“Team Cortisone” looking just fine (Nats win 3-1)

I’ve decided that I’m calling the duo of Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa “Team Cortisone”.

Both guys have an ailing shoulder, both guys got a cortisone shot help alleviate the pain and let them keep playing.

And both guys have looked just fine in the first game of today’s doubleheader.

Zimmerman is 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while Espinosa is 2-for-2. Each also made a sparkling defensive play in the fifth inning.

Espinosa ranged to his left and to glove a grounder off the bat of Andre Either, slid to corral the ball and then spun and threw a strike, while Zimmerman dove to his left to snap a sharply hit ball and then gunned Matt Kemp at first.

Davey Johnson said before the game that he was planning to give Zimmerman and Espinosa (as well as Michael Morse) the nightcap off, but with them performing so well in this contest, we’ll have to see if that plan holds to form.

Backed by Team Cortisone, the Nats have a 2-1 lead through five.

Jordan Zimmermann has again lacked his best stuff, but he’s managed to allow just one run thus far. The righty allowed seven baserunners through his first three innings, but he’s settled down a bit after the rocky early frames, retiring the last six batters he’s faced entering the sixth.

Dodgers starter Aaron Harang is done after just 4 1/3 innings, meaning Los Angeles will need to rely heavily on their bullpen in the first game of this twin-bill.

Update: Zimmermann went six innings, allowing just the one run, and the Nats tacked on another run in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Tyler Moore.

A fantastic appearance by Sean Burnett in the seventh has kept the Nats up 3-1 as we get into the late innings.

Burnett came on with a runner on third, none out and the meat of the Dodgers lineup coming to the plate. The lefty struck out Andre Eithier, surrendered a walk to Matt Kemp and then struck out Adrian Gonzalez to end the threat.

It’s been a tough couple weeks for Burnett, who has battled an elbow injury and ineffectiveness on the mound, but he came through in a big spot today.

Update II: That’ll do it. The Nats beat the Dodgers 3-1, picking up their 90th win of the season and cutting their magic number to clinch a playoff spot to one.

A win in the nightcap and the Nationals will be playoff-bound.

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