Game 1 Preview: Mets at Nationals, 7:05 PM Tonight


The 2011 Washington Nationals look a bit different than the Nationals of the past. At 10-10, the Nats have defeated the likes of the Braves, Phillies, Brewers, and Cardinals (not to mention the Mets and Marlins too). The Nationals have a great young core of Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa, and Ian Desmond, as well as big free-agent splash Jayson Werth, however, it’s been their starting pitching that’s been keeping them afloat. Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannon, and Tom Gorzelanny have combined for a 3.73 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 2.00 K/BB, while averaging about 6 innings per start.

STARTING PITCHERS
Chris Young (1-0, 1.46 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 2.00 K/BB):  It didn’t take long for the oft-injured pitcher to land back on the DL, but apparently Young is healthy enough to pitch again. Before Young was placed on the DL, he hurled 7 innings of 1 hit, 1 earned-run baseball against the Nationals, so hopefully he can repeat his success. (Career vs. Nationals: .175/.254/.298 line with a 2.18 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 2.64 K/BB)

Jordan Zimmerman (1-3, 3.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2.60 K/BB): Since recovering from his 2009 Tommy John surgery, Jordan Zimmerann has been looking to prove why there’s been so much talk about his future in the bigs. The right-handed pitcher came back in the latter part of 2010, and posted 4.94 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 2.70 K/BB ratio in 31 IP last season. Zimmermann pitched a solid 5.3 IP against the Mets this year, only surrendering 6 hits and 2 earned-runs, and recording the win. His overall 2011 stats suggest he’s ready to lead the Nationals out of the bottom of the East. (Career vs. Mets: .260/.315/.400 line with a 3.51 ERA, 1.32 wHIP, 2.75 K/BB)

NATIONALS HITTING OVERVIEW
The Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a historic seven-year, $126 million contract this past off-season, and plan to bat him second in the batting order. The addition of Werth gives the Nationals a nice power/speed combination at the top of their lineup. Also, former Twins top prospects Wilson Ramos will get a shot at sharing the catcher duties with Ivan “Pudge Rodriguez.” Ramos owned a .285/.332/.431 line in the minors, and his as many as 13 HR in 2008. In addition to Ramos, the Nationals handed the keys over to their own second base prospect, Danny Espinosa. Espinosa posted a .268/.337/.464 line with 22 HR, 69 RBI, 80 R, and 25 SB between Double-A and Triple-A last season. The 23 year-old will certainly be a fixture in the Nationals middle-infield for many years to come.

BATTING LINEUPS


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