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Game 36: Cubs at Nats

May 11, 2013, 4:39 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg faces Edwin Jackson today at Nationals Park.

The initial forecast for this afternoon didn't look so great, but things seem to be getting much better now. The tarp has been rolled off the infield, the sky is getting lighter and it appears the heavy rain will stay to our north, with the only real threat coming after 6 p.m. So it certainly looks like the Nats and Cubs will be able to get this game started on-time. (Full disclaimer: If my "expert" forecast is proven wrong, you're not allowed to hold it against me.)

Stephen Strasburg takes the mound for the Nationals, having made progress in his last start at Pittsburgh but still looking for his first win since Opening Day. He'll go up against a familiar face: Edwin Jackson, still looking for his first win with Chicago.

We're still waiting for Davey Johnson to post his lineup, but Bryce Harper is expected to be back after missing last night's game following a procedure to remove an ingrown toenail. Jayson Werth, meanwhile, should be officially placed on the 15-day DL any moment now, with Eury Perez recalled from Class AAA Syracuse. [UPDATE AT 1:35 P.M. — Harper actually isn't starting today, his toe still not completely healed. So Davey is going with his same lineup as last night, with Wilson Ramos catching instead of Kurt Suzuki.]

Updates to come…

CHICAGO CUBS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 9, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Late rain, 75 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to CF

NATIONALS (20-15)
CF Denard Span
RF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche

Read more »

244 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Harpo - May 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Perics other boy TylerMo does nothing.

  2. SCNatsFan - May 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Espinosa stays on script. Wonder what Rendon would have done there.And Tyler with yet another weak AB. We have too much talent to lay like his. You wonder if the 25 man being set as we went not spring doused some of the fire in some players. Sometimes fear is an ok thing.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - May 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Wow…..Espinosa ……just wow.

  4. Harpo - May 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Just typical Zimm, won't get his body in front of baseballs. Hard to believe he was once being compared to Brooks Robinson.

  5. Dave - May 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    And let me add to that: wow…Zimm…just wow.

  6. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Not a good day for our 3B…

  7. realdealnats - May 11, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. phil dunton - May 11, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Trade Zimmerman, if he has any trade value left, before his no trade clause kicks in!! He's downright awful.

  9. baseballswami - May 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    You have to admit that Tyler Moore has come up in that situation waaay more than anyone else. Makes him look bad, but Espi folded right before he did. Many other Nats may have made an out also, but Tyler has been cursed with that particular situation over and over. I am so grateful for Desi. Ryan Mattheus is a gem, too.

  10. DJB - May 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Giving Zimm a contract like the Nats did is a hallmark of a losing franchise. He never earned it, and was injured. And now he is losing games. His bat has never woke up. Our top of the rotation is filled with head cases. Nothing changed over the five day streak. Zimm should have been traded two years ago.

  11. Harpo - May 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    phil, while they should trade him, Rizzo never will. The guy needs time to get his head together. His hitting hasnt been great since he got back and his fielding is bad and his throwing just isn't crisp.

  12. ehay2k - May 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    FP is reading this blog tonite!

  13. baseballswami - May 11, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    In a weird way, after a five game win streak, this might not actually be a bad thing for some of these guys to get some playing time. Good to see Lombo back hitting on the ground. Too many fly outs lately.

  14. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 11, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    stras needs to learn to handle when they have errors behind him as of now he can't. The answer is realky simple. Don't make errors behind.Zim's problem is all his errors are unforced. They not physical errors. He throws the ball fine when rush. Terrible when he has time. That is so easily fixable. Simply rush everything. That is a no brainer.

  15. baseballswami - May 11, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Ehay2k– I get the youth and lack of minor league experience. But then why was he put in this position two years in a row? Unfair to him? Or he needs to start growing the heck up?

  16. EmDash - May 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Everyone's not playing their best today, but the team's still been trending up lately. Blowing things up remains not the answer. Bullpen shakeup seems like the most likely, to me.

  17. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    sebermetric guys what is Zim's WAR

  18. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    WAR is a poor stat to use until the end of the season because it's fluctuates too wildly. His WAR last year was 4.1.

  19. Secret wasian man - May 11, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Its just a bad game. Lets hope. Still only 1 game back. Really am sick and tired of Zimm though.

  20. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Bullpen? Pitxhing not the problem.6 of 8 batters are under .240.eckstein's boys are the problem.Only 3 on tge roster doing tgei job on a consistent basis. He's not coahing them tgrough it.

  21. ehay2k - May 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Swami, I suspect one reason he came up so early was that he was the best they had at that point. Another reason would be that he put fans in the seats. But, Rizzo et all thought he was ready, at least from a game perspective. Maturity is something where he seems to lag behind even Bryce in some ways.

  22. realdealnats - May 11, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Put me down with the minority. I think Stras will settle down and dominate for the summer months. He'll figure the "head thing" out too. Time for everyone who's been calling him Jesus to give it a rest. Just let him be Stras, that's good enough for me. Guys like JZimm will be good models for him to be around. As for Zim, this will always be a nagging problem. Not as crazy as now, but what can you do but just let him play through this rough patch. Hope his red hot hitting comes sooner than later, and he forgets about having all the time in the world for a while.As for Harvey, sure he looks like the real deal, but so did Stras when he first came up. Baseball careers can be marathons too. Harp is a rarity.

  23. BxJaycobb - May 11, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    What is the team doing to address the Ryan situation? Because it IS a situation. You can't have a third basemen who throws half of the routine plays away and ever expect to be a great team. You just can't.As for Stras, there just isn't an excuse. I'm starting to get tired of this. Has the team given him 3 run leads every game? No. But do you think Matt Harvey, Shelby Miller, or any other highly touted phenom (and by the way, they weren't half as highly touted as this kid) melts down when something goes wrong? The Nats have to be careful how they work with this kid, because this is starting to develop into a pattern here. If the wheels come off against the Chicago Cubs….man…

  24. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 11, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    4.1 last year, not my question. I will take it with a grain of salt. Is it negative now?

  25. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Honestly, I think we win this game if the score holds at 4-1. If Zach Duke doesn't give up those 4 runs, I think we come back and win it.

  26. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    It is .1 this year.

  27. Secret wasian man - May 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    It has been shown this year that when things start to unravel Mattheus and Stammen are your best "fire putter outters."

  28. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    We couldn't use Stammen because he threw almost 60 pitches yesterday. And Davey didn't want to exhaust the bullpen. I understand why he used Duke, but Duke isn't reliable. We need someone who can get the job done.

  29. EmDash - May 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    By bullpen, I mostly just mean maybe Duke, I suppose.Hitting is a problem, it's true. Bench could see a shake-up. But in terms of starters…our best major-league ready starters are all here. Not much to be done but work on their swings and hope for the best, or trade. But a trade seems unlikely this early in the season.

  30. Secret wasian man - May 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    BX jaycobb. WELL SAID

  31. baseballswami - May 11, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Nice to see Henry throwing 100 and getting outs. Five game win streak. These things happen. Start again tomorrow.

  32. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Well the Braves are getting blown out for the 2nd straight now. They're down 10-1 and the Giants have RISP again.

  33. baseballswami - May 11, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    I am really glad Stras will miss LA and pitch in San Diego. Out of the limelight.

  34. EmDash - May 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    Haren had the wheels come off against the Marlins, which was worse, immediately following a Zimm error. His next few starts, he stepped it up. Stras can too.

  35. baseballswami - May 11, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    That's the spirit, emdash!!!!!!

  36. ehay2k - May 11, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    On a positive note (or two) : Henry got some work and looked good; the Barves are losing worse than we are; Eury Perez is up and if he plays well, we can use him in a trade.

  37. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper and Jordan Zimmermann are this team's MVPs. No doubt.

  38. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    .1. Will be interested what it is after today.His fielding woyld be tolerable if he was hitting like Desi. However he is hitting as bad as his fielding.

  39. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    I'm not the least bit worried about Zim's hitting. I've seen this before. He'll be fine. His throwing won't go away. That's concerning.

  40. NatsLady - May 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Thanks for the kind thoughts regarding my sister. Sorry if I seemed hard on Stras, but it's just very frustrating. You can say what you want, but he hasn't had a real dominating start since Opening Day.

  41. baseballswami - May 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Henry was really good!!!!!!!!

  42. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    @David Proctor would add Soriano, and a runner up to Craig Stammen

  43. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 11, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Too many swing at balls and lets strikes go.The approach is pathetic.

  44. David Proctor - May 11, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Just gotta win series. Anything else is gravy. Got a chance to do that tomorrow.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 56 --
ATLANTA 72 65 6.0
MIAMI 68 69 11.0
NEW YORK 64 73 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 74 15.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 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.

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