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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 04/20/2011

First place, here the Nationals come?


If the Nationals win both games of their today doubleheader today against the Cardinals, and the Phillies and Marlins each lose, the Nationals will wake up Thursday morning tied for first place in the National League East. Really – the Nats and Phillies would be 10-7, and the Marlins would be 9-7.

What would that mean with 145 games to go? Well, it would beat not being in first place. And it would mean the Nationals had won five straight games for the first time since the final game of 2009. But, really, it would mean next nothing. Five months is a long time to hold on.

Then again … do you know the last time the Nationals were in first or tied for first place at least six games into the season? That would be July 24, 2005 – 39 days before Ryan Zimmerman made his major league debut. So it’s got to have SOME significance, right?

For the Nationals to win two, though, Jordan Zimmermann will have to beat the Cardinals, against whom, in two starts, he has a 9.31 ERA, his highest against any single team. Last year, Zimmermann made his return to the majors from Tommy John surgery against the Cardinals, and they beat him up for four innings – seven hits, five runs.

That night, in a game the Nationals eventually won, Albert Pujols drilled the 400th home run of his career. Zimmermann has lots and lots of company in this regard, but Pujols has absolutely owned him: 4 for 5 with two home runs and a double.

“I just wonder what the ball looks like when it comes in to Pujols, whether he sees a beach ball or what,” Zimmermann said after Pujols knocked two singles to center in his first spring training start this year. “That’s what it seems to be every time I’m out there throwing. I’ll have to figure something out.”

Tonight, in Game 2, we’ll get to see what he came up with.

TODAY’S BROADCAST INFO (UPDATE)

Both games will be shown on MASN2. On the radio, Game 1 will be broadcast on WHFS 1580 AM and WFED 1500 AM. Game 2 will be on WJKF 106.7.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Pawtucket 3, Syracuse 1: Yunesky Maya allowed three earned runs in six innings on seven hits and three walks, striking out four. Roger Bernadina went 1 for 4 with a double, playing center. Corey Brown went 1 for 3 with a walk, playing right field.

Harrisburg, Potomac and Hagerstown were all rained out.

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 04/20/2011

 
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