Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The temperature is up and Livan Hernandez is on the mound today.
-- Garrett Mock was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse following wretched season opener Friday night.
-- Livan Hernandez had his contract purchased so he can now make his season debut this afternoon against the Mets.
-- Scott Olsen is going to be recalled from Syracuse and most likely start Thursday's game in Philadelphia, at which point a reliever will need to be demoted.
-- Mike Morse was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained calf.
-- Roger Bernadina was recalled from Class AAA Syracuse to take Morse's spot and give Jim Riggleman another healthy body off the bench.
-- Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup with a tight hamstring and will probably miss tomorrow's game in Philadelphia as well.
-- Adam Kennedy is starting at third base despite having not played a single inning there during spring training. (He did, however, start 82 games at third base last season for the A's.)
-- Oh yeah, and some guy named Strasburg is making his minor-league debut for Class AA Harrisburg this afternoon. (I'll have some updates on him throughout the day, with reports from my special correspondents in Altoona. One thing to note: Strasburg will be limited to 80-85 pitches today, no matter how well he throws. If he's got a no-hitter through five but he's reached his pitch limit, that's it, he's out.)
So, clearly it's a busy day in NatsTown. Check back here for game updates (from New York and Altoona) throughout and check the homepage for other items of interest...
NATIONALS AT METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50 HD, MASN HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 67 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willy Taveras
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
SS Ian Desmond
C Wil Nieves
3B Adam Kennedy
P Livan Hernandez
SS Jose Reyes
2B Alex Cora
3B David Wright
LF Jason Bay
1B Mike Jacobs
RF Jeff Francoeur
CF Gary Matthews Jr.
C Rod Barajas
P Johan Santana
12:15 p.m. -- For those wondering, the Harrisburg-Altoona game starts at 2 p.m. I believe ESPNews will be showing all of Strasburg's half-innings live. You should also be able to see the game online on MLB.tv.
1:11 p.m. -- We're underway with a ball from Santana to Morgan.
1:23 p.m. -- Josh Willingham is about to be credited with a grand slam, once the umpiring crew looks at replay of his shot to left-center field. The umps initially said the ball remained in play, so we had a comedy of ballplayers racing around the bases, with Adam Dunn bowling over Rod Barajas and then Willingham crashing into the catcher as well but getting tagged out. The replay, though, clearly shows the ball striking to the right of an orange line that separates the field of play.
1:25 p.m. -- Overturned call. Grand slam. Nats lead 4-0.
1:43 p.m. -- I am informed by well-placed sources in Altoona that there's a huge traffic jam outside the ballpark. First pitch is coming up in 20 minutes. Hope everyone makes it there in time.
1:53 p.m. -- Here's a full recap of all today's roster moves on CSNwashington.com.
1:58 p.m. -- Josh Willingham's double to center gives him five RBI in three innings and gives the Nats a 5-0 lead. This is not the old Johan Santana on the mound today, and Mets fans are letting him hear it.
2:02 p.m. -- The lead should have been extended to 6-0 just now when Ian Desmond sent a fly ball to right field and Adam Dunn tagged up from third. But Dunn -- perhaps feeling bad about bowling over Rod Barajas two innings ago in what turned out to be unnecessary roughness because of Willingham's grand slam -- went into the plate standing up this time and Barajas tagged him out. So it's still 5-0 heading to the bottom of the third.
2:06 p.m. -- The Harrisburg-Altoona game has begun, and you can watch it online here.
2:15 p.m. -- One inning into his minor-league career, Stephen Strasburg is trailing 1-0. Allowed a two-out double off the right-field wall followed by an RBI single to center.
2:23 p.m. -- Back here in the major leagues ... Livan Hernandez is putting together the best outing by a Nats starter this season. (Is anyone surprised?) Through four innings, the big guy has allowed no runs and four hits. More importantly, he's only thrown 47 pitches (30 strikes). Remember, two nights ago, Garrett Mock threw 84 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. At this rate, Livo could go the distance.
2:50 p.m. -- In Altoona, Strasburg has settled in very nicely. He retired the side in the second and the third and has struck out five. He's consistently hitting 99 mph with his fastball and has reached 100 a couple of times.
3:00 p.m. -- Six scoreless innings for Livan Hernandez. And at only 77 pitches, he's got plenty left in the tank. That, my friends, is called a quality start. Nats still lead 5-0 heading to the seventh.
3:06 p.m. -- Strasburg now trailing 3-0 in the fourth, though the two runs Altoona just scored were largely a product of poor defense.
3:12 p.m. -- Make it 4-0 in Altoona, with three of those runs unearned. Strasburg has allowed four hits and two walks while striking out seven. He's at 71 pitches, so it's possible he's done for the day.
3:25 p.m. -- At least Strasburg can hit. He just doubled in a run to make it 4-1 in the fifth. Back here, Livo has been pulled after seven shutout innings and only 88 pitches. Brian Bruney now on, with Alberto Gonzalez at third base, Willie Harris in left field and Adam Kennedy at first base. Jim Riggleman not taking any chances here, despite the 5-0 lead.
3:37 p.m. -- Strasburg is now done. His final line: 5 ip, 4 h, 4 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 8 k, 82 pitches. Here in Queens, Bruney allowed a towering, two-run homer to Mike Jacobs in the eighth. So the shutout quest is over, and the Nats now lead 5-2.
3:43 p.m. -- Just when you thought things might be getting a little hairy here, Jason Bergmann to the rescue. Seriously. Bergmann comes on in relief of Bruney with a runner on second and two outs and then strikes out Gary Matthews Jr. on three pitches. Looks like Matt Capps is warming up and will pitch the ninth, hoping to protect a three-run lead and record his third save.
3:49 p.m. -- Whoa, hot tempers here at Citi Field. K-Rod plunks Willie Harris (yesterday's hero) on the elbow and the two have words as Harris trots down the line. Both benches and bullpens empty. No punches were thrown. No ejections, but both benches were warned. Doesn't look like anything serious. In fact, it looks like K-Rod may have started it, saying something as Harris trotted down the line.
4:04 p.m. -- The Nats get the last laugh. Matt Capps pitches a perfect ninth and preserves a 5-2 victory. At 3-3, Washington is now in sole possession of something other than last place in the NL East for the first time since April 6, 2008. Yeah, it's been awhile. Enjoy it.