Aug 30, 2013, 3:26 PM EDT
Fresh of a sweep of the Marlins, their fifth series win in their last six overall, the Nationals pick up again on Friday night against the lowly New York Mets. It presents yet another opportunity for the Nats to take advantage of a reeling opponent as they try to chip away at a 6.5 game deficit between them and the final NL Wild Card spot.
Jordan Zimmermann (15-7, 3.32) has a chance to take the National League lead in wins against a team he’s yet to beat this season. Zimmermann has faced New York three times in 2013 and holds a 3.20 ERA across 19 2/3 innings, but stands 0-2 against the club. He last faced them on July 26 at Nats Park and allowed five runs through 6 2/3, taking the loss in a 11-0 blowout.
Dillon Gee (9-9, 3.69) will face Washington for the fifth time this season. He’s had great success against the Nats this year, going 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Sunny, 84 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from RF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
2B Anthony Rendon
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
LF Eric Young Jr.
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Andrew Brown
1B Ike Davis
CF Juan Lagares
3B Wilmer Flores 3B
C Travis d’Arnaud
SS Omar Quintanilla
RHP Dillon Gee
HP Brian Knight
1B Mark Carlson
2B Gerry Davis (cc)
3B Dan Iassogna
7:12 p.m. — Hey everyone, it’s Mark. After going to Bethesda for our 5 p.m. episode of The Baseball Show, I hoofed it down here as fast as I could and arrived in the press box just as Jordan Zimmermann was delivering the first pitch of the night. Zimmermann got into some trouble, issuing a leadoff walk to Eric Young Jr., letting him steal second and then take third on a deep flyball. But Jordan battled back and got out of the inning, so it’s scoreless as the Nats come up to bat.
7:25 p.m. — Nothing happening for the Nats in the bottom of the first, with three straight groundballs against Dillon Gee. But Zimmermann responded with his own 1-2-3 top of the second.
7:33 p.m. — And another 1-2-3 inning for Gee, who has had his way with the Nats all season and is off to a dominant start so far tonight. None of the six Nats who have stepped to the plate have hit the ball out of the infield so far. Scoreless after two.
7:48 p.m. — There’s the first hit of the night by either team. It came off Wilson Ramos’ bat, and it sailed over the left-field fence for a home run. That’s Ramos’ ninth homer in limited playing time this season, a nice total. And it gives the Nationals a 1-0 lead after three.
7:57 p.m. — That lead was short-lived. Ike Davis sends a 2-run homer to left-center off Zimmermann, putting the Mets up 2-1 in the fourth.
8:11 p.m. — Other than the Davis homer, which came on a first-pitch changeup, Zimmermann has been fantastic. He’s through five innings on only 59 pitches, displaying his usual efficiency. But the Nats have to get something going against Gee, who has recorded 10 of his 12 outs so far on grounders. Really keeping the ball down in the zone. It’s still 2-1 Mets as we move to the bottom of the fifth.
8:20 p.m. — Make it 13 of 15 outs recorded by Gee on groundballs, including a 6-4-3 off Rendon’s bat to end the fifth. Somehow, some way, the Nationals are going to need to figure out how to get under some of those pitches and get them into the air.
8:31 p.m. — The good news: The Nats did get a couple of balls into the air off Gee in the sixth. The bad news: They still didn’t score. Zimmerman’s two-out single was all they got. Onto the seventh inning already in what remains a 2-1 Mets lead.
8:39 p.m. — Zimmermann just cruising along. He’s through seven innings on 78 pitches, 61 of them strikes. Just a clinic he’s putting on tonight. Of course, he’s currently in line to take the loss because Gee is outperforming him. We’ve reached the seventh-inning stretch, still 2-1 New York.
8:46 p.m. — Man, LaRoche must feel right now like he can’t do anything right. He finally squared up a ball in the bottom of the seventh … and lined it directly into the Mets infield shift. It’s been that kind of summer for LaRoche, and that kind of night for the Nats, who still trail 2-1 and are down to their final six outs.
9:00 p.m. — Uh-oh. The Mets get a big insurance run in the top of the eighth when Zimmerman tries to make an impossible throw from foul territory all the way to first base, LaRoche can’t scoop it and Murphy scores all the way from second base. That makes it 3-1 New York and sends Zimmermann to the showers. But here’s another not-so-good sign: Randy Knorr made the pitching change. He’s at the top step of the dugout with the lineup card, next to Steve McCatty. There’s no sign of Davey Johnson in there.
9:18 p.m. — Whoa, Steve Lombardozzi with a pinch-hit home run with two outs in the eighth. That came out of nowhere. The Nats had a chance to tie the game, too, when Span and Zimmerman each singled, bringing Harper to the plate in a huge spot. Terry Collins countered with lefty Scott Rice, who fired three straight balls to Harper. But then Bryce swung at the 3-0 pitch and fouled it off, then grounded the 3-1 pitch to second base. Murphy bobbled the ball for a second, but Harper wasn’t running hard out of the box, and so he had no chance to beat it out. It’s 3-2 Mets going to the ninth.
9:23 p.m. — Last shot. It’s Werth, Desmond and LaRoche against LaTroy Hawkins.
9:30 p.m. — That’s it. Nats lose a tough one, 3-2. Awaiting word on Davey.
NL EAST STANDINGS
Through Tuesday's games
NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Tuesday's early games
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
Full season schedule
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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