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Game 41: Orioles at Nats

May 20, 2012, 3:30 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to avoid a disheartening sweep against the Orioles this afternoon.

Remember all those close games the Nationals were winning? Yeah, not so much anymore. In dropping the first two games of this series to the Orioles by scores of 2-1 and 6-5, the Nats have lost their first two one-run games at home this season. They had been 8-0 at Nationals Park. Overall, they've gone 4-7 in their last 11 one-run contests after opening the season 6-1 in those ultra-close ballgames.

If they are to reverse that trend today (and salvage one game from this Battle of the Beltways series) they'll both need Stephen Strasburg to bounce back from his shaky start against the Padres — here's guessing he avoids all ointments, creams and other topical medications this morning — and their lineup to produce early against Orioles left-hander Wie-Yin Chen.

Not wanting to tinker too much with the reconfigured lineup he used last night, Davey Johnson is sticking with his second baseman as his leadoff man. That man, however, is not Steve Lombardozzi as it was last night but Danny Espinosa, who returns after getting one night off. Though he hasn't done it yet this year, Espinosa has led off 38 times in his career … producing a .162 average and .235 on-base percentage.

Plenty of updates to come, so please check back…

BALTIMORE ORIOLES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MASN2, Ch. 50, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WTEM (980 AM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 14 mph in from CF

NATIONALS (23-17)
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

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221 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - May 20, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Mark just put this out: Also, total attendance for the weekend was over 120KMark Zuckerman‏@MarkZuckerman#Nats attendance now up 38% from last year at this point, roughly 8,000 per game. Only #MLB teams with higher increase: #Marlins, #Tigers.

  2. Swift Eagle - May 20, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Impressive, and not very many home games against high profile opponents…I imagine the Yanks games will bolster those numbers

  3. John - May 20, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Espinosa should learn something from LaRoche. The latter spoke about not expanding his zone in response to his mini-slump the last few days and is clearly making that adjustment today. Espinosa talks about it and then just keeps making the same mistakes.

  4. Another_Sam - May 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    NatsJack — right on, regarding entertainment of this game; I know what you mean. [I went to Ponce de Leon league games this morning. LOL Now that's entertainment too.]

  5. Swift Eagle - May 20, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Looked like Zim turned his ankle on 3rd. No mention by the 3 guys in the booth

  6. TimDz - May 20, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Desi may have found a home in the five hole…

  7. NatsJack in Florida - May 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    I think Davey has found the spot for Desmond for the time being. Thins will change when Morse gets back but I like him in the 5/6 spot.

  8. Swift Eagle - May 20, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    So does that make the 2B the everyday lead off man? Who else can do it?

  9. baseballswami - May 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    If Desi is in the 5 hole then what we really need Lombardozzi in the lead off spot . Espi is still green and I think he will figure out the hitting. Ankiel – I think what you see is what you get. Bases loaded – none score. Nice to see Zim heating up with the bat, but I also saw him turn his ankle. His base running is quite an adventure.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - May 20, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Derek… great minds think alike.

  11. MicheleS - May 20, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Is Henry warming up? Or did his inning yesterday take out the possibility of being used today?

  12. MicheleS - May 20, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    YEA Lombo! Yea Danny!!! a 5 run lead should be safe for Henry!

  13. Drew - May 20, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Well, well, well.A Lombo liner and Espinosa follows his double with a dinger. This is getting interesting.Lombo might get to shag some more flies in left.

  14. Swift Eagle - May 20, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Does the Nats Park Scoreboard even have the ability to put a 10 up there?

  15. baseballswami - May 20, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    I have four things to say LOM — BAR — DOZ — ZI!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love this kid – do you think lombo is pushing him a little? :)

  16. MicheleS - May 20, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Swammi.. you bet Lombo is pushing Espi. Mark had that piece about a week or so ago that Espi knew that going to AAA was a possibility.

  17. Drew - May 20, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Lombo LFHarper CF or RFZim 3BLaRoche 1BDesmond SSEspinosa 2BAnkiel, Bernadina or Nady OFMaldonado C

  18. MicheleS - May 20, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    WOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! A win!!!

  19. Swift Eagle - May 20, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Nice bounce back win. Still the 3rd best record in the NL.The O' are good…

  20. baseballswami - May 20, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    That was a tad scary. But WOOOHOOO!

  21. djinFl. - May 20, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    That was fun. Now lets go north and smack the ball all over Philly.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 48 --
ATLANTA 58 51 1.5
MIAMI 53 55 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 48 61 11.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 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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