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Game 4: Nats at Mets

Apr 9, 2012, 7:45 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
The fences have been moved way in at Citi Field this season.

OK, so it's only three games into the season, but who would have predicted the team sitting atop the NL East at this early stage would be the 3-0 … New York Mets?! Yep, the club everyone expects to finish dead-last in the division pulled off a sweep of the Braves to begin its season. Perhaps those cozy new dimensions at Citi Field — the outfield wall has been moved in at several locations after David Wright, Jason Bay and others complained the last couple of years — are making a difference already.

The Nationals will have to hope they benefit as well from the shorter fences and perhaps get something going offensively right from the get-go tonight instead of waiting til the eighth inning to start producing. Davey Johnson is going with his regular lineup, with one exception: Jesus Flores makes his first start behind the plate, giving Wilson Ramos a breather.

Edwin Jackson, meanwhile, makes his Nationals debut on the mound. The right-hander, signed to an $11 million contract on Feb. 1, had a bit of a ragged spring. Not to suggest that will actually carry over into the regular season, but Jackson obviously would like to put together a nice outing tonight and erase whatever questions there may be.

I'm not in New York for this series, spending some quality time with the family for a couple of days in advance of Thursday's home opener. Enjoy the game and the conversation as always…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 183
Weather: Partly cloudy, 60 degrees, Wind 19 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (2-1)
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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228 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLady - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. ExposedinDC - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Although I think H Rod has progressed, not sure he is ready for that situation, still see him as more of a situational guy, kinda like the 8th

  3. NatsLady - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Justin Maxwell hits a two-run dinger in his first AB with the Astros.

  4. baseballswami - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Anyone for some Kool-aid? Maybe tomorrow? We are missing our closer, a good outfielder and our mvp hitter. We opened the season on the road in Chicago in the wind with a brand new pitcher, who came from the american league. Then we came to NY, first night game of the season,with another new pitcher to the team and nl east, in the cold. A .500 record with the tight games we have been in and with our offense is probably an Easter miracle.

  5. Anonymous - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Hint– MPHRod good for only one inning at a time.

  6. NatsLady - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    Not sure what choice Davey had, once he brought on Henry for the 8th. Tie game, you don't know how many innings it will go. No off days for a long time. Can't use all your pitchers. Henry needed to come through.

  7. Anonymous - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    We should start timing Mark to see how fast he can put up the instant analysis – which I love, by the way.

  8. Anonymous - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Our hitting isn't that bad if you leave out our outfield. Total hits from Nats outfielders this year = 3. Pitiful. Need Morse badly. And bring up Harper come May. Can't be worse than what we have. You know its bad when I'm actually looking forward to Ankiel hitting in place of our current outfielders.

  9. Anonymous - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Can Flores play right field? Or Lombo?

  10. ExposedinDC - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Don't disagree Nats lady, I just think Clip or Stammen would have been better options, at least have someone else ready in the event of Hrod control issues

  11. Erik - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    SJM-Rizzo didn't think Willingham was good enough to be a part of the future here in Washington and thought Werth was by far the superior type of player that he could build around. To me, that is an epic fail considering the amount invested. Not trying to beat a dead horse, but Werth was a replacement for Willingham. Morse would have played either way. It was actually a pretty awful trade that looks even worse after signing Werth to that albatross of a contract. I mean, would you trade Werth or Morse for a guy who MIGHT be a useful bullpen piece and a minor league CF prospect who MIGHT make the roster one day. That is what Willingham was at the time. He is almost the exact same player as Morse is right now. Maybe he bombs and Corey Brown is a stud. Not looking like that right now, though. Anyways, bad loss tonight but at least we got 158 more to go. Somebody needs to give Jobu some rum to wake up bats!!!

  12. NatsLady - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Exposed– don't forget if Henry holds them in the 9th you still need a pitcher for the 10th (at least). Tougher to win a tie game when you are the visitor. Henry had only pitched to one batter in the 8th. If he is going to be a closer, he is going to have to learn to do 4-out games.Try finding a city, get the game (even if you don't get past the blank screen, just get past the "verifying your account"), then turn off hide-my-ip so you get back your bandwidth and "change broadcast". Works pretty good as long as your internet signal stays and you don't exit MLB.

  13. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    More disheartening news from the Alumni Association:J-Max homered in his Houston debut tonight.

  14. ExposedinDC - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    Or I could just go to local sports bar like usual it helps ease pain to consume beverages immediately after implosion….btw you make a good point about being the road team, guess we better get used to HRod.

  15. Anonymous8 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    JMax is a RH platoon. Again, the Yankees and Nats wanted him as an everyday player. Isn't going to happen. The good news for JMax was he got a lot of tutoring from Kevin Long which will make him a better hitter for the rest of his career.

  16. Gonat - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    I guess I should have trademarked the name I came up with last year "Kardiac Kids". Saw this on MASN: Ted Leavengood: Cardiac kids take ChicagoYah, they spelled it differently.

  17. NatsLady - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Exposed– good point on the sports bar. The one near me, unfortunately, is full of people 1/3 my age and Yankees fans to boot… But they have really nice TV's.

  18. Whatsanattau - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    Henry has had bad games before. He will have them again, but what a thing of beauty when he is on. I do think he can develop into a closer, but if Lidge's arm is healthy, he has a track record of success. I would like to see Lombo get in the lineup for Espy tomorrow.

  19. NatsLady - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    Milone throwing a shutout after 6, only 69 pitches so far.

  20. NatsLady - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    I think Lidge might have come in if we were ahead in the 9th. Certainly would if we were ahead in the 10th.

  21. Unknown - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Ratiocinational - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said…More disheartening news from the Alumni Association:J-Max homered in his Houston debut tonight.You might've spoken too soon. Milone's pitched 6 shutout innings against the A's so far!

  23. Section 222 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    I don't disagree with the decision to send HRod out for the 9th. I do think that DJ should have had someone warming and replaced him before he allowed the winning run to score. Whether that is as soon as he walked the leadoff guy I'm not sure. Maybe let him pitch to the next batter, but not once the winning run was at 3rd for sure. He was rattled and had lost his command. Gorzalanny did a great job saving the pen with three scoreless innings. Clip was available, so was Lidge, so was Burnett. Even Stammen could have gone an inning. You can't just send guys out for learning experiences and hope for the best. You have to win baseball games. DJ was asleep at the switch.

  24. Section 222 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    Milone now has a 3-hit shutout through 8 innings. 93 pitches (a career high they say). Not certain whether he's coming out for the 9th. Still, a very nice debut with the A's.

  25. Section 222 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:32 AM

    And now another Nats alum, Jonny Gomes is up for the A's! He struck out.

  26. Cwj - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    A few positives to take away from the first 4 games.1)- The pitching has been very good (2.83 ERA).The starters have an ERA of 3.57, bullpen is 1.46.2)- LaRoche is crushing the ball.3)- The NL east is wide open. Doubtful the Mets could possibly keep this up, the Braves look not so great, the Phils will likely continue to struggle without 2 of their key hitters.Still so early in the season, but things could be much, much worse for the Nats.

  27. Sunderland - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Another positive, last night's game puts us one game closer to the Home Opener.

  28. Anonymous - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Umps continue to buttphuck the #nats

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 53 43 --
ATLANTA 54 44 --
NEW YORK 46 52 8.0
MIAMI 45 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 55 11.0
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 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

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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.

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