During my last few years covering the Nationals, I never had any major travel problems. Not once.
This year, I’ve had a connecting flight to San Francisco delayed by two hours because President Obama was at the airport, causing me to miss most of the pregame access during the first day of the Nationals-Giants series, and now I’ve spent the morning in a mad scramble to rebook a flight to New York after my morning flight to LaGuardia was canceled by air traffic control (probably because of the storm that’s moving up the East Coast). But I think it’s because of the Curse of Roch Kubatko.
Anyway, I’m rebooked now on a 12:24 flight to JFK, which should get me to New York in plenty of time before tonight’s 7:10 start at Citi Field. The forecast looks okay by game time, though I wouldn’t expect players to be taking BP outside.
Jordan Zimmermann gets the start for the Nationals, pitching at Citi Field for the first time this year. Zimmermann faced the Mets on the road twice last year with mixed results. His first outing there, last April 26 in front of a crowd of 40,023, was an impressive statement for the rookie. Zimmermann got his second win in as many big-league starts, striking out five batters and allowing a run in 5 1/3 innings.
His next outing wasn’t nearly as smooth. Zimmermann pitched five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits last May 27. Zimmermann struck out eight in that game, but allowed a big two-run homer to Daniel Murphy in the sixth inning (one of the Nationals’ several adventures with home run replays at Citi Field).
Tonight, Zimmermann makes his final start of the year, having continued to oscillate between flashes of brilliance and outings short-circuited by homers. He’s allowed seven of them in 25 innings this year, and though that’s an extraordinarily high percentage, Zimmermann did give up 10 homers in 91 innings last year. His fastball is potent enough that when not located properly, he’s probably going to surrender some bombs.
He’ll get another crack at Citi Field tonight, against a Mets team that has all but packed it in for the year, and a shot to finish on a high note.