Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The rain has followed the Nationals from D.C. to Citi Field.
If they do play, the Nationals will be facing left-hander Jon Niese, not right-hander Dillon Gee as originally announced. The Mets also were rained out last night and decided to push everyone in their rotation back a day. So Niese goes tonight, with Gee in tomorrow's scheduled series finale.
Tom Gorzelanny starts for the Nationals, hoping to revert back to the top form he displayed in back-to-back starts earlier this month (as opposed to the less-than-spectacular form he showed last time out against the Marlins).
If you didn't see the earlier post, Mike Rizzo said on ESPN-980 AM today that Bryce Harper will not reach the big leagues this season, quashing any hope you may have had for that.
Plenty of updates to come from here at Citi Field, including weather updates, so check back often...
NATIONALS at METS
Where: Citi Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 183
Weather: Chance of rain, 62 degrees, Wind 11 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS6:12 p.m. -- Your first weather update of the night: It's been raining pretty steadily all afternoon, but the grounds has just emerged to remove the tarp. Adam Rubin, who covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com, says they won't call this one off early. They'll wait it out for a while if they have to.
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Michael Morse
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Jerry Hairston
P Tom Gorzelanny
SS Jose Reyes
3B Justin Turner
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Jason Bay
1B Daniel Murphy
C Ronny Paulino
CF Scott Hairston
2B Ruben Tejada
P Jon Niese
6:23 p.m. -- And the Mets just officially announced the game is scheduled to start on time at 7:10 p.m.
6:42 p.m. -- Here's a bunch of updates on Stephen Strasburg, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Zimmerman, Chien-Ming Wang and Oliver Perez.
7:11 p.m. -- And as promised, we are underway on time. There is NOBODY here. This has got to be the smallest crowd I've ever seen at any professional sporting event in New York.
7:20 p.m. -- The Nats tried to string together a two-out rally against Jon Niese, with Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos each singling off the lefty. But Adam LaRoche skied a fly ball to right to end the inning, still scoreless. The rain is coming down harder now, too.
7:29 p.m. -- The bottom of the first could have been bad. Real bad. But Tom Gorzelanny battled to strike out Carlos Beltran, then got a big assist from Ramos. Though Jose Reyes scored on Jason Bay's sac fly to left, Ramos made a great throw back to second base to nail Justin Turner, who had strayed too far. Another fantastic throw from a Nats catcher. Both Ramos and Pudge have been spectacular in that department. Mets lead 1-0 after one.
7:34 p.m. -- Hmm, not sure this was the time to play for one run, but Jim Riggleman just did. After Michael Morse led off the second with a double, Danny Espinosa dropped a sac bunt. Which put the onus on Jerry Hairston to deliver the RBI. He didn't, popping out to second. And when Gorzelanny couldn't beat out a chopper over the mound, the Nats were left with nothing to show for the inning.
7:53 p.m. -- The top of the Nats order couldn't do anything in the third inning, either. Couple of groundballs and a Werth strikeout. The rain has eased up -- it was pouring a little while ago. Still 1-0 Mets heading to the bottom of the third.
8:21 p.m. -- Gorzelanny isn't exactly in top form tonight. He's put at least two men on base each of his four innings. But he's managed to limit the damage so far, allowing only the first-inning run. Got a big groundball out of Reyes with two on and two out in the fourth. Mets still lead 1-0.
8:58 p.m. -- As many guys as Gorzelanny was putting on base (two in each of the first six innings), you just had a feeling he couldn't keep tempting fate and living to tell about it. Sure enough, he gave up a two-run double to Evan Turner in the sixth. That puts the Mets up 3-0 and brings Henry Rodriguez into the game. With a muddy mound and a wet ball. This could be interesting.
9:01 p.m. -- Give Rodriguez credit. He got out of it, inducing a shallow fly ball to center out of Carlos Beltran. So it remains 3-0 after six. At some point, the Nats' lineup has got to do something, right? Right?
9:07 p.m. -- Remember how awful Cristian Guzman was in 2005? Well, his batting average never dipped below .180 after April 25. Adam LaRoche, ladies and gentlemen, is now hitting .179. On March 18. This no longer qualifies as another of his trademark slow starts. This is legitimately bad.
9:19 p.m. -- Speaking of legitimately bad ... it was just raining as hard as you can imagine while it's still feasible to play baseball. Really, the umps should have called for the tarp, but with two on and two out in the seventh, they were probably waiting for the inning to end first. Then Brian Bixler battled his way through a long at-bat against Niese, finally beating out a chopper to third. Bixler now has two hits in 14 at-bats this year, both of them infield singles. Now the bases were loaded for Roger Bernadina, and though there was standing water all around the infield, the rain eased up, so play continued. And Bernadina, after working the count full, grounded out to first base, killing the rally. Still 3-0 Mets aat the seventh-inning stretch, and now the grounds crew is out trying to dry out the infield.
9:31 p.m. -- While we wait for the grounds crew to again dry out the infield only three outs after having done it previously ... you may be wondering what a .179-hitting, slick-fielding first baseman is worth. Well, according to baseball-reference.com, LaRoche's WAR is 0.2. According to Fangraphs.com (which uses a different formula), it's -0.2. Either way, advanced stats say LaRoche's glove has pretty much made up for his bat.
9:38 p.m. -- Make that a .177-hitting, slick-fielding first baseman after LaRoche flies out to end the eighth. Still 3-0 Mets, and the Nats have given no reason to believe they've got a rally in them.
10:02 p.m. -- That's all she wrote. Nats lose 3-0. It's the sixth time in 42 games this season they've been shut out. So, an average of once a week. Also the third time in their last nine games. Is that good?