Monday, February 28, 2011

Nats at Mets - 2/28/11

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
DigitalDomain Park, spring home of the New York Mets.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Let the games begin.

The Grapefruit League begins this afternoon for the Nationals, who open exhibition play against their division rivals from Queens at the recently renamed DigitalDomain Park. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

The big story today, of course, is Bryce Harper's debut. The 18-year-old outfielder made the trip but is not in the Nats' starting lineup. He's slated to enter sometime later in the game and get at least one at-bat. He won't be facing Mets starter Mike Pelfrey, but there's a decent chance he'll face veteran reliever Jason Isringhausen, who is slated to come out of the bullpen for New York.

Chad Gaudin, attempting to make the roster as either the No. 5 starter or as a long reliever, gets the nod for the Nationals. The right-hander will throw either two or three innings, depending on his pitch count. Other pitchers scheduled to appear today include Craig Stammen, Brian Broderick, Doug Slaten and Todd Coffey.

Several regulars (Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Ivan Rodriguez) did not make the trip today and will make their debuts tomorrow at home. But we will get a good look at the double-play combo of Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, Nyjer Morgan in center field and both Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores behind the plate.

Plenty of updates to come, so be sure to check back throughout...

DigitalDomain Park, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV: SNY (New York), (live online), MLB Network (tape delay, 9:30 p.m.)
Weather: Sunny, 82 degrees, Wind 19 mph out to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Mike Morse
DH Matt Stairs
C Wilson Ramos
1B Kevin Barker
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Jerry Hairston
(P Chad Gaudin)

2B Luis Castillo
CF Angel Pagan
LF Jason Bay
1B Nick Evans
DH Fernando Martinez
RF Scott Hairston
3B Daniel Murphy
C Mike Nickeas
SS Ruben Tejada
(P Mike Pelfrey)
11:45 a.m. -- Sounds like we won't be seeing much of Harper today. Jim Riggleman said the kid will probably just get one at-bat, and there's a decent chance it will come out of the DH slot. He'll probably get more action tomorrow in Viera, replacing Jayson Werth in right field for several innings.

1:10 p.m. -- And we are underway. Nyjer Morgan takes a fastball for strike one from Mike Pelfrey to kick off the Grapefruit League season.

1:15 p.m. -- And the Nats have their first lead of the season. After Morgan fouled out to third on an 0-2 pitch (not exactly the kind of productive at-bat you want to see from Nyjer), Ian Desmond smoked a deep drive to center field that went off Angel Pagan's glove. Desmond cruised into third with a triple, then scored moments later when Roger Bernadina roped a base hit to right. Bernadina immediately stole second, perhaps further evidence of the aggressive baserunning we can expect to see this year. Roger was stranded at second, though, when both Michael Morse and Matt Stairs grounded out to end the top of the first with the Nats up 1-0.

1:28 p.m. -- So much for that. Angel Pagan ties the game up in the bottom of the first with an oppo-boppo to left field on a 1-2 breaking ball from Chad Gaudin. The wind is really blowing out in that direction, though, and the way Bernadina reacted, it looked like he never thought the ball would carry that far. Gaudin actually looked pretty good. He did allow a couple of two-out singles but recorded three strikeouts, all swinging, all on fastballs that registered around 90 mph. Threw 22 pitches, 16 strikes. It's 1-1 as they head to the second.

1:35 p.m. -- And the Nats retake the lead. Wilson Ramos singles and moves to third when Castillo boots Danny Espinosa's routine chopper. That sets the stage for Jerry Hairston's sac fly, putting the Nats up 2-1 as we go to the bottom of the second. I'm heading down to the stands to take some photos. Will be back in a bit.

2:18 p.m. -- We are now in the bottom of the fourth, the Nats leading 3-2 in a game that has already seen 12 combined hits and three errors (only one by the Nats). Gaudin wound up allowing two runs on five hits in his three innings of work, but he struck out four and overall didn't do anything to hurt his chances, I'd say. The Nats hit the ball pretty well off Pelfrey and continued the trend against D.J. Carrasco, who was all over the place in the top of the fourth. Craig Stammen now pitching for Washington.

2:37 p.m. -- Here we go. Top of the fifth. Matt Stairs drives in a run with a single to right, then is removed for a pinch-runner named ... Bryce Harper. At the same time, Jesus Flores steps to the plate for his first major-league at-bat in nearly two years. Good stuff here. Oh, by the way, the Nats lead 4-3.

2:45 p.m. --  Nothing too exciting from Harper on the bases. He advanced to second as the trailing runner when Bernadina was thrown out trying to take third. Flores then popped out to first. So Harper is now the DH, and he'll take Stairs' spot in the order, due up eighth in the sixth. Barring a big rally, he probably won't come up until the seventh.

3:05 p.m. --  We go to the seventh, Nats still leading 4-3 after Rule 5 draftee Brian Broderick tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Harper is due up fifth this inning. Lefty Taylor Tankersley coming in to pitch for the Mets.

3:16 p.m. -- Bryce Harper's first career at-bat is a three-pitch strikeout. He fouled off the first offering from Tankersley, then swung and missed twice, including on a breaking ball for strike three. Welcome to pro ball, kid. (Oh yeah, Michael Morse hit a three-run homer right before it, putting the Nats up 7-3.)

3:25 p.m. -- Whoa, Mike O'Connor pitching for the Mets in the top of the eighth! Blast from the past!

3:29 p.m. -- Here's my quick story for on Harper's debut. It will be updated and expanded after the game.

3:42 p.m. -- We've reached the ninth inning, and Harper may get another shot. He's due up fourth this inning, and he has a bat in hand and his helmet on. Right-hander Ryota Igarashi now pitching for the Mets.

3:50 p.m. -- Two at-bats, two K's for Bryce. This time, he took a couple of 78-mph offspeed pitches from Igarashi for strikes, took a 93-mph fastball for a ball and swung and missed at an 86-mph, 1-2 pitch from the right-hander. Not sure what the pitch was, perhaps a sinker. Either way, Harper has looked a bit overmatched here today. (Oh yeah, Morse homered again in front of him. Nats lead 9-3 as we go to the bottom of the ninth.)

3:58 p.m. -- Ballgame over. Nats win 9-3. Plenty of postgame reaction to come.


Doc said...

All eyes are on Kevin-Jeff Barker!

Joe Drugan said...

Those of you that have already purchased MLB At Bat 2011 for iPhone (like me) should be able to view for free during the spring. Doubt there's any blackouts considering it's not on locally, but I could be wrong. Anyone know for sure?

Souldrummer said...

Mets need to name their stadium "CashPoint" park or something. "Get the cash you need in a flash at Cashpoint!" Got to meet payroll and keep paying Bobby Bonilla when your owners are going broke and likely facing litigation.

SCNatsFan said...

I really believe Gaudin has a chance to be the 2011 version of Batista

Doc said...

According to the news, Bernie Madeoff is part owner of the Mets!

I wonder if his cell mates get free caps??

The Joker said...

Barker has as much chance of playing firstbase in Washington as he has as being a carnival barker at the Prince George's County Fair.

PSwib said...

@Joe Drugan

There are no blackouts for spring training games. We'll be able to watch locally this afternoon.

onesandfours said...

Does anyone know if this game will have a radio broadcast?

Pswib said...


No radio broadcast is listed on the MLB broadcasts page, so I'd assume that there isn't one.

sjm 308 said...

Not sure where to post this but a baseball legend passed yesterday in Duke Snider. I was extremely disappointed that this was not even noted on the front page of the Post and actually was not even on the front page of the sports. Duke was more than just the 3rd centerfielder In NYC in the great decade of the 50's. Terry Cashman's song did a lot to bring attention back to him, but in the 50's NO ONE hit more home runs and NO ONE had more rbi's (you can look it up). Watching the Senators in the 50's I got more then my share of Mantle and Williams but never got to see Mays, Musial or Snider.
What an era and what a great time to get introduced to baseball. That being said, I am so excited about what I hope this team can produce in the next few years. Go Nats!!

Souldrummer said...

As we prepare to watch the Mets and the great Willie Harris, I'm reminded that we may truly be able to boot them to the cellar this year.
For your reading pleasure. Looks like Uncle Bud had to lend the Metsies 25M to keep going last year.

HabsProf said...

@sjm 308
Further your note on Snider - he was the long time voice of the Expos along with Dave Van Horne, so he has a link to this franchise. Many of us old Expos fans remember listening to the Duke and Dave on the radio.

Doc said...

The Duke was a good color guy--fun to watch and to listen. He introduced me to the Expos.

mjr said...

Now that games have started again, my productivity at work is headed downhill as I keep switching back over to NI and hit reload. I couldn't be happier.

LoveDaNats said...

Watching the game on MLB tv and all is right with the world..........

Anonymous said...

Is it a requirement to swing at the first pitch you see in ST games or what? Or maybe MLB gameday is being lazy and reporting only the 'balls in play' pitches?

Anyways, Nats lead 3-2. Should have replaced Morgan with Harper when we know Morgan can't do **** with runners on.

LoveDaNats said...

Stammen is a bit rusty. Or he's just Stammen.

Anonymous said...

game is blacked out in Harrisburg on sny pch

Bethesda Fan said...

We paid for gameday but are not receiving picture.

Anonymous says that his MLB gameday is showing some action.

Any advice.

Rat Man said...

Harper is up shortly. Wouldn't be funny if Ingenhauser beaned Harper just for the Hell of it. Teach Harper manners.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Taylors Tankersly throws 3 pitches and Harper WHIFFS... Welcome to the show kid.

DFL said...

Mike Morse might very soon make me a believer that he is a later blossom. He blasted a two run homer just a moment ago.

Anonymous said...

Been watching the entire game on mlbtv? No problems here. Excellent reception too many Mets interviews with players and prospects in the dugout or behind the backstop. In other words you miss some stuff.

A DC Wonk said...

Random thoughts of interest:

1. Attempting to steal third?

2. Only one walk by the Nats pitching staff so far!

Doc said...

Go Michael Morse! RF-Morse; CF-Bernadina; RF-Werth!

Goooooooooooo Nats!

MGG said...

I like the way this game is going! I know you shouldn't take anything out of spring training games but these things have stuck out at me so far (I can only see offensive numbers since I'm at work):

1)Morgan might be finished, 3AB and not a single base hit?

2)Desmond seems to be hitting well today I know its the lowly mets (and there up and comers to boot)

3) What was thrown to harper where he went three and out?

JD said...

MGG said:

1)Morgan might be finished, 3AB and not a single base hit?

Really; after 1 spring training game?
Wow; you waited all winter for this; right?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

1)Morgan might be finished, 3AB and not a single base hit?

you're kidding, right?

NatsJack in Florida said...

If you're talking about Bernadina as being thrown out stealing, he ran on a ball that got away from the catcher. Catchers for the Mets are notoriously bad at this time so it was the proper play. It's just that the catcher actually did his job and kept it in play AND made a good throw.

Tankersly threw three staright sliders.

And Morgan made 4 outs in 3 at bats.

Doc said...

With Mike O'Connor on the mound, the Mets rebuilding program is underway!

Anonymous said...

I think we should at least wait until after the second spring training game to officially mark the end of Morgan's career. Just sayin.

JD said...


I know how you feel about Morgan but to even discuss his performance in one spring training game is a little wild. no?

MGG said...


I just think its time to switch it up, we've seen what he can do AGAIN which isn't much. I've been a supporter of Morgan and this tean since day one and I'm tired of this.

No more mediocrity and I know its hard to find a leadoff hitter but Morgan in my opinion is definitely not it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Baseball America is projecting Bryce Harper to strike out 640 times in his first full season. I think that's harsh.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Just keeping score....

JD said...

That's it. Morse to the HOF.

JD said...

Oh no. Harper struck out again.

A DC Wonk said...

... and another Morse homer!!

Followed by another 3-pitch swinging strike-out by Harper.

As others have already said: welcome to the bigs, kid!

A DC Wonk said...

>>If you're talking about Bernadina as being thrown out stealing, he ran on a ball that got away from the catcher.>>

Thanks for the info. (Those, obviously, are things you can't get from a boxscore!)

And, note, I wasn't criticizing it, just noting it with interest. And, now that you've filled me in, it's of even less interest ;-)


HHover said...

I say if Harper strikes out in his next ST at-bat, the Nats need to trade him pronto--I'm thinking Pittsburgh, and demand at least a used cleat cleaner in return.

Natsochist said...

Down in Viera the other day, Morse was talking about wanting to homer in the first game. Glad to see he got the opportunity to do so twice!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Anybody going to be at the game in Viera tomorrow? Livan starts against R.A. Dickey. Throw away the radar gun.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

OK, then *I* want to homer in MY first game back, too.

A DC Wonk said...

>>Anybody going to be at the game in Viera tomorrow? Livan starts against R.A. Dickey. Throw away the radar gun. >>

You have a sundial in storage you can use?

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