Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats open a 10-game homestand tonight, with the Brewers up first.
For the fifth straight game, Zimmerman is not among Jim Riggleman's starting nine. Apparently, there's still concern about his ability to run. He looked perfectly fine rounding the bases following his clutch blast off Danys Baez yesterday afternoon, but he didn't exactly have to go 100 percent during that glorious jaunt.
We'll have to find out what Zim's updated status is in a little while. There are currently a group of players taking early BP, but he's not among them.
So, as always, check back here throughout the game for updates, and check the homepage for other news...
BREWERS AT NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms late, 79 degrees, Wind 12 mph out to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willie Harris
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
SS Ian Desmond
3B Adam Kennedy
C Wil Nieves
P John Lannan
2B Rickie Weeks
RF Corey Hart
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
CF Carlos Gomez
C Gregg Zaun
SS Alcidis Escobar
P Yovani Gallardo
6:03 p.m. -- The skies have darkened to the west, and there appears to be rain on the way. Only questions are when it arrives and how hard does it fall.
6:57 p.m. -- Any day D.C. Washington sings the national anthem is a good day in my book. Sings it well, sings it fast and puts just enough (but not too much) personal touch on it. Bring him out for all 81 home games!
7:05 p.m. -- We're underway with a ball from John Lannan to Rickie Weeks. There may be more players in uniform right now than fans in their seats.
7:12 p.m. -- And just as the rain begins to fall and the wind begins to pick up, Lannan strikes out Prince Fielder to end the bottom of the first. Solid opening stanza for the lefty, who allowed a two-out single to Ryan Braun but needed only 16 pitches, nine strikes.
7:23 p.m. -- I believe Adam Dunn just got ejected for arguing an appealed check swing for strike three. Dunn was halfway down the first-base line before he realized third-base ump Andy Fletcher had rung him up. He slammed his helmet down and took some steps toward Fletcher, who immediately ejected him.
7:26 p.m. -- Adam Kennedy now at first base. Alberto Gonzalez at third. So the Nats are fielding a lineup with Cristian Guzman batting third and Alberto Gonzalez batting cleanup.
7:31 p.m. -- Casey McGehee gets credit for a solo homer to right off Lannan, but the wind should be credited with an RBI. It's blowing fierce out to right field, and that ball just kept carrying. Harris was totally surprised and slammed into the wall before watching it carry just beyond. Brewers up 1-0 after 1 1/2.
8:01 p.m. -- What's more impressive: That Nyjer Morgan has three triples in 10 games already, or that Wil Nieves was able to score from first on Morgan's latest three-bagger? We're tied, 1-1, in the bottom of the third, but it should be 2-1. With runners on the corners and one out, Willie Harris got caught trying to steal second too early. But Morgan, on third base, blew it. With Harris in a rundown, Morgan should have taken off for the plate. At best, he would have slid in before the Brewers could catch him. At worst, he could get into a rundown of his own and buy enough time for Harris to make it all the way to third base and take his place. Poor fundamentals there.
8:04 p.m. -- The Nats can say Cristian Guzman's right shoulder is fine. But if he's healthy, he sure can't throw the ball with much oomph anymore. Had two chances to gun a throw to first just now and came up weak on both attempts.
8:24 p.m. -- Hope Nyjer's wearing a cup tonight, because it looks like he just took a one-hopper into a very sensitive area. Because he got knocked over on the single by Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks was able to score from second and give the Brewers a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
8:41 p.m. -- If you were wondering about Stephen Strasburg, who is scheduled to make his second start for Harrisburg tonight, that game between the Senators and New Britain hasn't begun yet because of the rain. At last check, Strasburg is still going to pitch. Only problem would be if he warmed up and then had to shut it down because of the weather.
8:49 p.m. -- Is this John Lannan or Stephen Strasburg on the mound at Nationals Park? Whoever he is, he's got four strikeouts through six innings. OK, so that's not too impressive. But Lannan only struck out four or more batters eight times in all of 2009, so this is a bit out of the ordinary for him. Brewers still lead, 2-1, heading to the bottom of the sixth, with the rain picking up in intensity.
8:53 p.m. -- The Hammer strikes with a solo homer off the top of the left-field fence, knotting the game at 2 in the sixth. Willingham turned on a 2-2 fastball from Gallardo, who hasn't made many mistakes tonight but left that pitch in Josh's "happy zone" and paid the price for it.
8:55 p.m. -- In Harrisburg, the tarp has been pulled and Strasburg is warming up. First pitch is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. Hopefully that one wraps up before I pack up from Nationals Park for the evening.
9:09 p.m. -- John Lannan has got quite a breaking ball going tonight. He just struck out Prince Fielder for the second time, keeping the game tied 2-2 as we reach the seventh inning stretch.
9:20 p.m. -- Golden opportunity here for the Nats, who have Morgan on third, Harris on first, Guzman at the plate and Claudio Vargas (remember him?) coming in to pitch for the Brewers.
9:23 p.m. -- And Guzman grounds into a 6-3 double play on Vargas' first pitch. Opportunity squandered.
9:35 p.m. -- Shaky defense and relief pitching just gave the Brewers the lead. After Brian Bruney allowed a leadoff single, Gonzalez fielded a sac bunt attempt and fired just a bit wide of first base. Guzman, covering first, probably could have reached over to catch the ball, but Gomez was barreling down the line and there would have been a collision. So Guzman pulled back and the throw wound up down the right-field line. A sac fly by Zaun later, the Nats now trail 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth.
9:47 p.m. -- Wow, another late rally from the club that until yesterday couldn't score after the fourth inning! A perfect sac bunt by Ian Desmond puts runners on second and third for Adam Kennedy, who drills a single just inside the bag at first base. Willy Taveras and Josh Willingham score, and the Nats take a 4-3 lead. Matt Capps (who recorded a five-out save yesterday) warming up to pitch the ninth and try to seal the victory.
9:49 p.m. -- Make it 5-3 thanks to an insurance-run single by Wil Nieves.
9:54 p.m. -- Sean Burnett will start the ninth for the Nats. Capps is warming up.
9:58 p.m. -- Burnett gets pinch-hitter Craig Counsell to ground out, and here comes Capps. If he retires Weeks and Hart in order, game over. If not, he's got to contend with Braun and Fielder.
10:03 p.m. -- Ladies and gentlemen: Matt Capps is 5-for-5 in save opportunities and the Nats are a .500 club again. Final score: 5-3.