- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It was a misty night at Nationals Park on Wednesday, and there were fears that a passing storm would cancel the game.

First pitch was delayed 56 minutes, and the pitching mound was covered by a tarp until just before Jordan Zimmermann jogged in to warm up. But the bad weather stayed away from that point on, giving the Washington Nationals just enough time to defeat the New York Mets, 2-1.

THE RUNDOWN: This one was a blueprint. As Denard Span, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth continue to recover from their various injuries, the Nationals will have to rely on shutdown pitching performances and small spurts of offense, just as they did Wednesday night. Ryan Zimmerman supplied both of Washington’s runs, Zimmermann did his part on the mound and three scoreless innings from the bullpen sealed it. If the Nationals are going to have to thrive during an injury-plagued April, this is how they’ll have to do it.

THE HIGHLIGHT: How about Washington’s new first baseman? With runners on first and second and one out in the second inning, Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom, hitting eighth, tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Instead, he popped the ball down the first-base line. Zimmerman ran in, dove headfirst into the grass and grabbed it, making his most impressive play at the new position so far this season.

STAR OF THE GAME: The other Zimmermann. For a second consecutive game, the guy who took the mound for the Nationals was as good as advertised. After a shaky second inning in which he allowed one run to score and worked out of a bases-loaded jam, Zimmermann retired 11 batters in a row. In total, he allowed only five hits in six innings of work before giving way to the bullpen.

THE TAKEAWAY: With his team sporting a one-run lead, it was interesting to see how manager Matt Williams lined up the bullpen in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Williams tabbed Craig Stammen in the seventh, then left the eighth for Blake Treinen. With two left-handed hitters and one righty due up, Williams trusted Treinen instead of playing matchups with Xavier Cedeno and/or Matt Thornton. The season is still young, so it’s impossible to say whether this will set any sort of tone moving forward. But it said a lot about how much faith Williams and the Nationals have in Treinen in those big late-inning situations.


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