|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
Jordan kind of burst on the scene out of nowhere. He wasn't in big-league camp this spring. He opened the season at Class A Potomac, got bumped up to Class AA Harrisburg and dominated (7-0, 0.83 ERA). The 24-year-old actually grew up near Viera, Fla., pitching at Brevard Community College before the Nats made him their 9th-round pick in the 2009 draft. He had Tommy John surgery in 2011 but has fully recovered. And now he's in the Big Apple, making his major-league debut for a team trying to claw its way back into a pennant race.
Given the situation, Davey Johnson is trying to take as much pressure off Jordan as he can. Kurt Suzuki is starting a day game after a night game, providing veteran influence behind the plate. Johnson didn't say much to the right-hander when they met this morning; he just wants the kid to go out there and pitch, not thinking too much about who he's facing.
It's always fun watching somebody make their debut, and today should be no different. So check back here for updates along the way. And if you missed the news earlier about Ross Detwiler's stiff back, here's the full story about the left-hander...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB Network (outside D.C. market), MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 89
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Taylor Jordan
LF Eric Young Jr.
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
RF Marlon Byrd
1B Josh Satin
CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
C John Buck
SS Omar Quintanilla
RHP Dillon Gee
HP Dana DeMuth (cc)
1B Angel Hernandez
2B Paul Nauert
3B Doug Eddings
1:11 p.m. — We are underway with a strike from Dillon Gee to Denard Span.
1:20 p.m. — Tough break for the Nats in the top of the first. After Ryan Zimmerman drew a two-out walk, Adam LaRoche crushed a double to the gap in right-center. Zimmerman would have scored easily, but the ball skipped just over the fence for a ground-rule double, so Zim was required to hold up at third base. Which proved costly moments later when Jayson Werth struck out to end the inning and strand two men in scoring position. So Taylor Jordan takes the mound for his debut.
1:34 p.m. — It was a bit of a battle, but Jordan is through his first big-league inning without surrendering a run. He fell behind the first four batters he faced, walking David Wright and then plunking Marlon Byrd. The entire Nats infield gathered at the mound to calm the right-hander down after that, and he responded by getting Josh Satin to tap a grounder to third to end the inning. Only 11-of-22 pitches for strikes, with a fastball that registered between 91-94 mph. Scoreless after one.
1:48 p.m. — Much better stuff from Jordan in the second inning. He retired the side on 11 pitches (7 strikes) and used his offspeed stuff (slider, changeup) more than he did in the first. He really throws across his body, with some unusual arm action. Basically, he tries to hide the ball behind his head. His coaches at Harrisburg compared the delivery to Jared Weaver, and now that I'm seeing it firsthand, that's not a bad comp. Still scoreless through two.
2:03 p.m. — Three scoreless innings in the books for Jordan, who looks more and more comfortable with each passing frame. David Wright did record the first hit of the day off him, but otherwise the kid has been sharp. He's at 44 pitches (24 strikes) through three. The Nats, meanwhile, have two hits and two walks off Gee, but have yet to score themselves. So it's still 0-0 heading to the fourth.
2:14 p.m. — And the Nats take a 1-0 lead. Roger Bernadina smoked a two-out double off the top of the right-field wall, close enough that it appeared live to perhaps be a home run. Replays, though, clearly showed the ball striking the orange line, keeping it in play. So it was the right call by Angel Hernandez, though Davey Johnson still was peeved that the crew wouldn't at least take a look at the replay. No worries, because Kurt Suzuki followed with an RBI single to left. So it's 1-0 Nats as Jordan takes the mound for the bottom of the fourth.
2:34 p.m. — Some sloppy defense cost Jordan and the Nats in the bottom of the fourth, and led to the Mets' first run of the game. Zimmerman booted a hard grounder hit right at him to get things started, and later Desmond and Bernadina let a pop-up fall between them in shallow left. That set the stage for John Buck's RBI single, tying this game 1-1. But props to Jordan for battling through it and escaping without allowing anything more. He's at 67 pitches (45 strikes) through four innings. It's now 1-1 heading to the fifth.
2:40 p.m. — Now Jordan records his first career hit, a solid single to center. He's going to have at least four milestone baseballs waiting for him at his locker after this game.
2:58 p.m. — Well, that didn't go well. The Mets scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth, thanks in large part to a disaster of a play in which both Zimmerman and Desmond were charged with errors. Zimmerman booted another hard grounder, then Desmond made a bad decision to try for a spectacular throw behind the runner and wound up throwing it away and letting the guy score. Jordan was pulled with only one out, an unfortunate early hook for the kid, but one that was probably necessary. Craig Stammen entered and gave up a sac fly, then got out of the inning on a nice play by Rendon. So Jordan's final debut line is: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 84 pitches, 48 strikes. Obviously he wasn't helped by his defense, but he also has some room for improvement. He really didn't miss many bats, and that in turn put pressure on the defense to make every play. Nats now trail 3-1 after five.
3:08 p.m. — Still nothing going on for the Nats at the plate against Gee. Suzuki's RBI double in the fourth is it. Still 3-1 as we go to the bottom of the sixth.
3:29 p.m. — This has not been a banner day for the Nationals defense. Or offense. (Their special teams play, however, has been outstanding.) The Mets scored two more runs off Stammen in the sixth, though the inning included a poor throw from Span to the plate and a couple of balls that split the gap between Span and Werth in right-center. On the bright side, Zimmerman did make one of the best plays you'll ever see from a third baseman, diving way to his right to snag Satin's smash and then firing a strike to first base for the out. But it's too little, too late at this point. The Nats trail 5-1 moving to the seventh.
3:45 p.m. — The good news: The Nats have put a man on base in each of the seven innings they've played so far today. The bad news: They've only scored one run off Dillon Gee and Carlos Torres. Still 5-1 at the stretch.
3:55 p.m. — Torres strikes out the side in the eighth. Werth now has six strikeouts in his last eight at-bats. Still 5-1.
4:07 p.m. — We go to the ninth. It'll be LaTroy Hawkins vs. Desmond, Bernadina and Suzuki. Nats trail by four.
4:16 p.m. — That's it. Nats lose 5-1. They've once again failed to capitalize on any positive momentum. Back to the .500 mark at 40-40, with the first half of the season coming to a close tomorrow.