Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals host the Marlins in the first of three games at Nationals Park.
Nyjer Morgan may be in the Nationals' lineup tonight, but he's not in his customary leadoff spot. Perhaps anticipating that Morgan would begin serving his suspension tonight, manager Jim Riggleman penciled out a lineup that includes Danny Espinosa batting first.
With a ruling yet to be handed down by MLB vice president of on-field operations Bob Watson, Morgan is eligible to play, but he'll be batting eighth against his good friends from Florida.
Right-hander Alex Sanabia, who was suspended five games for his actions during last week's brawl, starts for the Marlins. He's expected to drop his appeal and begin serving tomorrow.
John Lannan is on the mound for the Nationals, looking to continue his winning ways. Since returning from Class AA Harrisburg, Lannan is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA.
Check back for updates throughout...
METS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 10 mph LF to RF
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Michael Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
CF Nyjer Morgan
P John Lannan
3B Emilio Bonifacio
LF Logan Morrison
SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Dan Uggla
1B Wes Helms
RF Mike Stanton
CF Cameron Maybin
C Brad Davis
P Alex Sanabia
5:09 p.m. -- Marlins lineup change: Gaby Sanchez decided to drop his appeal and thus will begin serving his three-game suspension tonight. Said he figured it wouldn't get reduced, so no reason to go through with the appeal. Wes Helms moves from third to first base, and Emilio Bonifacio takes over at third base.
7:03 p.m. -- Jim Riggleman and Edwin Rodriguez just exchanged lineup cards and appeared to be smiling and joking with each other. Doesn't look like any warnings were issued by the umpires.
7:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from John Lannan to Emilio Bonifacio.
7:20 p.m. -- Rough first inning for Lannan, who wound up allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Bonifacio smoked a grounder off Ryan Zimmerman's glove, then stole second. Hanley Ramirez drew a walk, and Dan Uggla followed with an RBI single to center. A sac fly by Wes Helms brought Ramirez home to make it 2-0. The most interesting play, though, may have been Mike Stanton's bloop double to right. Danny Espinosa came THISCLOSE to making a diving, over-the-shoulder catch after running probably 100 feet from his position at second base. Michael Morse was far closer to the ball but never got that close to making the play.
7:25 p.m. -- Ooh, Sanabia drills Desmond in the hip with a first-pitch fastball. No reaction from Ian, who just jogged to first. What do you think, though: Should he now steal second and third?
7:27 p.m. -- Whoa, Desmond just took off for second ... though it was on ball four to Zimmerman, so no stolen base.
7:30 p.m. -- Two baserunners but no runs scored for the Nats after Adam Dunn flied out and Roger Bernadina popped out. Marlins up 2-0 heading to the second.
7:47 p.m. -- You just knew Nyjer Morgan's first at-bat was going to be eventful. Well, actually, the at-bat wasn't eventful at all. He lined a two-out single to center. But then, Nyjer tried to steal second and was promptly thrown out, ending the inning with John Lannan still at the plate. Among the dumbest baseball plays you can make, trying to steal with two outs and the pitcher up is right there at the top of the list. I'm sure Jim Riggleman isn't happy with it.
7:57 p.m. -- Fantastic 6-4-3 to end the top of the third, with Desmond going deep into the hole, firing a perfect throw to Espinosa, who made a strong turn. Desmond to Espinosa to Dunn: Get used to it. (Well, maybe not the Dunn part.)
8:08 p.m. -- Lannan has settled in since that rough first inning. He's retired four straight and hasn't allowed a hit since Bonifacio's single in the second. Marlins still lead 2-0 as we got to the bottom of the fourth.
8:38 p.m. -- We're now in the middle of the sixth, the Nats still trailing 2-0 and not doing much offensively against Sanabia. Morse led off the fifth with a double but never advanced past second. Pudge grounded out on the first pitch he saw. Nyjer popped out. And then after Lannan drew a two-out walk, Espinosa sent a long fly ball to the warning track in right.
8:48 p.m. -- Make it 3-0 Marlins after Brad Davis leads off the seventh with a homer into the flower bed beyond the left-field fence.
9:01 p.m. -- Lannan couldn't make it through the seventh, and Tyler Clippard nearly opened the floodgates. Clippard, though, managed to wriggle his way out of it after allowing two-out singles to Ramirez and Uggla. With the bases loaded, he got Helms to fly out to right to end the inning. Lannan's final line: 6 2/3 ip, 7 h, 3 er, 3 bb, 6 k, 110 pitches (70 strikes). Not his best performance, though certainly not a horrible one either. He gets credit for a quality start, but unless the Nats can rally late, he'll be tagged with the loss.
9:27 p.m. -- Scoreless inning of relief from Joe Bisenius in his first appearance as a National. Also his first appearance in the big leagues since April 2007, when he came out of the bullpen twice for the Phillies. He's got a good arm, reached 98 mph a couple of times. Nats down to their last six outs, down 3-0.
9:38 p.m. -- Here come the Nats with a two-out rally. Zimmerman singles. Dunn doubles. Bernadina singles in a run, making it 3-1 and knocking out reliever Leo Nunez. Clay Hensley coming out of the bullpen to face Morse, with the tying run on first and two outs in the eighth.
9:40 p.m. -- And Morse flies out to center on Hensley's first pitch. We go to the ninth, 3-1.
9:55 p.m. -- Ladies and gentlemen: Meet Danny Espinosa's right arm. Impressive, huh? (He just gunned down Logan Morrison at the plate with a 150-foot relay throw to Pudge.) Last chance for the Nats coming up.
10:01 p.m. -- Game over, Nats lose 3-1. That's their 11th loss to the Marlins this season. Haven't lost more than seven to anyone else.