Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals return home tonight to finally face the Phillies.
The good news: Jordan Zimmermann is on the mound for the series opener, exactly the guy the Nationals want for this situation. He'll be opposed by Kyle Kendrick, who has pitched well this season and actually dominated the Nats last year (0.73 ERA in three games).
Big crowds are expected all weekend, but if you're coming to the park tonight, bring some layers. It's cold and really windy. Updates to come, so please check back...
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 89
Weather: Cloudy, 60 degrees, Wind 19 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
C Kurt Suzuki
LF Tyler Moore
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Ben Revere
3B Michael Young
1B Ryan Howard
RF Delmon Young
LF Domonic Brown
2B Freddy Galvis
C Eric Kratz
RHP Kyle Kendrick
HP Laz Diaz
1B Tim Timmons
2B Mike Winters (cc)
3B Mark Wegner
7:00 p.m. — Before we get started, if you haven't seen the news yet on Danny Espinosa (who has a fracture and a bone chip in his right wrist), make sure you read Chase Hughes' report.
7:07 p.m. — And we are underway on a very chilly and windy Friday night in the District. It's 53 degrees as Jordan Zimmermann fires strike one to Jimmy Rollins.
7:10 p.m. — A very nice and tidy, 10-pitch top of the first for Zimmermann, who got a pair of groundball outs and a popout. Nice play by Ian Desmond on Ben Revere's grounder up the middle for the second out.
7:18 p.m. — Some advice for everybody in uniform tonight: If you're going to try to hit a home run, your only hope is to keep the ball no more than 20 feet off the ground. Anything hit higher than that is going to get blown right back by the wind, as Adam LaRoche found out in the bottom of the first. Scoreless after one.
7:29 p.m. — And the Phillies jump out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Ryan Howard led off with a double to right-center, then scored on Domonic Brown's base hit. So just like that, Zimmermann finds himself in a rare situation: Trailing.
7:45 p.m. — Nice to see Steve Lombardozzi smoke a line drive base hit to center in the bottom of the second, one of the harder-hit balls he's had in a while. Unfortunately, it went for naught after Zimmermann grounded out to end the inning, stranding two men in scoring position. Still 1-0 Phillies after two.
8:04 p.m. — And the Nats get one run back in the bottom of the third, thanks to Kendrick's complete lack of command. He issued three straight walks with one out, bringing up Desmond with the bases loaded. Would Desmond even dare swing at Kendrick's first pitch after that? Yes, he would indeed dare. He fouled it off, then lofted a sac fly down the right field line to score Harper and tie this game 1-1 after three.
8:22 p.m. — Yikes, Trent Jewett just hung Tyler Moore out to dry. Sent him around third on a base hit to shallow center, with no legitimate chance of beating a halfway decent throw to the plate. Revere's throw was there in plenty of time, so Moore turned his shoulder and barreled into Erik Kratz, sending the catcher flying. Kratz, though, hung onto the ball. It's a miracle neither was hurt on that play. Very questionable send by Jewett.
8:34 p.m. — And the Phillies get a run back in the top of the fifth amid a flurry of singles. Zimmermann did buckle down to get a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and avoid serious damage, but the Nats do now trail 2-1.
8:51 p.m. — Except the Nats got the run back ... and then three more during a furious, two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth. LaRoche tripled off the center field wall — yes, LaRoche tripled, a development less surprising only than the fact I'm drinking hot chocolate on May 24 in Washington, D.C. — to drive in the first run. Kurt Suzuki then delivered an RBI single to left, justifying Davey Johnson's decision to bump him up to the 6-spot tonight. And then Lombardozzi delivered the biggest blow: a two-run double to the gap in right-center. That makes Steve 3-for-3 tonight. Certainly picked a good time to step it up. Nats lead 5-2 after five.
9:12 p.m. — Zimmermann now through seven innings of two-run ball. He hasn't been his absolute best tonight, but he's been plenty good and has come through with big pitches when he's needed them. Still 5-2 at the stretch.
9:20 p.m. — That'll be it for Jordan, who's final line is: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 92 pitches. Tyler Clippard in for the eighth, the Nats still up 5-2.
9:28 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 eighth for Clippard, who seems to have found his groove here lately. Still 5-2 as Rafael Soriano begins to warm for the ninth.
9:38 p.m. — OK, here we go. Rafael Soriano vs. Young, Howard and Young. (Sounds like a Three Stooges bit.)
9:50 p.m. — It's over. Nats win 5-2. Zimmermann is the NL's first eight-game winner.