Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Marlins Park hosts the Nationals on Jackie Robinson Day.
Two starters are not in Davey Johnson's lineup for this series opener against the Marlins: Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche. Espinosa took a pitch off his right wrist yesterday, so that's not a huge surprise. (Steve Lombardozzi will start at second base in his place.) Not sure yet whether LaRoche's absence has to do with the bad back that sidelined him last weekend in Cincinnati, or whether this has to do with his .147 batting average to begin the season. In either case, Tyler Moore gets his first start of the year at first base.
The Marlins have their own big-name player sidelined tonight: Giancarlo Stanton continues to be hampered by a bad shoulder, so Miami's only true offensive threat will be on the bench. That should make things considerably easier for Jordan Zimmermann, who will be looking to get the Nationals back on track after their weekend sweep at the hands of the Braves.
It's Jackie Robinson Day around MLB, and every player on the field for every team will be wearing No. 42 in his honor. Given the events unfolding in Boston, now seems an appropriate time to remind everyone how much the sports world unites us all, no matter our individual backgrounds.
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Marlins Park
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Ian Desmond
1B Tyler Moore
2B Steve Lombardozzi
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
LF Juan Pierre
CF Chris Coghlan
3B Placido Polanco
1B Greg Dobbs
RF Justin Ruggiano
C Rob Brantly
SS Adeiny Hechavarria
2B Donovan Solano
LHP Wade LeBlanc
HP Alan Porter
1B Jerry Layne
2B Greg Gibson
3B Mike Estabrook
7:12 p.m. -- We are underway. They held a moment of silence prior to the national anthem to honor the victims of today's events in Boston. But now it's on to baseball as Wade LeBlance delivers ball one to Denard Span.
7:30 p.m. -- Well, that's one way to forget about a bad weekend of baseball. The Nats scored four times in the top of the first before any batter even made an out. Five hits and a walk, with Ryan Zimmerman and Tyler Moore each driving in a pair on base hits. The only real mistake: Bryce Harper getting thrown out trying to reach third base on Zimmerman's single. Even then, Harper might have been safe. It's 4-0 as Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound.
7:35 p.m. -- A nine-pitch bottom of the first for Zimmermann, who retired the side with ease. Yes, it's only one inning, but it's pretty remarkable how different a game against the Marlins is from a game against the Braves. 4-0 Nats after one.
7:48 p.m. -- Zimmermann just cruising along here early. He's retired all six batters he's faced, striking out a pair to open the bottom of the second. He's only needed 22 total pitches through two innings, which end with the Nats still up 4-0.
7:58 p.m. -- Wow, back-to-back-to-back, two-out doubles from Desmond, Moore and Lombardozzi in the top of the third, bringing home a couple more runs. Desmond is now 2-for-2 with two doubles. Moore is now 2-for-2 with three RBI. It's 6-0 and what few fans are here tonight are not enjoying the proceedings.
8:04 p.m. -- Make it 9 up, 9 down for Zimmermann on 31 pitches. Hasn't come close to breaking a sweat tonight.
8:17 p.m. -- Mike Redmond decided he'd seen enough of LeBlanc after 3 2/3 innings and 74 pitches. So in came John Maine to face Ryan Zimmerman ... who immediately deposited Maine's very first pitch into the Clevelander bar behind the the left-field fence. It's 8-0 Nats as Zim rounds the bases on his first homer of the season. Feels like the Nationals are taking all their frustrations out on Miami tonight.
8:21 p.m. -- Well, there won't be any perfect game or no-hitter here tonight. Chris Coghlan sends a sharp base hit up the middle with one out in the fourth, ending Zimmermann's run at perfection. Then again, Zimmermann immediately got a double-play grounder, so he's still faced the minimum through four, and he's needed only 38 pitches to do it.
8:30 p.m. -- And the hits keep on coming in the top of the fifth. Lombardozzi, Suzuki and Span all singled, with Span's base hit bringing both guys home to make it 10-0. Roger Bernadina then pinch-hit for Werth, who is still on the bench and appears to be fine. Looks like Davey is just going to use this blowout to give a couple guys a breather and get some of his bench players at-bats. 10-0 as we go to the bottom of the fifth.
8:37 p.m. -- Another ridiculously efficient inning from Zimmermann, who is through five scoreless innings on all of 48 pitches. Only three balls have left the infield. He's just absolutely cruising here.
8:51 p.m. -- The Marlins finally got to Zimmermann in the sixth, plating a pair of runs on two hits and a hit batter. So, there won't be any shutout tonight. There may not even be a complete game. We'll see. It's now 10-2 Nats going to the seventh.
9:10 p.m. -- Zimmermann laboring more as the night wears on. He gave up another run on three hits and a walk in the seventh, making it 10-3. His pitch count is up to 84. Will Davey still let him go the distance. If he can get back on track and complete the eight at less than 100 pitches, I think so.
9:27 p.m. -- Make it eight innings on 98 pitches for Zimmermann. He certainly looks like he could finish this one, but it appears Rafael Soriano is warming in the pen as we begin the ninth inning. So Jordan may just have to settle for his second career eight-inning start. Still 10-3.
9:34 p.m. -- Here's Zimmermann back out for the ninth. He does own one career complete game (though it was only eight innings). Tonight, he'll try to go nine for the first time in 84 career starts.
9:37 p.m. - There it is: Zimmermann goes the distance on 103 pitches. Nats win 10-3.