It's another scorcher on South Capitol Street, with the temperature (as I type this at 3:30 p.m.) reading 101 degrees and the heat index a very comfortable 109. There are, however, some serious thunderstorms approaching from the west, and the grounds crew is already preparing the tarp to be rolled out over the infield.
As this is happening, Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy are taking batting practice, the first such round for Werth since he broke his left wrist on May 6. Tracy, meanwhile, is getting close to returning from his groin surgery.
As for tonight's game, it'll be Jordan Zimmermann making his second start of the second half of the season, looking to build off a fantastic outing in Miami on Friday. Chris Young gets the nod for the Mets, who have now lost five straight to fall seven games back in the NL East.
I'm back at the park tonight, so look for plenty of updates and analysis throughout...
NEW YORK METS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Thunderstorms, 95 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF
2B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Michael Morse
LF Tyler Moore
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jesus Flores
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
SS Ruben Tejada
2B Daniel Murphy
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
RF Lucas Duda
LF Jason Bay
CF Andres Torres
C Josh Thole
RHP Chris Young
HP Mark Carlson
1B Chris Conroy
2B Tim Timmons
3B Angel Hernandez
The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.
Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.
On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.
But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.
Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.
Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways.
MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016
Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers.
Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.
Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS.
With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years.
Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan