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Game 19: Nats at Pirates

Apr 22, 2011, 7:31 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Beautiful PNC Park hosts the Nationals for a three-game, weekend series.

With some of the good vibes they were feeling only 48 hours ago gone after dropping back-to-back games in St. Louis, the Nationals tonight begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh … if the weather cooperates. There's rain in the forecast tonight. There's rain in the forecast tomorrow. And there's rain in the forecast Sunday.

(For what it's worth, both teams are off Monday, in case they need to extend this series to get it completed. Of course, Monday's forecast: Rain.)

Livan Hernandez gets the ball, looking to continue his early season trend of effectiveness. He'll have what has become the Nats' mostly regular lineup behind him, with Jerry Hairston at third and Wilson Ramos behind the plate.

Brian Bixler, meanwhile, has had his contract purchased from Class AAA Syracuse. The Nationals still need to remove someone from the 40-man roster to make room for the infielder, who is available in case Ian Desmond's wife goes into labor and the shortstop needs to leave the team for a few days.

Sadly, I'm not on this trip to get to see my favorite ballpark in the world (PNC Park). Enjoy the game and the always lively conversation here…

NATIONALS at PIRATES
Where: PNC Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 188
Weather: Rain, 48 degrees, Wind 18 mph in from LF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS (9-9)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche

Read more »

  1. sjm308 - Apr 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    This one of the many road trips I have on my agenda. Took my boys to their first game at the old 3 Rivers. Walked up, day of game (vs. Dodgers) and was able to get tickets right behind homeplate, 5 rows up. Boys were 3 & 1 and they sold me two tickets and told me not to worry, that he would not sell the seats on either side. Doubt if service is that way now but this was 1983. Andy Van Slyke is still my oldest's favorite player.That being said, Go Nats!!

  2. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    I was gonna make it to PNC for Saturday and Sunday, but the forecasts for rain kept me in sunny DC…UNTERP

  3. Ernie - Apr 22, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    ESPN is listing Ataualpa Severino as the starter for the Nats on Tuesday's game agains the Mets. http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/schedule/_/name/wsh/washington-nationalsI know the standards of journalism aren't as high over there as in most places. Still, I have to ask if the team made some roster moves that we haven't heard about yet. Anyone know what that might be about?

  4. Carl in 309 - Apr 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Quite an endorsement, Mark, for PNC park! Especially considering some of the others I'd had the privilege of sitting in. Guess this weekend probably isn't the one to use to see for myself (I can be cold and miserable at home games, thank you very much).Interesting discussion thread–favorite ballparks (existing and former). Since I can't knowledgeably vote for PNC Park, I would opt for Coors Field (Safeco would be a close runner-up) for new parks, and Fenway for history.And can we please sweep the Bucs!

  5. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    My vote: 1. PNC Park 2. AT&T Park 3. New Yankee StadiumUNTERP

  6. Ernie - Apr 22, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    @UNTERP (and anyone else who has insight)My wife and I are heading to SF this summer and wanted to catch a Giants game in that park. Any thoughts on where the best seats might be? (I'm not as interested in sitting right behind the plate as I am in taking in the park as a whole as I enjoy the game).We're also thinking of seeing an A's game, just for the contrast of good/bad stadiums (stadia?), and to see Willingham at least once this season. I'm assuming just about every seat there is terrible though…Thanks for any tips!

  7. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Ernie said… AT&T Park, RF Baseline or Arcade above the RF wall to me are the most interesting. Check out all the plaques and statues outside the park with all their history.Haven't been to the A's stadium. On my future agenda. Have a great time!UNTERP

  8. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    AT&T Park is in itself a landmark and tourist sight on the edge of San Francisco and the Bay. Well worth a game or two given the Giant's pitching staff.

  9. ChicagoNatsGirl - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    My family and I are also going to SF this summer to see the Nats play there the week of June 7 so suggestions are appreciated. Unfortunately, we'll miss the A's. Schedules didn't match.We're also going to Cincinnati in July so seating suggestions there are appreciated as well.We are 17 parks into our effort to see all 30 before 2016 (when my daughter graduates from high school–I figured it was good college application essay material, you know, deep philosophical meaning of seeing baseball with your mother over the course of 11 years . . .)Favorites so far: (1) Nats, (2) Fenway, (3) Angels.

  10. Anonymous - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    UNTERP reminds me of WMUC which is about to be defunded by the current SGA. First WHFS and now WMUC? Where's the guy who wanted to build a moat around the campus?

  11. Carl in 309 - Apr 22, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Been in both Oakland's and the Giant's (new) stadiums.Oakland is an older style park more in the RFK mode. Saw two games there last June and getting tickets close in behind the screen was a piece of cake (and sitting with the die-hard local STH fans, who spent part of their time trying to unload some of their tickets on people like me, was a hoot). So make a play for seats in close; alternatively, sit down the right field line near the on-field visitor's bullpen–the local fans have a great way of razzing the relievers (and I've seen this in multiple visits to this park). Best thing about the As stadium–the food for sale is great and will make a welcome change from what you eat at Nats park! Oh, and its way easy to either park or use BART.I've been only once to AT&T–back when it was PacBell or something; saw the Giants first win in their new park. Beautiful place–makes my top 5 for ballparks (only draw back was not great BART access). I sat up fairly high behind the home plate area (but not nosebleed) and loved the view of not only the whole playing field but the bay and Oakland across the water. They have a steeper seating angle than Nats park! And I got a great sunburn (as I did in my one visit to the old Candlestick)–so bring your sun screen.

  12. Andrew - Apr 22, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    Anyone going to the White Sox series in Chicago at the end of June or Marlins series in Miami on the May 6th weekend?

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 23, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    I'll be in Miami for the Friday and Saturday games. I'm done with Sunday aftenoon affairs with all the unsupervised kids running around.

  14. Hendo - Apr 23, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    You like PNC better than AT&T, Mark? (I've not been to the latter.)

  15. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 23, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    Hendo: Yes, I put PNC ahead of AT&T. Just barely. They're both obviously fantastic parks, but two things that put PNC over the top for me. 1) The intimacy of the place. It only seats about 36,000, and it has only two decks (the only big-league park built in the last 50 years with less than three decks). There legitimately isn't a bad seat in the house. 2) The way the park meshes so perfectly with the surroundings, with the Clemente bridge connecting downtown and fans walking in across it. Hard to explain if you haven't been there, but I've yet to know anyone who upon entering PNC for the first time wasn't blown away by the place.

  16. stopraining - Apr 23, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    A. when do we play the Marlins?B. Please tell me that the rotation will work out so that we don't face Anibal Sanchez ( who was no-hitting Colorado through 8). Marlins looking kind of scary right now.C. Definitely PNC!

  17. Hendo - Apr 23, 2011 at 4:25 AM

    Mark: Cool. I share your opinion of PNC, but I'm from Wheeling so have to confess a Pgh bias.We'll see what Ben has to say over at the O.W. (Other Website). He's making his maiden voyage to PNC this weekend.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 47 1.5
MIAMI 48 52 8.0
NEW YORK 48 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 44 58 12.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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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