I'd say that's fairly select company. Nats up 5-0 through five.
5:53 p.m. -- Not Gio's best outing today. He gave up a run in the top of the sixth, then issued a two-out walk to Kelly Shoppach on his 110th pitch of the afternoon. That was all Captain Hook needed to see. In came Craig Stammen to get out of the inning. So Gio went only 5 2/3 innings, but he's still in line to become the first pitcher in Nationals history with 16 wins. It's 5-1 now in the bottom of the sixth.
6:05 p.m. -- Praying mantis delay in the outfield! Apparently Scott Hairston was too scared to touch the bug, so Andres Torres had to come over and scoop it up in his glove. Disaster averted.
6:15 p.m. -- Big 5-4-3 double play from Zimmerman, Espinosa and LaRoche to end the top of the seventh. As well as they've pitched and hit lately, the Nats' defense (especially in the infield) has been spectacular. Still 5-1 at the stretch.
6:35 p.m. -- The Mets get a run in the top of the eighth off Michael Gonzalez, so that does create a save situation for the ninth, with the Nats up 5-2. Meanwhile, today's official paid attendance: 33,764. And a pretty good number of them are still here five hours after this game was supposed to begin.
6:45 p.m. -- OK, here we go. Tyler Clippard in for the ninth, the Nats up three runs. Top of the Mets order due up.
6:54 p.m. -- That's it. A long day at the ballpark ends in a 5-2 victory for the Nationals. Gio Gonzalez becomes the first Nats pitcher ever to win 16 games. And they now lead the Braves by five games heading into this week's showdown.