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Game 12: Phillies at Nats

Apr 14, 2011, 7:27 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann faces Cliff Lee tonight in the rubber game of this series.

For all the hand-wringing over the ninth inning of last night's game, the Nationals have a chance today to do something they haven't done for a little while: take a series from the Phillies. The last time they pulled that off: last July, when Ryan Zimmerman clubbed a walk-off homer off Brad Lidge hours after the team chose not to trade Adam Dunn.

To pull this one off, the Nationals will need a strong pitching performance from Jordan Zimmermann (as detailed earlier today), some timely hits against Cliff Lee from a lineup that has Michael Morse back in left field and clean defense after Ian Desmond's two-error game last night.

It's an absolutely beautiful day for baseball. If you don't already have tickets, head down this way and take advantage of this spectacular spring evening. Updates to come…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2, MLB Network (outside of D.C.)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 175
Weather: Clear, 66 degrees, Wind 4 mph LF to RF

SS Ian Desmond
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche


  1. erocks33 - Apr 14, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Nats versus Lee … time for another Levale Speigner game!

  2. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    I knew Levale Speigner. I watched Levale Speigner. And Jordan Zimmermann is no Levale Speigner. (No offense, Levale.) That said, gooooo Jordan!

  3. SonnyG10 - Apr 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    OK, Nats, let's win this series tonight! Go Nats!

  4. carolync - Apr 14, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    So the weather is not an excuse for staying home. Sparse crowds the last two days were troubling.Also seems like most of the obnoxious Phillies fans are out in the right field stands so they can heckle Werth.Sure would be nice to see a big crowd of Nats fans!

  5. Mr Donkey - Apr 14, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Hoping for a second night of 5$ seats and then moving down near to my partial season seats in 106 in the later innings.

  6. Grandstander - Apr 14, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    It's sad that our pitcher and our 3B have the same amount of hits. I hope these guys smell blood in the water and we take the series. That would really be something to build off of.

  7. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Mark, glad you're out of that hockey dungeon and get to breathe that sweet, spring air tonight. Here's all you need to know about that "other sport" and our local choking dogs: Rangers in seven. Enjoy the game. Missed you last night.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    Order up about 7 days worth of tonites weather for me when I come up for the Mets and Giants series in 12 days. After suffering through opening day and Saturdays game 2 weeks ago, you people owe me some good weather after what we served up for you during Spring Training this year.

  9. Unkyd - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Big Night, Desi…. Focus, My Boy, Focus!!!

  10. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Yeah sure, NatsJack, we'll order up a little sunshine for you. fyi, they don't do airboat rides up here, though. Maybe a water taxi. Bo-ring. ;-)btw, the local SABR chapter is hosting a program at Nats Park before the April 30 game. Some Nats FO types will be among the speakers. You can find details here, just in case you might be interested:

  11. Scooter - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    In other around-the-division news, Scott Hairston hit a home run today.We got the wrong Hairston.Rizzo FAIL. >:-(

  12. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    otoh, LOL = SUCCESS. ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Scott Hairston hit a home run in another LOSS for the Mets. You forgot to mention that.

  14. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 14, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Just say no to all Hairstons. Friends don't let friends Hairston. I am so sick our Our Guy. He looked pathetic against Mr. Halladay last night.

  15. A DC Wonk - Apr 14, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Off topic:Kilgore notes: "Nationals learned they received the 23rd pick, where the Chicago White Sox would have picked in the first round, and the 34th pick, the very first pick in Compensatory Round A, as compensation for losing Adam Dunn to free agency. Along with the sixth overall choice, earned thanks to their 69-93 record, the Nationals have three of the first 34 picks."But what about what the Nats have to give up for signing Werth? The Nats lose their sixth pick in the second round — instead of the first round — because the first 18 picks are protected.The sixth, and two more of the first 34 picks . . . that's nice.

  16. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    um, I think maybe Scooter was kidding around.

  17. Grandstander - Apr 14, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    If HRod needs to be on the 25-man by 5/7, that means Gaudin, Coffey, Slaten and Broderick are pitching for their jobs at this point. I'd like to think the Nats would hold onto their Rule 5 pick unless he really shows no promise at all. He had a shaky couple games but was perfect against Philly last night. Slaten has pitched well all season so far and is also one of only 2 lefties (the other being Burnett, our ostensible closer), so I'd gather he's pretty safe. So either Coffey or Gaudin will be packing their bags May 7th barring an injury.

  18. JD - Apr 14, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    Grandstander, Many things can happen between now and 5/7: Injury, trade, use of an extra pitcher. I wouldn't be so sure about who's packing bags just yet.

  19. A DC Wonk - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Wow — after two innings:Zimmermann: first six retired, only 19 pitches, only 5 of them ballsLee: first six retired, only 19 pitches, only 5 of them balls

  20. Aussie Gus - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    What's the shortest game ever? Could we be watching history in the making?

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    I believe the shortest 9-inning game record is 54 minutes. It's safe.

  22. Alan_A - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    I wonder if Zimmermann was supposed to be bunting there. The way Espinosa was looking at him after the tag, makes me think something got screwed up.

  23. Cwj - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    @Alan- It looks to me like Espinosa was instructed to run on contact. Unfortunately, that was the wrong call from Riggleman.

  24. Exposremains - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    What needs to happen for Desmond to be removed from the leadoff spot? This is embarassing. What are they waiting for? They want him to lose all of his confidence.

  25. Cwj - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    @Exposremains- Who would you put in the lead off spot? The Nats lack a leadoff hitter this year, in my opinion.

  26. Alan_A - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    @Cwj – yes, agreed – to be filed (with so many others) under "questionable Riggleman calls" in… the Nationals Zone…

  27. Exposremains - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    Just want to see Espinosa there to see if it works this year, move Desmond to 7th spot until he gets back on track and move him to 2nd spot.

  28. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    shortest games: well, I was

  29. Cwj - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Ugh, I hate the phillies.

  30. CBinDC - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    A Phillie fan punches the racing President and the Nationals management does nothing. That is way I am at home …you can have that Filthydelphia crowd not me.

  31. Sec 3, My Sofa - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    I'm on the sofa myself, obviously, but I have a question, CB–if you are at home, how do you know they did nothing? Can you still see the fan?

  32. CBinDC - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    I have not seen any movement of the guy he is on the right field rail about mid up looks like he is still there to me.

  33. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    Carlos Ruiz absolutely kills Nats pitching.

  34. FS - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    Lee is dominating us right now, better than Halladay did last night. We should have done better than this when we have decent right handed guys in Werth, Ramos, Espinosa, and others. This is painful to watch. I did not see the singles but I saw Danny's wobble there. That was a double play ball he got from Lee and he screwed it up big time. Calm down guys.

  35. WilliamTells - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    Was at work today and was shown that the Phillies website offers group travel packages to DC. Does this mean they coordinate directly with the Nats' ticket offices? Why are we helping give away 9 home games a year to a division rival?!?! I'd sure like answers on this from Mssrs. Rizzo and Lerner.

  36. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    Without Zimmerman, Nationals have no offense.

  37. phil dunn - Apr 15, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    Nats team batting average now .214.

  38. Aussie Gus - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    WilliamTells – Sports teams create travel packages to make money. They usually charge the visiting fans a little extra for the tickets, and if they are good, they also get a clip of the bus/hotels and meals. If your own fans aren't going to come along, then fill the seats for more than the face value of the tickets. It's just good business.

  39. Tim - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    I'm already looking forward to Nyger being introduced to Ramos' arm. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  40. FS - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:06 AM

    Why Lee why? Why did you not sign with us? Phillies would be striking out right now and we would be happy. And Ruiz is just hot right now. I do not remember him being so troublesome before.I know it does not matter much but how does Zimmermann has four earned runs. That botched play by Danny was a double play ball and also moved another run in scoring position. It should be at most 3 ER.Irony is I have Cliff Lee on my fantasy team.

  41. WilliamTells - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Aussie- it's shortsighted business. I know many friends who avoid Phillies series because of the bused in groups. Amounts to damaging the growth of your brand in return for short term profit. Or as the Lerners call it, a business model.

  42. Cwj - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    Tough loss. But I'll still take this year's Nats over last year's.Zimmermann looked great. Bullpen is still one of the best in the NL (the hit off of Storen was on a very good pitch).But yes, the Nats do indeed miss Zimmerman's bat.

  43. Jeeves - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    Other than Zimmerman, the only players who are hitting are the two rookies. From a glass half full perspective, the future appears promising. Jeeze.

  44. FS - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    I know this Nats played tougher than any previous year we would have. To give trouble to Halladay (even if it was in ninth) and matching Lee's dominant start for most of the game, we have improved. The promising way the series started, we should have taken one more from Phillies. This just proves the old saying, pitching is always the reason a team wins or loses. Lee was on tonight. I don't think having Ryan in the lineup would have helped much.BTW will we be facing Zack this weekend or still on DL?

  45. Doc - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    In spite of the two errors to-night, and their cumulative total this year, I still think that these Nats are lots of fielding steps ahead of recent Nats' teams.LaRoche was making some really good plays all evening, particularly the one where he grabbed the ball on the line and flipped to Broderick. Espi,late in the game, also saved a hit on the SS side of 2B, and flipped to Desmond for the out.It's time the Nats' bats came on line!Wait'll next time!!!!

  46. Mr Donkey - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:42 AM

    Two comments: 1-WTF: hit and run with no outs and RAMOS on first and Espinosa on deck. Should have had Morris bunt. But no. Hit and run strike him out throw him out. Game over. 2-Desmond should NOT be leading off. He's freaking out. Can't hit and now can't field. For now, end the experiment. Like the guy but he is so deep in his head he can't play.

  47. Aussie Gus - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    William Tells – if the stadium was full of Nats fans, and visiting fans were given 3 bays to choose from, then I think you might find the banter rather enjoyable. Visiting fans are always more manageable when they are outnumbered and their team is losing. Having a travel business is not short sighted, it's actually really good for everyone in the long term, assuming it's managed correctly, just like the rest of the business.Trust me, when the park is full of Nats fans and they drown out the 300 Philly fans that have been allowed in, and the Nats win 10-2, you'll go, and you'll enjoy it.

  48. CBinDC - Apr 15, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    Look the fan base in this town is to damn smart to keep going back to be abused in their own stadium …..The Lerners created this mess and STILL have not owned up to the mistake ……and now we have a lead of who can not get on base, a PH specialist who can not get a hit, a line up that is last in the league in hitting ….and we are back to errorville ….so why go again to vomited on by a fan from Filthy

  49. Anonymous8 - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    What idiot at MASN sent out the text message about Jordan Zimmermann's No Hitter going? As soon as that text hit my phone Ruiz hit the HR.Bad one MASN! Great pitching performance Jordan Zimmermann!

  50. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Sp far this year Pitching is so much better than last year.Fielding about the same. Errors at the wrong time.Hitter far inferior to last year.What is the primary role of a lead off hitter? Get on base? Who is getting on base the most? Ramos. Move him to lead off he can't do any worse than the incumbent is doing.

  51. Ernie - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Beautiful night at the ballpark. The fielding was disappointing, but really after that home run it was over anyway. Zimmermann really shut down the heart of the Phillies linueup too. Their 3-6 hitters were 1 for 16. Unfortunately, Ruiz owned him tonight.Half of our starting 8 position players ended the day at or below the Mendoza line. I posted the other day that I don't think numbers mean anything, but these kinds of aggregate numbers are starting to mean something to me.

  52. CBinDC - Apr 15, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Is it to early to write some players names in to the Nationals Wille Mo Pena Hall of Shame ?

  53. WilliamTells - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Aussie-I would enjoy that, yes. But my point is we'll never get to a full park and 10-2 wins if we keep undercutting our brand by welcoming out of control Philly fans with open arms at the expense of respectability.

  54. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    Linked at left – Racing Thomas Jefferson hit by Philthy fan – nice – Kasten's legacy lives on – Moneygrubber.

  55. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    When we play da Fillies, one of the best teams in MLB, taking one out of three games is not a disgrace. Now, if we continue to win only one of three games from da Brewers, da Pirates, and da Mets, then we REALLY know we're in trouble! The next few weeks will tell all for this season!!!

  56. A DC Wonk - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    "What idiot at MASN sent out the text message about Jordan Zimmermann's No Hitter going? As soon as that text hit my phone Ruiz hit the HR. Bad one MASN!"It's OK, you can blame it on me. I called out to my wife "hey, he's got a perfect game going" somewhere between 5 and 10 seconds before the home run.

  57. Manassas Nats Fan - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:27 AM

    I too text a friend to tell him it was time to start watching, so I get a piece of the blame too.

  58. A DC Wonk - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    One of the Anons wrote: "When we play da Fillies, one of the best teams in MLB, taking one out of three games is not a disgrace. Now, if we continue to win only one of three games from da Brewers, da Pirates, and da Mets, then we REALLY know we're in trouble!"That's actually a good point. If the Nats could seriously beat up on the *weak* teams, _that_ would be taking care of business and get us going. We couldn't even get that done last year.

  59. DCDingo - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:32 AM

    Phillies fans were in great numbers tonight and were fairly well behaved except for the puke in the bathrooms. "Another great Phillies win at home," cried one Philphies fan as I took a post-game leak. A Nationals fan offered a loud FU in response, but winning is the only real answer to this obnoxious invasion.

  60. Grandstander - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:35 AM

    Philly will forget it has a team in another few years and all will be right again. I went to plenty of Mets/Phils games in philly where the Mets fans pulled the same shit and now look where they are.I have a rule though that I never go to Nats games when they Phils are playing. If it means I see 9 less games a year, I don't care. At least I'll enjoy myself at them.

  61. Ernie - Apr 15, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    I love how the people who complain loudest about the Phillies fans taking over the stadium are the ones who swear they won't go to Phillies games. I've been to 7 or 8 games against Philadelphia in the past couple years. Their fans are loud and obnoxious, but I still have yet to experience any direct hostility. Tonight I had a few groups near me and they were vocal but made good conversation and we all enjoyed ourselves. One thing we all had in common is a low opinion of Blanton's skills as a starting pitcher. (I sit in one of the the 300 sections around the infield. It's not dangerous. Really.)The only solution I see to the out-of-town invasion is to go to games and cheer for the Nats. What's the old line about "if you're not part of the solution…"? If you're really so afraid of them that you can't go to the ballpark, maybe the problem isn't them.And really, does anyone seriously think that a comment from Stan Kasten three years ago is the reason they come to the stadium? What is the team supposed to do? Ask for a secret Nats handshake when they sell tickets?(I am fully aware that I am about to be declared the biggest idiot in the history of blogging for saying these things. Or that my experiences in the stadium are completely different from the experiences of people who have already declared they don't even go.)

  62. CBinDC - Apr 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    I complain the loudest because I have had the displeasure of Filthy games in the past, 3 times last year and every one was the worst experience at the ball park I have ever had. Now if you want the full run down as to what happened I'll be glad to enlighten. My point is that I am now not going back to Nats Park during those games. The folks running the stadium seem helpless to stop it so I stay home. BTW I went to a game up in Filthydelphia and it was a completely different experience I guess the real filth only comes here

  63. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    I was wondering why the perfect game was interrupted. What the hell is wrong with you guys? You don't even mentioned anything to anyone not even to yourself about a no hitter/perfect game through five innings. It's verbatim!!! I hope we learned from this experience…UNTERP

  64. Unkyd - Apr 16, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    Atta boy, Desi!!! Way to work it!

  65. Unkyd - Apr 16, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    Ooops! Wrong game thread…..



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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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