Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nyjer Morgan went 0-for-4 in the Nats' 15-5 loss to the Astros.
Obviously, these games don't count for anything, and nobody's paying serious attention to the results. That said, I think Jim Riggleman and Co. would have preferred a slightly better showing for their exhibition debut.
Let's run through some players of note, with some analysis and quotes along the way...
GARRETT MOCK: No complaints here. The right-hander did what he needed to in his first outing. He threw strikes (13 of 21 pitches), let his defense do the work and didn't allow a run in his two innings on the mound. "I think it was a decent place to start out," he said. "I feel like I accomplished some of the goals I had set for attacking guys and inviting contact. But just like any other game, there's positive things to take from it, but there's also stuff to look at and take into my next outing." For example, Mock wasn't happy with the fact he opened the game with two straight balls to Michael Bourn (though he rebounded to induce a comebacker). Still, he wasn't going to make the rotation or get dropped out of the race based on today's game alone. I found it interesting that Mock said he's not concerned with numbers at all this spring. Really, he says he won't be concerned with numbers all season. "To be honest with you, I'm past looking at numbers," said the right-hander who went 3-10 in 2009. "There's been situations in the past where I haven't had great numbers and the team had a need and they felt like I could fill that spot. And there's been times I had great numbers and I couldn't fill that spot. Numbers, to me, are something you look at at the end of the season. So in October, that'll be a good time for me to check out some numbers. For right now, it's just a matter of keeping things simple and attacking guys. Tomorrow I have a different job to do. I've got to get ready for my next outing. I'm going to handle that then. Looking at the numbers, I'm not going to do that for a long time."
SHAIRON MARTIS: In a word: ugly. After cruising through his first inning, he proceeded to allow six runs on six hits in his next frame, recording only one out before getting yanked. "He just got a couple balls on the sweet spot," Riggleman said. On a day where a stiff wind turned routine fly balls to center and right fields into home runs, Martis was particularly hurt by several pitches he left up in the zone. Not the place this control artist wants to work. "It's early, but I've still got to work hard and focus on going low in the strike zone," he said. "I need to work on that."
DREW STOREN: Nice debut for the first-round pick. Picking up right where he left off last summer in the minors and last fall in Arizona, the reliever attacked the strike zone (seven of his eight pitches were strikes) and retired the side. He struck out Chris Johnson on a nice, 1-2 curveball. And he retired former Stanford batterymate Jason Castro to end his perfect inning. "It was fun," Storen said. "I didn't really try to think about who I was facing. I was trying to go in there, throw strikes and stay with my strengths."
MATT CAPPS, EDDIE GUARDADO AND JASON BERGMANN: The numbers don't look good -- they combined to allow six runs on nine hits and served up a homer a piece -- but each was victimized by the wind, and no one seemed particularly concerned about it afterward. "It was tough," catcher Wil Nieves said. "And when you keep the ball up, guys with power, they just put it in the air and there was a pretty good chance it was going to go out. ... It seemed like if we made a mistake, it went out. It's just tough to face good hitters with the wind blowing out."
Not too much to say about any offensive players today. Josh Whitesell had a pair of hits and drew a walk. Nieves had a single and two RBI. Roger Bernadina beat out an infield single, drew a walk, scored two runs and made a couple of nice plays in the field.
The story wasn't much better down in Jupiter, where the other half of the Nats' split-squad lost to the Marlins, 10-4. Starter J.D. Martin tossed two scoreless innings to get things started. Ron Villone couldn't find the strike zone, issuing three walks and a hit in one-third of an inning. Luis Atilano got smoked for four runs and five hits in one inning. Ian Desmond went 2-for-3 with a a double, a walk and a stolen base, started at shortstop and then moved to right field. Kevin Mench, brought over from minor-league camp for the day, homered.
That's all for now. The whole squad will rejoin tomorrow, hoping to put on a better showing against the Braves in the Happiest Place on Earth. Miguel Batista is slated to start against Derek Lowe.