Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats and Astros square off this afternoon at Space Coast Stadium.
Werth, by the way, said he got confirmation from several people that his first-inning home run yesterday did indeed strike his truck. "There was a smoldering crater in the hood," he claimed. OK, so that part may have been an exaggeration. But the ball did at least make contact with the truck.
John Lannan, formally named this morning as Davey Johnson's No. 5 starter, is on the mound against the Astros. Ross Detwiler will follow him out of the bullpen.
Plenty of updates to come on a beautiful day in Viera, so please check back...
HOUSTON ASTROS vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: Astros feed via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Sunny, 77 degrees, Wind 11 mph out to CF
STARTING LINEUPS1:05 p.m. -- John Lannan fires a fastball high to Brian Bixler to get this one underway. Really hoping Bixler hits a groundball so we can see him hustle down the baseline. Never seen anybody hustle like him.
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chad Tracy
C Wilson Ramos
CF Roger Bernadina
LF Jason Michaels
P John Lannan
CF Brian Bixler
2B Jose Altuve
1B Brett Wallace
LF J.D. Martinez
3B Chris Johnson
C Chris Snyder
RF Brandon Barnes
SS Marwin Gonzalez
P Jordan Lyles
1:08 p.m. -- Yes! Bixler hits a routine grounder to third and then sprints down the line, nearly beating Ryan Zimmerman's throw. Nice job by Lannan in the top of the first. He also got Jose Altuve to ground out to second, then got Brett Wallace to hit a lazy fly ball to left-center. Scoreless as we go to the bottom of the first.
1:14 p.m. -- Not quite like yesterday's first inning explosion. Ian Desmond grounded out weakly to third. Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles then made both Danny Espinosa and Zimmerman look silly swinging at some offspeed stuff. End of 1, it's 0-0.
1:19 p.m. -- Bad news and good news in the top of the second. The bad news: Lannan served up a solo homer to Chris Johnson on an 0-1 pitch. The wind is blowing out to center, so it may have aided that ball a bit, but it was still tagged pretty well. The good news: Desmond made a really nice play on Chris Snyder's grounder to the hole at short, backhanding the ball and then making a controlled-but-forceful throw to first to get Snyder. Not sure Desmond makes that play -- at least not in that manner -- the last two years. Lannan finished out the inning striking out Brandon Barnes. So it's 1-0 Astros.
1:28 p.m. -- Here's something you don't see every day at spring training: A major takeout slide at second base. Roger Bernadina did it to Jose Altuve in the bottom of the second, and in the process prevented the Astros from turning what would have been an inning-ending double play. That allowed Chad Tracy to score from third and tie this game 1-1.
1:37 p.m. -- Good stuff from Lannan so far. Through three innings, he's allowed only the Johnson solo homer, nothing else. He's also got a pair of strikeouts and has allowed only three balls to leave the infield. Still 1-1.
1:55 p.m. -- Some nice hitting from the Nats in the bottom of the third. Espinosa and Zimmerman each singled -- Zim, by the way, is now hitting .424 and slugging .788, though he'd be the first to say those numbers are meaningless -- and then Tracy drove in Espinosa with a bloop single to center. Ramos' well-struck double to right-center brought in Zim and gave the Nats a 3-1 after three.
2:00 p.m. -- Continued good stuff from Lannan. He retired the side in the top of the fourth, recording his third strikeout of the day. So he's now retired 12 of 13 batters faced today. (This is the part of the update where I'm legally required to point out he's pitching against the Astros this afternoon.)
2:21 p.m. -- A bit of a ragged fifth for Lannan, though nobody hit the ball hard against him. He struck out Johnson, only to have the ball squirt through Ramos' legs and all the way to the backstop, allowing the batter to reach. Lannan then walked Snyder and gave up an infield single to Barnes (on a ball to the hole at short than Desmond couldn't quite handle). A sac fly brought the runner home, but Lannan closed out the inning by striking out Bixler. I would assume he's done for the day, but we'll see. His line so far: 5 ip, 2 h, 2 er, 1 bb, 5 k. Nats lead 3-2.
2:41 p.m. -- Roger Bernadina came to play today. Crushed a two-run homer to right-center in the bottom of the fifth, giving the Nats a 6-2 lead. Lannan is indeed done for the afternoon, so Ross Detwiler takes the mound for the sixth.
2:44 p.m. -- And Detwiler makes quick work of the top of the sixth. He retired the side, striking out Altuve and then getting a pair of groundballs to second. Still three innings to go, but so far the Nats are playing a nice, crisp ballgame.
3:12 p.m. -- Just got back from talking to Lannan in the clubhouse. The lefty was pleased both with his outing -- "I gave myself a chance," he said, referring to how he trusted his pitches to do the job instead of trying to overthrow -- and the fact Davey Johnson named him the No. 5 starter this morning. Johnson hasn't actually told Lannan anything or addressed his situation this spring, but the lefty didn't feel that was necessary. "He doesn't have to worry about me." Meanwhile in this game, Detwiler gave up a two-run homer to Brandon Barnes. It's 7-4 Nationals after seven.
3:23 p.m. -- Still 7-4 after eight. Here comes Henry Rodriguez with a chance to earn the save. Hang on, folks.
3:29 p.m. -- It's all over, and the Nats have themselves an honest-to-goodness winning streak! OK, it's only two games, but still. ... H-Rod closes out the ninth, preserving a 7-4 victory. Nice afternoon for Lannan and Bernadina (2-for-3, homer, nice takeout slide).