May 20, 2013, 10:50 PM EDT
Beautiful AT&T Park hosts the Nationals for the next three days.
What's the best cure for a struggling lineup? How about the return of its best hitter from injury? Bryce Harper is back tonight for the Nationals, having missed the last two games in San Diego over the weekend with a bruised knee (from his collision with the wall in L.A. one week ago). His presence in the No. 3 spot really does make that starting lineup look a lot more formidable, especially with Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche each on a tear at the plate right now.
The Nationals might need an offensive explosion tonight, because they're sending to the mound someone who wasn't in their original Opening Day rotation for the first time this season. With Ross Detwiler hampered by a slight oblique strain, Zach Duke gets the nod for his first MLB start since 2011. The veteran lefty has been erratic out of the bullpen so far, but his background is as a starter, so perhaps he'll be more comfortable taking the ball for the first inning tonight.
Duke will be working with Jhonatan Solano, getting a rare start behind the plate. Struggling Ryan Vogelsong is on the mound for the defending World Series champion Giants, who are struggling themselves at the moment and desperately need to get themselves back on track.
As you know, I'm not on this West Coast trip, but I'll be staying up late and watching along with the rest of you. Enjoy the game and the conversation…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 10:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 189
Weather: Clear, 63 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to RF
CF Denard Span
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
NL EAST STANDINGS
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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)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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- MLB Power Rankings: Marlins falling, Phillies rising
- Where the Nats stand at the quarter pole
- Mark Zuckerman gives his take on Harper, Williams ejections
- Harper stories from his college teammate, Chasen Shreve
- Scherzer on his start, chocolate sauce & Harper-Miggy
- That time Stephen Strasburg was on Letterman
- After shaky 1st inning, Zimmermann cruises
- Nationals Stock Watch: Other hot bats besides Harper
- Hershey's pitches in to help Nationals continue sweet celebrations
- Harper, Williams strongly disagree with ejections from win vs. Yankees