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Game 159: Nats at Cardinals

Sep 25, 2013, 12:24 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

ST. LOUIS — Let’s see … the Nationals arrived in St. Louis on Monday having not beaten the Cardinals since Jayson Werth’s walk-off homer in Game 4 of last fall’s NLDS. Then they lost their series opener to officially be eliminated from the pennant race. Then they came within a couple of inches of being no-hit by Michael Wacha. It hasn’t been a particularly pleasant 48 hours here for the Nats, has it?

No, but perhaps they can get out of town on a high note this afternoon. If they do, they may just secure Jordan Zimmermann’s 20th win in the process. The right-hander, who already knows he’ll finish as the league leader in victories regardless, has tried to downplay the significance of this potential milestone. Make no mistake, though, he wants it.

Of course, the Nationals also will need to score some runs against rookie Shelby Miller, no slouch himself. The 22-year-old comes into this start with a 14-9 record and 3.12 ERA over 30 starts.

Updates to come, please check back…

Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 1:45 p.m. EDT
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from RF

CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
2B Steve Lombardozzi
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

2B Matt Carpenter
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
1B Matt Adams
C Yadier Molina
CF Jon Jay
3B David Freese
SS Daniel Descalso
RHP Shelby Miller

HP Jeff Kellogg (cc)
1B Eric Cooper
2B Chad Fairchild
3B Paul Schreiber

1:46 p.m. — We are underway on a Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis. Shelby Miller starts off Denard Span with a fastball for ball one.

2:04 p.m. — And the Nats give Jordan Zimmermann an early 1-0 lead, though it could’ve been more. Span drew a leadoff walk and stole second base (his 20th of the season), then took third on Ryan Zimmerman’s squibber in front of the plate. Jayson Werth also drew a walk, setting the stage for Bryce Harper to loft a bloop single to shallow left field, just in front of Matt Holliday’s diving attempt. Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche nearly dropped base hits in, too, but those were hauled in by Jon Jay. So it’s 1-0 Nats as Zimmermann takes the mound.

2:10 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 bottom of the first for Zimmermann, who needed only 13 pitches to dispose of Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Holliday. Nice catch by Span, who jumped at the base of the wall in center to snag Beltran’s drive for the second out. 1-0 Nats after one.

2:25 p.m. — Desmond just committed a highly irregular throwing error in the bottom of the second, airmailing the most routine throw he’ll ever get into the Cardinals dugout. That, along with a broken-bat single, left Zimmermann facing his first jam of the day, with two on and one out. But the righty got David Freese to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, so that bailed out Desmond and ended the second inning with the Nats still leading 1-0.

2:42 p.m. — Daniel Descalso, one of those pesky Cardinals who caused so much damage last October, led off the bottom of the third with a double to right-center, and ultimately came around to score. So it’s a 1-1 game after three.

3:03 p.m. — And the Cardinals keep pecking away at Zimmermann. Holliday led off the fourth getting hit by a pitch. Adams then doubled down the left-field line and Molina drove both in with a groundball single up the middle. It’s 3-1 St. Louis after four, with the Nats lineup now needing to get something going against Miller.

3:15 p.m. — Zimmermann rebounded with a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth, but the Nats still haven’t gotten much going against Miller, who has scattered three hits and two walks over his five innings. Heart of the order due up in the top of the sixth, trying to get the Nats going, still down 3-1.

3:20 p.m. — Not happening for the Nats in the sixth. They’ve scored only one run over the last 23 innings against Cardinals pitching.

3:31 p.m. — And Zimmermann’s struggles against the Cards continue. Adams launched a homer in the bottom of the sixth, the fourth St. Louis run to cross the plate so far today. There’s just something about this lineup that gets to Jordan. Nats trail 4-1 after six.

3:41 p.m. — The good news: The Nats got Miller out of the game. The bad news: Seth Maness entered and immediately induced a double play out of Ramos. We’ve reached the seventh-inning stretch and the Nats still trail 4-1.

3:49 p.m. — Zimmermann’s season is over. Unless the Nats rally late, he’ll finish the year 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA.

4:02 p.m. — And now the Nats are down to their last three outs. They just can’t do anything offensively against the St. Louis pitching staff.

4:08 p.m. — Last chance. Harper, Desmond, LaRoche vs. Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth.

4:13 p.m. — That’s it. The Nats lose 4-1, they get swept in this series and swept for the season against the Cardinals.

  1. natsfan1a - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    A game I can watch in real time – yes! (Oh, and a win would be nice, too.)

    • djbinfl - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Maybe you are the key the boys missed the last couple of nights.

  2. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Ws may be overrated, but that doesn’t stop them from having at least some meaning — especially on a personal level. I wish Mr. Zimmermann the best and I hope that the hitters can provide him with some run support. GYFNG!

  3. Section 222 - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    There is no doubt the Cards have our number. They are also a better team, at least this year. They have a powerful lineup and great young pitching. Plus, their manager knows what he’s doing. And he has Xadier Molina.

  4. jd - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I get playing the A lineup against a team still fighting for a division title but playing Ramos today and for that matter ALR makes 0 sense.

    • adcwonk - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      Ramos: .258/.278/.341/.619
      Solano: .159/.196/.205/.400

      That makes 0 sense?

      • jd - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        It makes 0 sense not based on the fact that Ramos is better than Solano (there is no doubt about that) but it makes no sense playing your no. 1 catcher in a day game after a night game after your team has been eliminated and risking a high valued commodity needlessly.

      • adcwonk - Sep 29, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        The entire context of this was: play (mostly) your good players when facing a team in a pennant race. Ramos has shows that, in part due to the fact that he missed the entire first half of the season, and also because there’s only a few games left, he can do fine in a day game after a night game — especially when it’s followed by a day off.

  5. langleyclub - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Totally agree about Davey’s inexplicable faith in ALR. Since the All-Star break, LaRoche’s slash line is .215/.330/.369. He is 0 for 15 against the Cardinals, and in the last 7 days, he is 2 for 19 with no extra base hits. Please sit him down!

  6. Sonny G 10 - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Be nice to see Jordan Zimmermann get win number 20. Be nice to have more than 84 wins also. Let’s go boys and win one for JZ and the fans.

  7. Sonny G 10 - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    I think I see why Seattle has a domed stadium. Otherwise the whole season would be rained out. My wife wants to go to the rain forest. I told her all she had to do was look out our camper window. :)

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Sonny G10: I feel for you. Our first three years here (2010-2012) the rains didn’t really start until after Halloween. But this year it appears they’ve started early and aren’t going to stop until next Spring.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      And if you plan to visit Crater Lake, be aware that it’s already started snowing there.

      • Sonny G 10 - Sep 25, 2013 at 8:27 PM

        Thanks Eugene, my wife had thought about going to Crater Lake.

  8. tcostant - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    I really hope Jimm can get his 20th win and then sign a 6 year $100M extention in this offseason.

    • tcostant - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      Meant “Jzimm

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Just another unforced error.

    Desi goes a good 20-20 plus a bad 20.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      a unique 20/20/20. I wonder how many shortstops have done that.

  10. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    It just registered that span stole on Yadi. Nice! I will need to check that highlight out later.

    • NatsLady - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      Good throw, but Span made a good, tough, feet-first slide.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      He would have been out if the 2B had held onto the ball (but Mr. Span gets props for knocking the glove off the 2B’s hand and the ball out of the glove).

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        That kind of diminshes the fact for me. I will check it out later.

  11. NatsLady - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Heard Davey on the radio. Rizzo must be COUNTING the minutes!!! (Rizzo just said it was “old news” when it was his turn.) I’m thinking maybe it will be Knorr (assuming NY re-ups Girardi), on the theory Rizzo won’t want another high-profile manager–at least not right away.

    • knoxvillenat - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM


      For those of us out-of-towners who don’t get the radio feed, what are you referring to? Did Davey say something that would cause Rizzo to cringe or what?

      • NatsLady - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        Knoxville, Davey regularly comes (came) on 106.7 every Wednesday about 8 a.m., and Mike Rizzo at 11:30. You can get that radio station on an app like Tune-In radio…

        Anyway, Davey said the Nats probably would have won the WS last year if Stras hadn’t been shut down.

  12. NatsLady - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    ALR didn’t look so good on that play… But it’s hard to prevent the Cards from getting a run when you give them a lead-off double.

    RIzzo said his three “weaknesses” were offensive efficiency (take a good long look at the Cards), front end of the bullpen and the bench.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Cards are very good at shortening up their swings to make contact in those pitcher counts like 0-2.

  14. paul brandt - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    the Cardinals field is a dog track…can’t believe they allowed a college football game to be played on it given how close they are to playoff baseball…wait until someone gets hurt or the field impacts a big play in October.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Molina just showed what I wish Ian Desmond would learn about the approach with RISP.

  16. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Matt Adams scored from 2nd on a single? How?

  17. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Cardinals lead the league in runs/game in 2013, they were second in 2012, first again in 2011, and were above league average in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

    Is it individual players’ skills (they did, of course, have Albert Pujols for some of those years), coaching, approach, scouting, or what? It’s not the park, which plays almost perfectly fair.

  18. natsfan1a - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    This just in from the basement baseball viewing lair: I really, really don’t like the Cardinals. That is all.

  19. djbinfl - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    So question on the timing of naming the new manager. Aren’t coaches usually informed of their status for next year immediately after the season? Do all our coaches become free agents while Rizzo makes a decision, and a new manager decides if he wants any of them on his staff? Seems to me a lot of in-house continuity could be lost if Rizzo takes to long. I do not see many on our current staff willing to go back to our minors. Any one know what we might expect.

  20. Hiram Hover - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    That Atlanta series last week lulled me into a false sense of security, but now I remember – this is what it’s like when the Nats actually face a good team. Sigh.

  21. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    actually Nats did score a run in 8th inning of first game so what you said is not true, Mark.

  22. naterialguy - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    The Nats just seemed to lose their spirit once they were eliminated.
    The 8 days that started with the navy yard included two double headers and playoff elimination I think has just sapped them.
    it makes me wonder if they would have had the energy if they had somehow squeezed into the playoffs

  23. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    Span is such a good fielder. That was a nice catch on Beltran in first inning.

  24. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    In his 3:31 p.m. update Mark Zuckerman. wrote: “And Zimmermann’s struggles against the Cards continue. Adams launched a homer in the bottom of the sixth, the fourth St. Louis run to cross the plate so far today. There’s just something about this lineup that gets to Jordan.”


    I know that Mr. Zimmermann has some particular issues against the Cardinals, but remember that St. Louis averages 4.82 runs per game. In other words, their line-up gets to almost all pitchers and pitching staffs.

  25. secretwasianman - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    So the Nats get fat beating weak teams. Now comes a real team and they get swept out. Here’s to a very mediocre 2013. THUDDDDDDDDDDD

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:51 PM

      Is STL the only ‘real’ team? what about us beating Braves? Please apply some other logic to come up with an excuse for that series win.

      • snerdblurter - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:13 PM

        6-12 on the season series is not “beating the Braves”….. not to mention the multiple soul-crushing late inning comeback wins they pulled on us.

        Against the 5 NL Playoff teams, the Nats went 16-29. Hows that for logic?

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        we were talking about the later stretch, not the whole season.

      • snerdblurter - Sep 25, 2013 at 5:16 PM

        Point still stands. ATL has been on cruise control for the last month. They won’t get past the first round.

        And without that miraculous 9th inning comeback in the first game of that series, ATL takes two of three.

        I think the bottom line is that this was not a mentally strong team. They got inside their own heads and didn’t perform well in big situations or against good teams. Last year’s team was loose and playing with house money, this year’s team was weighed down by expectations and was crippled by the pressure.

        How many times throughout the first 3 months did they put together a couple of strong games to pick up some momentum and then get smoked by the Marlins or Mets the following day? How many times did they post a couple of runs in the first inning and then not register another hit for the rest of the game. Hell, I dont think we had a hit against the Braves bullpen before September. And how telling was Storen’s inability to handle the fact that Rizzo brought Soriano in? Agree or disagree with signing Soriano, act like professional ball players.

        Injuries will provide a convenient excuse, but they may be masking a fatal flaw. I just hope whoever replaces Davey can right the ship and get the best out of what is clearly a highly talented group of guys.

  26. jd - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM


    It makes 0 sense to have Ramos in today’s lineup not based on the fact that Ramos is better than Solano (there is no doubt about that) but it makes no sense playing your no. 1 catcher in a day game after a night game after your team has been eliminated and risking a high valued commodity needlessly.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      I actually dont understand why most of the starters are in…

    • Hiram Hover - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      I can see the rationale for starting them, to put your best team on the field and get JZimm the W. But we’re way past that now.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:11 PM

        That is where I am Hiram… We are way past it… We got eliminated the other night.. Got guys who are banged up.. Just played a night game…

        Start the rest early…

  27. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Just saw Span’s steal. Yadi had him caught if Carp applies the tag right but it was a clean slide.

  28. jd - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Matheny is not fooling around.

  29. naterialguy - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    This sucks

  30. jd - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    no 20 wins for Jordan.

  31. roosevelt666hawkins - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    The Nationals, at their best, are a very good baseball team.
    Just not a great one.
    Solidly in the second tier of the National League, in the company
    of the Pirates and the Reds (save for the fact that they, not we,
    are in the playoffs.

    We are not a first tier club.
    Not competitive with teams like St. Louis, Atlanta or L.A.
    We lose, and will consistently continue to lose, 75% (or so) of games played
    against these teams.
    For a reason:
    They each have better personel throughout their rosters.

    It’s not just the Nats’ 2013 bullpen, or bench, or first-half defense,
    or inconsistent performances (at one time or another) from all starting pitchers.
    It’s also the regulars/position players who don’t do what the players
    on the good teams do; which is hit safely with men on base,
    or at least put the ball in play to advance runners.
    Individual batting statistics are unhelpful on a club with a poor batting
    average with RISP (compare and contrast: Cardinals v. Nats, e.g.)

    Can/will a new manager effect a change ?
    But perhaps also our cherished starters (infield, outfield, backstop, pitchers)
    are simply not good enough; not the stuff of a championship team.

    The off-season evaluations must be candid and thorough.
    No icon should be safe; no fan-favorite unexamined.
    There is no player on the Nationals’ 40-man roster who is not
    expendable if the team can benefit from the change.

    Roosevelt Hawkins
    Washington, D.C.

  32. naterialguy - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    and just who on earth are Roosevelt? What makes you so smart? Last I saw your ancestors couldn’t buy a victory at the presidents race. And basically you are one of the top contenders all of a sudden in 2013? Do the letters P-E-D mean anything to you???
    uh huh, I thought so.
    If your going to post such blatant blasphemy on these hollowed boards I demand you first pee in the cup.
    Then, and only then will i begin to consider your unfounded ludicrous statement a remotely worthwhile read





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)...

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