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Game 137: Mets at Nats

Sep 7, 2015, 9:57 AM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

In nearly 11 years of baseball back in the District, the Nationals have barely played any regular-season games of truly significant magnitude. Think about it: They ran away with the NL East title in both 2012 and 2014. They collapsed in 2005 before hitting the stretch run. They waited too long to go on their run in 2013.

Really, the only game in the last decade that comes to mind as a must-win game against another club in the race for the division came on July 21, 2012. The Nats had blown a 9-run lead to the Braves the night before, then lost the opener of a doubleheader, 4-0. Their lead was down to 1 1/2 games, and they needed John Lannan to come up from Syracuse to win the nightcap … which he did. And they were never really threatened again.

This, then, is arguably the biggest series this team has ever played, down 4 games to the Mets and trying to trim that deficit by at least another game by Wednesday night. The matchup for today’s opener is a favorable one, with Max Scherzer (0-2, but with an 0.61 ERA in two starts vs. New York this season) on the hill against Jonathan Niese (0-4 with a 4.50 ERA the last two seasons against the Nationals).

Ryan Zimmerman is back in the lineup after sitting out yesterday’s game, and everybody else is good to go, so the Nats have a full lineup. If you’re coming to the park or watching from home, check back here often for updates throughout…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 89/869
Weather: Sunny, 85 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to CF

LF Jayson Werth
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Yunel Escobar
SS Ian Desmond
C Wilson Ramos
CF Michael Taylor
RHP Max Scherzer

METS (75-61)
RF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright
1B Daniel Murphy
CF Yoenis Cespedes
LF Michael Conforto
C Travis d’Arnaud
2B Kelly Johnson
SS Wilmer Flores
LHP Jonathan Niese

HP Paul Nauert
1B Dana DeMuth (cc)
2B Mike Estabrook
3B Ed Hickox

1:05 p.m. — And we’re underway on a scorching hot Labor Day here on South Capitol Street. Big crowd on hand, and a boisterous one at that.

1:25 p.m. — Talk about a wild top of the first. Two pitches in, Jayson Werth lost Curtis Granderson’s flyball in the sun. Then Granderson took third on a wild pitch, leaving Max Scherzer in a huge jam. But he got out of it, thanks to some respect for Bryce Harper’s arm (the Mets wouldn’t run on him on a routine flyball to right, and he fired a one-hop strike to the plate) and Scherzer’s ability to strike out both Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes. Big roar from the crowd after that one. The Nats, meanwhile, went down in order against Jonathan Niese, who struck out Harper on three pitches. Scoreless after one.

1:39 p.m. — Uh-oh, Scherzer’s home run issue continues. The Mets sent two balls over the fence in the top of the second, with Michael Conforto going opposite-field on a first-pitch fastball and Kelly Johnson taking an 0-1 breaking ball to right-center. That’s now 10 homers surrendered by Scherzer in his last 30 innings, which is not good at all. Seems like every ball hit hard off him is clearing the fence. The Nats had a chance to get something back in the bottom of the second, with singles by Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, but Yunel Escobar and Wilson Ramos each hit groundballs, the latter an inning-ending double play. So the Nats will have to rally today, down 2-0 after two.

1:57 p.m. — A pair of walks (to Scherzer and Rendon) brought Harper to the plate with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the third. Harper did what he needed to, lining a ball the other way off the lefty, but it was snagged by Conforto, and so the Nats strand a pair. Still 2-0 after three.

2:25 p.m. — Wow, what a turn of events in the fourth inning. The Mets got another solo homer, this one from Cespedes, who lofted one just over the left-field wall. But the Nats responded with one of their biggest offensive innings of the season, all things considered. They loaded the bases with one out for Ramos, who went down and crushed a 1-2 breaking ball below the knees and sent it flying over the left-field bullpen for a game-changing grand slam. The crowd erupted, and remained loud in a manner I’m not sure I ever remember for a regular-season game here. Just electric, and it continued through Werth’s RBI double, making this a 5-3 Nats lead and an early trip to the showers for Niese.

Chase here taking over for Mark while he starts his game story

2:59 p.m. — The Mets added another run to make it 5-4 in the fifth inning on back-to-back doubles by Tejada and Granderson. Scherzer has now given up four earned runs or more in four of his last six outings. The Nats got two men in scoring position with Scherzer due up. Instead of using a pinch-hitter – with Scherzer struggling and all – Matt Williams left him in there to bat. He promptly grounded out to second base to end the frame.

3:22 p.m. — The decision to leave Scherzer in there backfired as he gave up the tying run in the sixth. Cespedes led off with a double and moved to third on a balk. d’Arnaud then lined out to left field to score Cespedes and make it 5-5. Cespedes may have been aided by a sliding grab made by Werth, as it delayed his throw attempt to home. On to the seventh.

3:56 p.m. — The seventh inning was a complete trainwreck for the Nats, as they now trail the Mets 8-5. Blake Treinen began the inning and allowed a single. Felipe Rivero came in two batters later with a man on first and one out and walked Granderson. Casey Janssen then came in and allowed an RBI single to Wright. Williams only allowed Janssen to face one batter, as well, as he then turned to Matt Thornton. Thornton gave up an RBI double to Cespedes. The Nats went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning, so Rafael Martin will now come in to pitch the eighth with the Nats down three runs.

4:13 p.m. — It’s still 8-5 Mets after the eighth inning. Martin tossed a scoreless inning with a two-out single his only blemish. The Nats then went down 1-2-3 including a strikeouts by Taylor and Danny Espinosa, who replaced Yunel Escobar.

4:32 p.m. — Nats lose 8-5 in series opener to Mets. They are now five games back in the NL East.

110 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Steady Eddie - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    I’ll be there in sec 136 in my seats down in Harp’s Corner, standing and cheering!

  2. rmoore446 - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    I’ll be in Sec 109 with my two Nats fan grandsons and son-in-law who is a lifelong Mets fan. I doubt we’ll ever convert him. Needless to say I want this win alot.

  3. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Two or three weeks ago, I wrote that — for me, at least — the next meaningful day to seriously consider the standings would be Labor Day. Well, here it is and the Nats are four games back. I would have been a lot more comfortable with two or three back at this point, but the Mets’ lead certainly isn’t insurmountable. With four weeks to go, the Nats essentially need to make up one game a week, plus one. Starting today? Starting today. GYFNG!

  4. Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    Just win, Baby, win!!!

  5. ArVAFan - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    I’ll be there in the rowdy cheering section (313). With my rowdy friends, ready as always to cheer. Now, Nats, do lots of stuff worth cheering for–these knees need to get up frequently so they don’t get stiff!

    • ArVAFan - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      Ooh, and 50% more rowdy today: the eCash special is buy one Shandy, get one 50% off! (finally, a eCash special we can actually use).

      • Section 222 - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:41 AM

        Ironic that they chose a day game for the beer special, but we’ll take it.

  6. zmunchkin - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    The Baseball Gods hate arrogance and cocky and are very vindictive. Part of the reason the Nats are in the position they are now.

    I just hope they are paying attention to what the Mets are doing/saying now and exact their harsh judgment on the Mets these next three games.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:12 AM


  7. NatsLady - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    I will be in Section 134. Leaving now because they are single-tracking and running about one train an hour on Metro. Go NATS !!!!!

  8. loudounhound - Sep 7, 2015 at 10:50 AM

    Sec. 217 for me, not far from where I was for Strasmas. Go Max! Go Nats!

  9. adcwonk - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    Too bad for all those guys who kept declaring the season was over (some since April). They’re missing what every fan enjoys the most: a month-long nail-biting division race in Sept!

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:11 AM


  10. Candide - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Cunegonde and I were out of town all last week, but we’ll be there today.

    In the good news and bad news department:

    Good news: After he threw 41 pitches yesterday, we almost certainly won’t see Clipp today, maybe not even tomorrow.

    Bad news: After he threw 41 pitches yesterday, we almost certainly won’t see Clipp today, maybe not even tomorrow.

    • Section 222 - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:42 AM

      How is that bad news? You can still see him with your binos in the dugout or bullpen.

      I’m very glad that the Mets’ bullpen is taxed. It used to be you just had to get to their bullpen. No longer.

  11. Met fan - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    Well this is a big series and this essentially shapes up the last series of the season I think because the mets and nats both have weak scheldules and I don’t think one will gain much ground on the other. This sure is exciting and so will the last series but of course I wouldn’t mind to have a 4 game lead going into that one

    • homeparkdc - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:32 AM

      Are you considering the Mets’ 3-game series vs Yankees part of their “weak” schedule?

      • natsjackinfl - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:52 AM

        Precisely. I’ll take playing the Orioles while the Mets tangle with the Yankees anytime.

  12. natsfan1a - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    Won’t be able to see or hear the game and have limited online access but will look forward to checking on game results and reading NI when I am able. I’m currently in the last frontier, not to be confused with the final frontier. Will be cheering on our boys from there for the series. The other day I saw a dude with a Braves cap at a museum. He saw me looking and smiled, perhaps thinking I was also part of the tribe. I smiled back and thought to myself, “I hope we sweep you.” And we did. Wishing and hoping for good results in this series as well. GO NATS!!

  13. scnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    Well here we go

  14. stoatva - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    227! Let’s do this thing!

  15. Section 222 - Sep 7, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    I’ll be in 307 today, very much enjoying the fact that for arguably the biggest game of the season so far we have Max on the mound. Lately, he’s been disappointing, but I have a feeling he’s going to rise to the occasion.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:39 PM


  16. thelatencn - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Can’t sweep if we don’t win today. Go, Max! Go Natsbats!

  17. veejh - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    A must win game, no doubt. I know we’re gonna roll today. Let’s go Nats!

  18. Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:45 PM

    Pity poor Joe Seamhead! I won’t be anywhere near a TV or radio for most of the game. Previous commitment for my grandson’s 11th birthday. I will have my phone, so I can sneak in some updates.

    WIN, Baby, just win!

    • stoatva - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:56 PM


      • Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:20 PM

        I may be able to put off leaving until about 2 or 2:15.

  19. Candide - Sep 7, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    And on the fifth day, he pitched again.

  20. Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:10 PM

    Great ONE HOP throw by Harper!

  21. Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:15 PM

    Wow! The real Max Scherzer just showed up!

    • veejh - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:16 PM


      • Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:21 PM


  22. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    You know how I feel about 1st pitch swinging…

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:26 PM

      Evidently Conforto didn’t get the message about 1st pitch swinging, MrsB

  23. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    Sigh I miss pre ASB Max….

  24. TheBigDummy - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    Geez Max, what the heck is going on?

  25. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    43 pitches after 2 innings….. hmmmm

  26. dcphanatic - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    The only reason the Nats brought Max here was for games like this. If he can’t, well damn!

  27. exposremains - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    You know all the excuses about over using Scherzer. They are paying him 25M a season for a full year of greatness not for half of one.

  28. coop202 - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:47 PM

    Have to follow this game on my phone… The mets commentators are obnoxious

  29. exposremains - Sep 7, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    Whats all the circus plays in the outfield.

  30. nickr26 - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:01 PM

    Really max……come on man

  31. ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:09 PM

    Max is really having issues getting the ball down. Fastballs run instead of sink. And the Mets are in full attack mode, swinging early. Not a good recipe for success but I think Max will figure it out. Now we need some equal time for the Mets with the Sun Monster.

  32. Drew - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    Hit it in the AIR, Wilson!

    • ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:13 PM


    • Drew - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:13 PM

      That’ll do!!!!

  33. TheBigDummy - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:14 PM


  34. Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:14 PM

    I have to leave on that note! RAMOS!!!

  35. nickr26 - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:14 PM


  36. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    Well then….

  37. nickr26 - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    We can’t lose this game now we have niese on the ropes

    • TheBigDummy - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:22 PM

      Collins with the hook, maybe a batter to late. Sure would’ve liked to have seen Rendon get one last AB against him.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:23 PM

        Of all the peeps to take out, Conforto plays a pretty good LF…

        Oh well, idc, HIT THEM HARD!?!?!?

  38. ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Yes, walk Bryce to get to Zimmerman. That has worked really well for every team that tried it the last 2 weeks.

    Go Zimmy!

  39. abqnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    That collapse by Niese came out of nowhere. And the aftermath in the Mets dugout was not pretty. Switched to the Mets broadcast at the pitching change. It is all about how Niese has given up 5 or more runs in a single inning more than any other Met. 15 times.

  40. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:35 PM

    Sigh, needed a shut down inning Max..

  41. abqnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    I know Max is the ace, but he has looked tired all game. Can’t afford to let him have much more rope with the first two batters this inning and the lead back to one.

    • npb99 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:07 PM

      No reason to call him an ace the way he’s pitched the last weeks.

  42. ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    Let’s send Torres to the showers now. See how many more arms we can fry. I want the Mets to really be hurting when they leave DC.

  43. Drew - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    Hit it in the AIR, Wilson.

    (Worked last time…)

  44. ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:52 PM

    Watch replay of Torres walking off, and look at his left foot!! What is going on there?

  45. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    Sorry don’t agree with Max batting here.

  46. dcphanatic - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Is Scherzer going to hit? Pray tell, why? He has been ineffective! What is the point of keeping him in the game?

    • ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:59 PM

      I was wondering that too.

  47. exposremains - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    Why bat Scherzer here? He’s got nothing. He won’t finish the 6th. You had 2 guys in scoring position

    • npb99 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:07 PM

      yes, bizarre. He has nothing going today, ideal time to lift him.

      • coop202 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:10 PM

        Didn’t he make pretty good contact? I can live with that call, not the balk. If scherzer can’t figure it out we’re screwed anyways

  48. abqnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    I don’t understand lettin Scherzer hit there. He has been on the ropes and the Nats had the chance to score more. If he doesn’t shut down the sixth MW will have questions to answer.

    • coop202 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:06 PM

      It’s fine if scherzer says he’s got it. He can’t balk there that’s awful

      • abqnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:16 PM

        I am thinking he said he had it. MW trusted he had it. And 99% of the folks at the game or watching realized they were both probably going to be proven wrong. He was trouble today from inning 1.

  49. Drew - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:02 PM

    He just cannot shut them down.

    The Nats will need more runs.

  50. exposremains - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:02 PM

    Hes got nothing..dont you see it MW.. What’s wrong this no good manager

  51. exposremains - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Predictable.. Only person not seeing it..MW

  52. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    I am so livid right now..

  53. npb99 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:08 PM

    Max Scherzer has become Mini Scherzer.

  54. TheBigDummy - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    Even if they can turn this around and make it to October, I’m not so sure that Scherzer would be my game 1 starter. Did all those innings and CGs really do that big a number on him?

  55. dcphanatic - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:12 PM

    I have for the longest time considered all the folks posting here and Belittling MW as not having a good grasp of the ways of baseball. But, what Matt just did by allowing MS to hit and pitch the 6th, is unforgivable. He has a pen full of arms. Scherzer has been pedestrian and ineffective. And you need more f$&ing run. To me, this is a fireable offense. This man is unqualified to run a ML club.

  56. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    Raise your hand if you didn’t think that was coming…

    Just dumb.

  57. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:29 PM

    Blake came out 1 to 2 innings too late…

  58. Drew - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:31 PM

    Oh no.

    My kindom for Craig Stammen.

    • janebeard - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:34 PM

      Oh, Drew! I am SO with you. Casey has worked a lot recently. It’s showing now.

  59. abqnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:31 PM

    Now we start to play match up pitching. Should have done that with a two run lead and a starter on fumes.

  60. ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:36 PM

    What was Escobar thinking? He could not get to that, so let it go.

  61. philipd763 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    Stupid Escobar! He can hit but otherwise he hurts the team.

  62. philipd763 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    Stupid Escobar! He can hit but otherwise he hurts the team.

  63. Elkton Manny - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:42 PM

    I said it when they signed him. All that talk of never going deep into games didn’t mean there was less mileage on his arm; it meant he’ll get tired at the end of the season with a real workload.

  64. nickr26 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:43 PM

    This bullpen sucks

  65. ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:43 PM

    If the Nats lose, then MW mismanaged a win to a loss. No other way to put it.

    • bleacherbumerik - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:50 PM

      Are you blind? Who is he supposed to put in? Scherzer lost this game and this season with his 2nd half performance. Mike Rizzo is the one who put this BP together. Blame those 2 guys, not MW. He may not be a great manager, but this isn’t on him.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:55 PM

        So I guess MW doesn’t get blame for not pulling Max when in the 5th, the Nats had runners on 2nd and 3rd… and then leaves Max to come out and of course give up the tieing run…

        I guess MW doesn’t get blame for putting both Blake and Rivero who can go multiple innings after 1 or 2 batters..

        Instead of asking if someone else is blind, maybe you should start paying attention to the logistics of the game.

      • ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:35 PM

        I am not blind. Scherzer was struggling early, and overall ineffective. He made it through 5 innings, and had a one run lead. Yet MW had him Bat in the bottom of the 5th with runners in scoring position. No excuse today. Get someone up in the pen after 5, and pinch hit for Scherzer. That was the right move.

    • bleacherbumerik - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:15 PM

      The logistics of the game? We have nobody in our bullpen to count on to get outs. Scherzer is a $200 million “ace” of your team, not a spot starter. If he can’t get it done, then the blame should fall on him, not MW. If Williams pulled his starter in those situations, no SP we have would make through 5 innings ever. Would any other ace in baseball be pulled in that situation. No way!!! If your main guys can’t get it done, all the managerial magic in the world isn’t going to help.

      • ehay2k - Sep 7, 2015 at 5:00 PM

        This isn’t Stratomatic, there are people playing out there. Max was leaving pitches up. The hard evidence of that was the number of missed spots and the home runs on flat pitches. And the logistics part comes into play when, in the NL, you need to pinch hit for your pitcher to score runs. If your struggling “horse” is your answer to offense, you are not managing well.

  66. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:44 PM

    Of course…

  67. scnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:45 PM

    Well at least the whole bullpen showed they need to find new uniforms next year

  68. nickr26 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:47 PM

    Does max really get this tired at the end of the season cause if this is true I’m not really confident having him for a long time as the ACE

  69. philipd763 - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    This is a game the Nats had to have and $210,000,000 Scherzer blew it!

  70. exposremains - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:52 PM

    Your ace allows 5 runs..bullpen cant do crap..and now roll over for the Mets.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:12 PM

      It wasn’t like Max was getting hit hard today… oh wait yes he was…

      It wasn’t like the long ball wasn’t an issue today, oh wait, yes it was..

      It’s like everyone saw this…. except the manager…

  71. raleighnat - Sep 7, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    I thought Scherzer needed to come out earlier. But the point appears moot as the entire pitching staff has stunk.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:02 PM

      You never know what would have happened if Max is PH for. Maybe those runners on 2nd and 3rd score… maybe we tack on more…

      Maybe Blake comes out and can throw 2 innings… maybe Rivero can do 1.

      At this point, we won’t know.

  72. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:00 PM

    Our ace, failed today. You can’t be talking post season and then promptly give up 5 runs…

    And of course, the manager kept letting him go out there and give up HRs…

  73. abqnatsfan - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    Giving up two RISP to let Scherzer hit for himself seemed completely irresponsible at the time.

  74. philipd763 - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    As bad as I feel about the Nats’s awful season, I watch most of the games on my 65 inch UHD TV, I can’t imagine how bad it must feel for the season ticket fans.

    • nats106 - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:46 PM

      It sucks, quite frankly. Fortunately I could not go to today’s game. Unfortunately I am going tomorrow.

  75. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:16 PM

    That (the bottom of the 8th) was awful.

  76. depotmaster - Sep 7, 2015 at 4:31 PM

    I am starting to understand a possible reason for Familia’s ball action. Note that before he puts his hand in his glove to grab the ball, he swipes it along his right leg. Makes me wonder what’s there…





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