Sep 26, 2010, 3:45 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez faces rookie Brandon Beachy today at Nationals Park.
Ryan Zimmerman is out of the Nationals' lineup with a strained rib muscle for the fourth straight day, which is not all that surprising. The Nationals figured to take the extreme cautious route with their star third baseman, and I don't think anyone would be surprised if Zim doesn't return to play this season. At this point, is it really worth the risk?
Danny Espinosa, who sat yesterday, returns to the leadoff spot in Jim Riggleman's lineup today, with Nyjer Morgan batting second and Ian Desmond hitting third. This will definitely be an interesting dilemma for Riggleman next season, assuming all three players are regulars in the Nats' 2011 lineup. Which two bat in the top two spots, and where does the other guy wind up? Both Espinosa and Desmond have potential to drive in runs, so perhaps the 6-hole could work for either. Then again, they both have speed, and Desmond has been his best this season when hitting second.
Livan Hernandez takes the mound today for his penultimate start of the season. Given the way he's pitched all year, it would be a shame for Livo to wind up with a losing record. But at 10-12, he's going to need to get the win in each of these last two starts just to salvage a .500 record.
With right-hander Jair Jurrjens hampered by a meniscus tear in his knee, the Braves are forced to send rookie Brandon Beachy to the mound for only his second career start today. Given what's at stake — the Phillies could clinch the NL East with a win and a Nats win — it's not an ideal scenario for Bobby Cox, who will be honored before today's game (his last one in Washington as Atlanta manager).
Thanks to everyone who turned out for yesterday's informal meet-and-greet in the stands. It was a real treat to meet so many of you and chat about both the team and the website. For those who couldn't make it, sorry we didn't get a chance to meet in person, but hopefully we'll cross paths down the road.
I'm not at the ballpark today, but I'll be back out there tomorrow and will have full coverage of all of the Nationals' final six games of the season. Enjoy the ongoing conversation with each other, and to those of you at the park: Stay dry!…
BRAVES at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of showers, 69 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam Dunn
NL EAST STANDINGS
Through Friday's games
NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS
Through Friday's games
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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- Gonzalez makes case for postseason start
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- NL Playoff Outlook: What stars will give the Nationals trouble?
- LaRoche gets extra day off to rest ailing back
- MLB Power Rankings: Tigers righting the ship