Sep 19, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT
After a wild, extra-inning win last night, the Nationals are back at it this afternoon, looking to make it two in a row against the Marlins. They had their hands full last night with Jose Fernandez; today they’ll face slightly less-accomplished lefty
Justin Nicolino, who owns a 3.81 ERA in nine career starts, none of them against the Nats. UPDATE AT 1:40 P.M. — Turns out the Marlins switched up their rotation order and it’s actually Brad Hand pitching today, with Nicolino going tomorrow.
As promised, manager Matt Williams has Michael Taylor back in the lineup after he sat out last night (though he did come off the bench late and contributed to to the win). Tyler Moore is at first base instead of Clint Robinson. Williams obviously is playing the lefty-righty matchup, but it’s worth noting that Robinson (10-for-26, .945 OPS) has been far more productive against lefties this season than Moore (8-for-46, .601 OPS). UPDATE AT 1:40 P.M. — Also worth noting, with Hand today’s starter, that Moore has a couple hits off him, including a homer, and faced him last week in Miami.
Jordan Zimmermann, meanwhile, takes the mound for the Nationals, trying to bounce back from a rough start in Philadelphia earlier this week in which he gave up six runs, including a pair of homers.
Updates to come, so please check back…
MIAMI MARLINS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 186
Weather: Mostly sunny, 86 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to LF
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Yunel Escobar
RF Bryce Harper
LF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
CF Michael Taylor
C Wilson Ramos
1B Tyler Moore
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
2B Dee Gordon
RF Ichiro Suzuki
LF Christian Yelich
1B Justin Bour
CF Marcell Ozuna
3B Derek Dietrich
C J.T. Realmuto
SS Miguel Rojas
LHP Brad Hand
HP Ted Barrett (cc)
1B Adam Hamari
2B Angel Hernandez
3B Chris Conroy
4:06 p.m. — And we’re underway on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon here in the District. Jordan Zimmermann starts off Dee Gordon with a fastball, which Gordon fouls off for strike one.
4:23 p.m. — And the Nats are already down 2-0 after one inning. The Marlins got three hits off Zimmermann in the top of the first and hit a couple more balls hard that required nice plays by Anthony Rendon to snag. That said, the Nats had a couple of opportunities to throw out runners at the plate. Each time, they just missed, with Ichiro Suzuki sliding in ahead of Wilson Ramos’ tag for one run and Christian Yelich getting in there when Ramos couldn’t cleanly handle Michael Taylor’s throw from center field for the other. In the bottom of the inning, the Nats got a 1-out single from Yunel Escobar (his 159th of the season, a new career high) but then Bryce Harper grounded into an easy 6-3 double play. Made easier by the fact Harper barely jogged down the first-base line. Hmm.
4:42 p.m. — There’s some definite potential for a Sun Monster attack today. Ichiro nearly got taken down in the bottom of the second, recovering just in time to see Ian Desmond’s flyball to right. Keep an eye (preferably with shades covering it) on that today. Still 2-0 Miami after two.
4:55 p.m. — Man, Justin Bour has just eaten alive Nats pitching this season. The Westfield High and George Mason alum has turned into quite a potent force at the plate. He’s 2-for-2 so far today, including a 2-out single in the top of the third, though Zimmermann was able to pitch around that one. He’s through three innings on 49 pitches. Still 2-0 Marlins after three.
5:16 p.m. — The Nats have hit Hand very well in the past, but they’ve managed just two singles and two walks vs. him through four innings today. And they’ve had some really ugly swings here, including Werth striking out on a breaking ball that almost hit him in the foot. Still 2-0 after four.
5:51 p.m. —It’s not 2-0 anymore. Not with Brad Hand on the mound for eight batters in the bottom of the fifth. The Nats finally got to him, with Tyler Moore homering and then a single, three walks and a Bryce Harper sac fly accounting for another two runs. They probably could’ve come away with even more than that, but they’ll settle for a 3-2 lead after five.
6:03 p.m. — Zimmermann managed to find his groove before his day was done. He retired seven straight, four via strikeout, to get through the sixth on 95 pitches. And that’s as far as he’ll go today. Matt Williams turns to his bullpen, with Felipe Rivero first up to pitch the seventh in a 3-2 game.
6:27 p.m. — Bryce Harper. Home run No. 41. Second deck. Chants of “M-V-P” from the crowd of 32,768. Nats lead 5-2 after seven.
6:42 p.m. — Sammy Solis opened the eighth by allowing two straight singles, forcing Blake Treinen into the game. But Treinen responded by getting a double play and then striking out Dietrich. So we go to the ninth, with the Nats up 5-2 and Jonathan Papelbon entering.
6:50 p.m. — Ballgame. Nats win 5-2. They’ve moved to within 7 games of the Mets with 14 to go.
FINAL 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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