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Game 30: Braves at Nats

May 8, 2015, 3:23 PM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

After a much-needed off-day, the Nationals are back at it tonight, opening a 3-game weekend series against the Braves, trying to get back to the .500 mark with a victory tonight.

The Nats get Jayson Werth back in the lineup after the veteran left fielder sat out two games (plus the off-day) with his surgically repaired shoulder acting up. There should be plenty of eyes on Werth tonight, both at the plate and in the field, seeing if the rest did him any good.

Gio Gonzalez gets the start against fellow left-hander Eric Stults. Check back for updates throughout please…

ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where:
Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 99.1 FM, XM 183
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF

NATIONALS
CF Denard Span
3B Yunel Escobar
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
LHP Gio Gonzalez

BRAVES
RF Nick Markakis
SS Andrelton Simmons
1B Freddie Freeman
LF Jonny Gomes
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Alberto Callaspo
2B Phil Gosselin
CF Cameron Maybin
LHP Eric Stults

UMPIRES
HP Paul Schrieber
1B Fieldin Culbreth (cc)
2B Jim Reynolds
3B Manny Gonzalez

7:05 p.m. — And we’re underway on a beautiful, 77-degree Friday night in the District. Gio Gonzalez fires strike one to Nick Markakis to get this one going.

7:20 p.m. — And the Braves get a quick run in the top of the first, though not without a bit of controversy. Gonzalez hit Andrelton Simmons on the back foot with a curveball, but Simmons appeared to move that foot out of the batter’s box before getting hit. He wasn’t even originally awarded first base, not until he argued and the umpires conferred. That proved costly, because it put Simmons in position to advance to third base on a double by (who else?) Freddie Freeman and then score on Jonny Gomes’ sac fly. The Nats, meanwhile, went down in order against Eric Stults. So it’s 1-0 Atlanta after one.

7:37 p.m. — The good news: Singles by Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos (now batting .326 with a 12-game hit streak) put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the second. The bad news: Neither guy advanced beyond that after Ian Desmond struck out at a 2-2 fastball high and away and Danny Espinosa struck out at an 0-2 fastball. That simply can’t happen like that. Still 1-0 Atlanta after two.

7:53 p.m. — Another inning, another ball roped to the right-center field gap by Freeman. I mean, come on. This one was a double that wound up scoring Simmons from first base, though the Nationals’ relay appeared to have him nailed at the plate … if only Ramos had been able to hold onto the one-hop throw. Yes, that’s a recurring issue. So it’s 2-0 Braves after three, but get a hold of this stat: Over the last two seasons, Freeman is a .295 hitter. But take out his 42-for-89 performance against the Nats, and he’s only a .269 hitter. Yowza!

8:10 p.m. — More good news, bad news in the fourth. Good news: Jayson Werth’s shoulder must be feeling better after three days off ’cause he just clobbered his first homer of the season way into the left-field bleachers. Bad news: Bryce Harper followed with a single to center, then strayed too far off first base and got gunned down by Andrelton Simmons for his first TOOTBLAN of the season. (For the uninitiated, that’s Thrown Out On The Bases Like A Nincompoop.) Nats down 2-1 after four.

8:21 p.m. — Aside from what Freeman has done to him (not to mention every other pitcher wearing a curly W cap) Gonzalez has been pretty good tonight. He has retired seven straight and takes the mound for the top of the sixth having thrown 77 pitches, allowing two runs on four hits with only one walk. The Nats need to get something else going against Stults, though. Still 2-1 Braves.

8:36 p.m. — He’s done it again: Harper has homered. This one was a 2-run moonshot just over the fence in deep left-center, into the Red Porch seats. That’s his fourth homer in seven at-bats, his ninth homer overall this season. And it has given the Nats a 3-2 lead after six innings.

8:56 p.m. — Big insurance run for the Nats in the bottom of the seventh, with Danny Espinosa (who struck out twice right-handed tonight) homering from the left side of the plate. Funny game, this baseball. Gio Gonzalez is done, meanwhile, and this was a fantastic start by the lefty: 7 innings of 2-run ball, with only one walk and eight strikeouts. He retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. 4-2 Nats as Matt Grace enters for a big top of the eighth against the top of the Atlanta order.

9:12 p.m. — Oh my god, he’s done it again! Bryce Harper with a 3-run homer to right-center in the eighth, his fifth homer in eight at-bats, earning his second curtain call in as many games. He’s now tied for the NL lead with Todd Frazier, with 10 homers overall. Then Espinosa did it again himself, giving the Nat a commanding 9-2 lead.

9:26 p.m. — It’s over. The Nats win 9-2. They’ve won 8 of 10 and are back at .500 for the season.

129 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Eugene in Oregon - May 8, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    GYFNG!

    • jfmii - May 8, 2015 at 3:42 PM

      I have to ask, what is GYFNG?

      • nats128 - May 8, 2015 at 3:46 PM

        Go You F^$&(#g Nats Go.

      • jfmii - May 8, 2015 at 3:46 PM

        Thanks

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 8, 2015 at 11:29 PM

        Nats Insider Drinks Owed + Spreadsheet
        glossary

  2. Section 222 - May 8, 2015 at 3:33 PM

    I know it’s a minority view around here, but I’d really like to see Uggla get some starts against a lefties before Rendon returns.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 8, 2015 at 3:35 PM

      Historically, Espinosa hits lefthanders better than Uggla does. But I agree that it would be nice to see what, if anything, Uggla has left.

    • nats128 - May 8, 2015 at 3:47 PM

      I disagree for the reasons mentioned that Espi hits LHs better which would mean you give Uggs the starts against RHPs that hes had success against.

    • bowdenball - May 8, 2015 at 3:52 PM

      I’d be curious to hear why you’d like to see that.

      • Section 222 - May 8, 2015 at 4:15 PM

        Mainly because Uggla ought to have a chance to feat on lefties too. If you’re going to have to decide on one versus the other when Rendon comes back (and maybe that’s not going to be the case), it’s not really a fair fight if Espi gets all the lefties. Plus, I don’t think career numbers are all that meaningful, and I probably rate Espi’s defense lower than most people.

      • Hiram Hover - May 8, 2015 at 4:20 PM

        I’d kind of like to see Uggla vs LHP out of curiosity, but that’s all it is.

        I don’t think the team owes him anything beside a league minimum salary–fairness doesn’t have much to do with it.

        As to defense–even if you think Espi’s defense at 2B is over-rated, his versatility–ability to play 3B and SS–puts him miles ahead of Uggla.

      • bowdenball - May 8, 2015 at 4:25 PM

        Fair enough.

        I don’t get the feeling that there’s much of a decision to be made when Rendon returns, though. Even if Uggla were the better hitter, I think that Espi’s superior defense, defensive flexibility, baserunning and switch-hittedness give him a clear edge. Uggla would have to badly outperform Espi to make up for all that stuff.

      • Section 222 - May 8, 2015 at 4:45 PM

        You’re probably right bb. It’s just that since that second 13 run game in Atlanta, Espi has started 6 out of our 8 games, all but one against a RH pitcher. He has 3 hits and 4 Ks in 20 PAs, and his slashline is .150/.150/.200. I’m just not convinced that he’s turned the corner offensively, and when Rendon returns, you’ve got Esco for versatility.

    • sec105rowwseat28 - May 8, 2015 at 4:43 PM

      Uggla isn’t competing with Espinosa for a roster spot when Rendon returns. Espinosa’s spot is secure. He can back up three of the four infield positions. Uggla OTOH is a one-dimensional player. Bat only. In that role, he’s competing with Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson. One of those three will be gone as soon as Rendon is activated.

      • Section 222 - May 8, 2015 at 4:56 PM

        You could be right 105, but I wouldn’t be quite so sure. (You’re always sure of everything you say, so that’s advice that will fall on deaf ears I’m sure. But the wildcard here is options. Espi has them, Moore and Uggla do not. Not sure about Robinson, but he’s our only LH bench bat. Rizzo isn’t quick to release a player who might be helpful to the team at some point.

        As I noted above in response to bb, once Rendon is back, Espi’s ability to play all three infield positions becomes much less valuable. Esco can play all three positions, so with Uggla on the team, if any of Desi, Rendon, or Esco need a day off, we’re covered without Espi.

        We’ll see.

      • Section 222 - May 8, 2015 at 5:00 PM

        CRob doesn’t have options either.

      • sec105rowwseat28 - May 8, 2015 at 5:51 PM

        As Dylan once said, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. In addition to the defensive versatility he provides, Espinosa is having his best offensive year since 2011. He’s out-performed Uggla at the plate. Uggla does have the big HR against Atlanta to his credit. Tyler Moore has a couple of pinch hits, but aside from being a feel-good story what has Clint Robinson done for this team? Rizzo’s not going to option Espinosa just so he doesn’t have to say goodbye to one of those three guys.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 8, 2015 at 9:23 PM

      Looks like starting Espinosa was the right call tonight. Wow!

      • Section 222 - May 8, 2015 at 10:12 PM

        Indeed. I’m about to eat some humble pie in a comment.

  3. langleyclub - May 8, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    As a team, the Nats score more than a run per game more against lefty starters. Not shocking given the right-handed dominated lineup. Stults only win this year came against Fister and the Nats (8-4 on April 27). Stults last time out, the Reds beat him up 11 hits 6 runs 8-4 loss. Nats got to win this one.

    • adcwonk - May 8, 2015 at 3:56 PM

      IIRC, Nats munched on lefties last year. Let’s see a repeat of that tonight!!

      • BatBoy - May 8, 2015 at 4:12 PM

        GYFNG !!! Yep!!!

  4. janebeard - May 8, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    I’m liking Danny these days against lefties. on the other hand, Uggla handed it to the Braves last time, so I hope we see him too. Not holding out much hope to see Anthony any time soon.

    GYFNG

  5. natsfan1a - May 8, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    Go, Nats, go!

  6. ehay2k - May 8, 2015 at 6:24 PM

    I’d like to see Uggla play against his old team, and a lefty to boot. There’s just the potential for a big story there.

    I also want Rizzo to be able to showcase Uggla, because if and when he needs to move him, he can actually get something for a serviceable, veteran 2b with a paltry $500k salary. Even if we get nothing for him, there is no way Rizzo simply DFAs him, which would allow the Barves to claim him. Rizzo wants his pound of flesh from Atlanta.

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 7:10 PM

    Frickin Freddie…. ugh

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:12 PM

    Simmons moves his right foot out of the batters box and behind the plate to get HBP’d. That’s something you don’t see every day. Leads to a run for the bad guys.

  9. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 7:24 PM

    I think that guy Ryan is a good 1st baseman…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:28 PM

      Thats a double in the corner almost every time.

  10. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:27 PM

    That was a crazy Web Gem! RZim special!

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:29 PM

    FP talking about RZim purposely only came off the base a little with Maybin batting “by design”. Really FP? Does he really believe this stuff?

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    I don’t like Zim without his Zimmermitt sliding fingers first.

  13. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:33 PM

    Look at that oppo boppo 2 strike stroke by Ramos!!!!

    I will ask again, why wasn’t Ramos on the NatsInsider “Hot List” yesterday?

  14. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    Come on Desi. Not only did you swing at a ball at your eyeballs, you have to make good contact.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:36 PM

    Blue just called that a strike on Espi on the 1st pitch? Come on.

  16. Danny - May 8, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    That’s pathetic

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    With the Barves in a similar situation in the 1st inning, Jonny Gomes delivers the productive out for a run. Desi the Silver Slugger can’t do the same as he was trying for the 5 run homer.

  18. section309 - May 8, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    Desi is the worlds worst situational hitter. Whoever signs him next year is make a grave mistake.

    • philipd763 - May 8, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      He may have to take a one year contract. Can’t believe the Nats offered him $110 million and can’t believe he was dumb enough to turn it down. He will be 30 next year and that’s getting long in the tooth for a short stop.

  19. Danny - May 8, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    Nice play Rube..

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    Flub in centerfield and a replay that skips is the recipe for disaster. 2 runs. Come on guys.

  21. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    Just walk Freddie from now on…. dang.

  22. natslive - May 8, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    Ramos needs to catch that – close but I think that’s an out if he catches it.

  23. philipd763 - May 8, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    Ramos will never win any Gold Glove awards.

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Danny has to be able to be able to throw a strike to home. Short hops have become dicey on picking the ball.

    • Danny - May 8, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      Pretty great throw imo.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:55 PM

        A skipped throw is always going to be chancey with a catchers mitt coming up and Ramos has a difficulty with it. Throw a strike and you have better odds. 1st baseman with a scoop glove have a difficult time on short hops.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 8:11 PM

        Steve,you know that I disagree with you on the hop throw to the plate, but more from the outfielders than the infielders, but come on, Wilson has problems on throws in the air, or on the hop, That is just not a strong part of the game for an otherwise very good defensive catcher.

  25. sunshinebobby - May 8, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Question for the old timers: who has worse hands, Ramos or Dick Stuart?

    • philipd763 - May 8, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      Toss up!

      • manassasnatsfan - May 8, 2015 at 10:44 PM

        Dick Stuart much worse, playing first base made it even worse. Wasn’t his nickname iron hands? Or is that just what I called him.

  26. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 7:53 PM

    1st pitch swinging. Smart, not smart.

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    Rest days will do you good JDub! HR!!!!

  28. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    FP: Angry shoulder, hit ball far.

  29. Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    What’s up, Chuck? That Werth guy really stinks, eh?

  30. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:04 PM

    Carp, I think that was a breaking pitch to Harp on pitch #1, not a changeup.

  31. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:05 PM

    TOOTBLAN?

  32. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:05 PM

    After I complimented Bryce earlier today on good baserunning. What was I thinking.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:07 PM

      Mistakes adding up.

    • knoxvillenat - May 8, 2015 at 8:09 PM

      Better question, what the hell was Harper thinking?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:10 PM

        That’s what I’m wondering because I just don’t know.

  33. natslive - May 8, 2015 at 8:07 PM

    Dumb Bryce just dumb……and no Zman gets a hit

  34. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    Idk if that was dumb baserunning….

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:09 PM

      It wasn’t smart. LOL

    • nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:10 PM

      Dumb or not he was out in a strange way.

  35. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    Desi gets 2nd life. Make them pay!

  36. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:10 PM

    I don’t even know what to say about Desi..

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:14 PM

      At least that at-bat he didn’t have a runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs.

  37. natslive - May 8, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    At least Werth got us within a run…..now Gio needs to have a shutdown inning

  38. Danny - May 8, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    Why is Stultz blowing Dez/Espy away on 2 strikes…

    • knoxvillenat - May 8, 2015 at 8:28 PM

      Because they are Des and Espy…..they are what they are.

  39. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    Unbelievable… almost Span… almost…

    • Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 8:37 PM

      Bob Carpenter got you on that one, MrsB.

      Bob was reserved on Harp’s ball while it was going out. It certainly wasn’t too far out of Maybin’s reach, but enough!

  40. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:27 PM

    How many times does Gio need to strikeout Gomes in in 1 at-bat?

  41. Danny - May 8, 2015 at 8:27 PM

    Gio is locked in.

  42. ehay2k - May 8, 2015 at 8:28 PM

    Gomes forgot that here he sits in the Visitor’s dugout after he strikes out.

  43. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:29 PM

    Gio ten consecutive outs! Looking tough with two K’s in the bottom of the fifth!

  44. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    Wow Harper… wow….

  45. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    My main man Yuni getting on to start the sixth. Then JDub pops to short. GYFNG!

    Harp up facing Stultz at about 75 pitches, 1-1 count, whiff for 1-2, And YARD!

    N A T S Nats Nats Nats

    Nats 3 Barves 2!

  46. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    That ball had some back spin by Harper! HR!!!!

  47. ehay2k - May 8, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    Well done boys, well done!

  48. natslive - May 8, 2015 at 8:35 PM

    There is our offense! Way to go Bryce and make up for the baserunning error.

  49. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:39 PM

    FP Please don’t talk so much. Don’t analyze Harp’s swing. Learn from your mistakes.

  50. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:40 PM

    Fast hook please!

  51. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:40 PM

    I’m pulling Gio here. Good outing. Thanks.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:45 PM

      Gio gets the pinch-hitter but that wasn’t a risk I would have taken. It worked out and the Manager looks like a genius.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:47 PM

        Lol… uhm idk if he looks like a genius… but it just worked out, THIS time…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:50 PM

        I got a good text from a friend who makes a good point that if Matty brings in the rightie to face Ciraco, the Barves then counter with a lefty.

        It worked out but Gio just left that hanger to Gosselin that missed a homer by a couple of feet.

  52. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:43 PM

    Nobody up yet? Am I missing it? Gio about to get out of this but still…

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:48 PM

      Actually double barrel going in the bullpen. Bizarre he didn’t pull him when Ciriaco stepped in to pinch-hit.

  53. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:45 PM

    OMG. Gio gets two K’s to get out of the seventh!

    • nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:49 PM

      Oops, out of the sixth.

  54. Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    Glad you guys weren’t managing there. Now I believe Gio is done for the night.

    • nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:53 PM

      I just asked for a quick hook. One on and Gio took care of business. Good play by MW. No need to go get him. Excellent work by Gio!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:58 PM

      What did you gain net/net. We will never know if the reliever gets the last out. It worked out.

  55. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:48 PM

    I’ve been depressed since hearing about John Wall… only a Nats win will help me get out of it…

    And a Wiz win tomorrow, but that’s another discussion for another day… and possibly discussion board.

    • ehay2k - May 8, 2015 at 8:54 PM

      Caps win tonight won’t hurt, right?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:58 PM

        Not a huge hockey fan… but def rooting for the caps….

      • Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 9:00 PM

        Caps/NYR no score at the end of 2nd period.

  56. natslive - May 8, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Espinosa!

  57. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Alright Espim.. alright….

  58. nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Espi apologist puffing chest!

    • ehay2k - May 8, 2015 at 8:55 PM

      From the left side too!

      • nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 8:58 PM

        No AB’s in Spring from the left side. Incredible how he just moved over to the other side of the plate and started looking like a player from three years ago!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 9:03 PM

        Natsaddicted. I totally disagree. Espi has never looked this good for this long of a period from the left-side.

      • nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 9:21 PM

        Yup!

  59. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:51 PM

    Nice Espi.

  60. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 8:56 PM

    Matt Harvey will not get a Win tonight. In line for a L.

    • trom1 - May 8, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      Pappelbon in for Phils

  61. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 9:00 PM

    6-4-3 doublplay, the pitcher’s best friend!!!

  62. Ghost of Steve M. - May 8, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Escobar plays some great 2nd base! LOL Shift works!

  63. Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    Amazing Grace!

  64. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 9:08 PM

    Wow Bryce… wow…

    Are you kidding me..

    • ehay2k - May 8, 2015 at 9:12 PM

      Bryce hit his pitch. A little.

      Feel sorry for the rookie pitcher, more because he is a Barve than for the night he is having.

  65. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 9:10 PM

    Yeah… Harper is overrated….

    Whatevs…

    • nataddicted - May 8, 2015 at 9:23 PM

      Not just overrated, THE MOST OVERRATED?!?

  66. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 9:19 PM

    Hmmmm….. hitting seems to be contagious….

  67. Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    New player on the roster? Bryce Espinosa!

  68. knoxvillenat - May 8, 2015 at 9:23 PM

    Espinosa matches Harper with his second home run of the night!

    Watching the Barves television broadcast, it is amazing how humble they get when the Nats start a beat down on them.

  69. Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 9:26 PM

    Great time to give Blake Treinan a confidence building, low pressure workout. But can he go an inning without giving up a walk?

    • knoxvillenat - May 8, 2015 at 9:27 PM

      No.

  70. Mrsb loves the Nats - May 8, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    P what a great game.

  71. Joe Seamhead - May 8, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    I don’t think Dan Uggla makes that catch that Danny just ended the game with. Not today, not yesterday, not yesteryear.

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