The Washington Nationals' Grapefruit League home opener takes place this afternoon in Space Coast Stadium where the Nats take on their NL East rivals from Miami with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound against the Marlins. Former Blue Jays' prospect Henderson Alvarez starts for the Fish.
The Washington Nationals started their Grapefruit League season on the road on Saturday in Port St. Lucie, Florida's Tradition Field with a game against the Mets, but this afternoon they're playing their first home game of the Spring in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, where they'll take on their NL East rivals from Miami. Coming of a 2012 season which saw him go (12-8) with a 2.94 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 43 walks (1.98 BB/9) and 153 Ks (7.04 K/9) in 32 games and 195.2 IP over which he was worth +3.5 fWAR, 26-year-old right-hander Jordan Zimmermann starts his 2013 campaign against a Marlins squad that bears little resemblance to the team he was (1-1) against last season, posting a 4.24 ERA over three starts and 17.0 IP.
Zimmermann's talked early this Spring about working to try to get comfortable with his changeup. The right-hander has thrown the pitch in previous seasons, but this year, the '07 2nd Round pick out Auburndale, Wisconsin says he wants to use it as more of a weapon. "I'm going to make a conscious effort to keep throwing it this Spring Training here and try to get it where it's comfortable throwing it any time," Zimmermann told reporters last week.
"I'm going to throw it a lot down here and see what happens," Zimmermann said, because it's Spring Training and as he admitted, "I don't really care about what the results [are] down here. Just [get] some work in with it and throw it to someone other than your team." The Marlins will be the first test subject for the pitch Zimmermann hopes to feature more often this season.
This afternoon's game is available in audio form only, but the positive side to that is 106.7 the FAN in D.C. will be airing the game live (It's also on 1500AM) and that means the Spring debut of everyone's favorite radio team: Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler. It's been too long since the last time we heard C&D! They'll be broadcasting live starting at 1:05 pm EST when Zimmermann throws his first pitch to the Fish. Zimmermann on the hill. C&D on the air. It's Sunday there's baseball. What else do you want? How about the Nats' starting lineup courtesy of @NationalsPR on Twitter:
Today's lineup vs. MIA: Span 8, Rendon 5, Harper 7, Moore 9, Tracy 3, Desmond 6, Espinosa 4, Suzuki 2, Lombo DH. Zimmermann RHP— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) February 24, 2013
Who's listening to the Nationals?
As always, you can follow us on Twitter @FederalBaseball for updates on the game if you're out and about and unable to listen along. Or join us in the GameThread comments section below to discuss what you're hearing...