Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nats vs. Braves - 3/21/12

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Space Coast Stadium hosts the Braves this afternoon.
VIERA, Fla. -- If John Lannan wants to make as strong a case as possible to open the season as the Nationals' No. 5 starter (in place of an injured Chien-Ming Wang), today would represent a golden opportunity. When the left-hander takes the mound shortly at Space Coast Stadium, he'll be facing a pretty good Braves lineup that features Michael Bourn, Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward.

Lannan will have plenty of regulars behind him in the field, with Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth in the Nationals' lineup. No Michael Morse or Adam LaRoche yet, but manager Davey Johnson said both players should be ready to go again beginning Sunday.

It's a cloudy, windy day in Viera with a chance for rain, but this game will start on time. Bob and F.P. have the call on TV, and I'll have updates throughout live from the ballpark...

ATLANTA BRAVES vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: MASN (live), MLB Network (tape delayed at 10 p.m.)
Radio: Braves feed via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 20 mph in from CF
STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chad Tracy
LF Jason Michaels
CF Roger Bernadina
C Jesus Flores
P John Lannan

BRAVES
CF Michael Bourn
SS Andrelton Simmons
C Brian McCann
2B Dan Uggla
1B Freddie Freeman
RF Jason Heyward
LF Jordan Parraz
3B Drew Sutton
P Tommy Hanson
1:05 p.m. -- We're underway with a strike from John Lannan to Michael Bourn.

1:09 p.m. -- Solid top of the first for the Nats. Lannan got a couple of groundballs to short, then after allowing a two-out single to Brian McCann got Dan Uggla to hit a soft liner to center that Roger Bernadina came charging in to snag. Scoreless as we go to the bottom of the first.

1:17 p.m. -- Pretty quick bottom of the first for Tommy Hanson, who retired the side on three fly balls. The last was well-struck by Ryan Zimmerman to right-center, only to be tracked down by Michael Bourn. Boy, that guy can cover some serious ground in center field. Hmm, I wonder when he's due to become a free agent or who he's represented by...

1:26 p.m. -- Pretty typical Lannan so far. He's given up a couple of singles but has mostly kept the ball on the ground and kept things under control. We're still scoreless heading to the bottom of the second.

1:45 p.m. -- Well, Lannan can thank that 20 mph gale blowing in from left-center for keeping two balls in the park in the third inning. Brian McCann smoked a pitch to right, but the wind pushed it well foul. Then Dan Uggla destroyed a two-out pitch to left, a ball that would have been a sure home run just about any day of the year. Except today. Jason Michaels made the catch at the base of the wall as the crowd gasped in surprise. Still scoreless going to the bottom of the third.

1:58 p.m. -- Stop the presses! Ian Desmond drew another walk! That's two in less than 24 hours! That set up Danny Espinosa with a golden RBI opportunity (two on, two out) but Espinosa's rocket line drive was snagged by Freeman at first base. Tough break. It's still 0-0 after three.

2:06 p.m. -- Desmond's getting a lot of work in the field today. He looked sharp early on in fielding four groundballs hit his way, but he booted a ball in the fourth for an error. Lannan got out of it, though, striking out Drew Sutton to end the inning. Zeroes still on the scoreboard here through 3 1/2.

2:22 p.m. -- The Nats are on the board, though it wasn't exactly an inspiring rally that brought that first run home. Zimmerman was hit by a pitch, took second on Chad Tracy's single, took third on McCann's passed ball and then scored on Michaels' RBI groundout. So it's 1-0 Nats after four, and now look who's taking over in left field: Steve Lombardozzi. Let the grand experiment begin!

2:25 p.m. -- Lannan's done, by the way, replaced by Chad Durbin. His final line: 4 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 2 k, 79 pitches, 50 strikes. He was helped some by the wind, but overall pitched pretty well.

2:29 p.m. -- And, of course, Lombo is tested right away in his first-ever outfield appearance. Tough pop-up to shallow left with the wind blowing in. He made the play. Still 1-0 Nats after 4 1/2.

2:43 p.m. -- Some nice pieces of hitting in the bottom of the fifth by Lombardozzi and Desmond (who each singled) but it went for naught when Espinosa grounded into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.

3:07 p.m. -- Just got back from the clubhouse, where John Lannan talked about his start (he was pleased with how many groundballs he was able to induce) and Gio Gonzalez talked about Stephen Strasburg being named Opening Day starter: "Awesome. He's the right man for the job." Meanwhile, the Nats still lead 1-0 at the seventh-inning stretch.

3:23 p.m. -- A scoreless eighth for Tyler Clippard, though he did plunk Andrelton Simmons. Nice throw by Carlos Maldonado to gun down Simmons trying to steal second, though. The Nats still cling to a 1-0 lead as they head to the bottom of the eighth.

3:43 p.m. -- And Ryan Perry blows the save and the shutout with two outs in the top of the ninth. Gave up an RBI single to Parraz, making it 1-1 and forcing the Nats to bat in the bottom of the inning. I don't think there's anyone in either team's dugout happy about this. I definitely know there's no one in the press box who's happy right now.

3:48 p.m. -- We go to the 10th. Ryan Perry back on the mound. This will be it regardless is anyone scores.

4:03 p.m. -- Rough day for Espinosa. He's 0-for-4, has grounded into a double play, has stranded five men on base and now has committed the error that gave the Braves the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th. A sac fly makes it 3-1 and leaves the Natsdown to their final three outs.

4:17 p.m. -- It's over. The Nats lose a heartbreaker, 3-2 in 10 innings. The final batter: Ryan Perry, who struck out looking. That'll tell you what Davey thinks about the outcomes of these games. Sheesh.

98 comments:

Cease the Opportunity said...

I predict 1 for 3 and a walk for Ian Desmond...

The Amazing Kreskin said...

Too early to predict but no walks and a bunt single.
My powers aren't up to snuff. Still working on my follow through.

MicheleS said...

It's the free game of the Day on MLB.TV! Woo Hoo!

natsfan1a said...

MASN for me. Woo hoo!

Cease the Opportunity said...

MicheleS said...

It's the free game of the Day on MLB.TV! Woo Hoo!


WoW...Thanks MicheleS

Anonymous said...

Giving Chad Tracy every chance to prove he can be that left-hander? He leads the team in RBI but his hitting has been pretty meh ... he loses a Bernadina if he picks Tracy and Bernadina has speed and the flexibility to play every outfield position. Can't see that happening at this point.

JaneB said...

FedEx delivered the tickets!

I want John to be brilliant today.

MicheleS said...

Is it time to panic when Bob and FP are talking about Morse and LaRoche not being ready?

Cease: Your welcome on MLBTV! It's awesome!!

Frediemac said...

Love watching on my IPAD at work ;)

Section 3, My Sofa said...

It's a free country, Michele. Feel free to panic anytime, if you think it helps you.

I note with approval the pitchers are batting today. C'mon, Long-ball.

Anonymous said...

The Nats FO has a long history of putting a positive spin on serious injuries. There's a long list of them and I think you can add Morse and Laroche to the list.

Anonymous said...

Mark, Bourn is too old. They're already saddled with Werth's contract. Let it go Mark. Bourn isn't going to happen ... its going to be someone young and preferable with a left-handed bat ... THUS Harper, Brown, and perhaps Goodwin? Right? Mark do you see any scary left-handed bats in the Nats lineup that are under 30 and not in decline? NO, you don't now do you?

Johnson wants Harper and Brown to succeed because they lack that left-handed hitting component ... Brown is a superlative fielder in CF and is younger than Bourn. Harper is learning but could end up in a corner outfield position when all is said and done. And then there's FA BJ Upton who stats indicate he could be about to break out.

Bourn ain't happenin' dude.

Anonymous said...

Davey says both players should be ready Sunday. Guess we'll see then.

Anonymous said...

You might get what you ask for sec3. Lannan is pitching and the Braves will likely eat him alive in the later innings.

Frediemac said...

Good job Johnny

Anonymous said...

A couple of pretty close home runs ... wind blowing in ... uh ... me thinks Lannan is again lucky to not be down by 5.

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago, Davey Johnson said Morse could bat but couldn't throw because of his strained lat. Now he's saying Morse can't hit and he can't throw. My point is that the Nats brass is trying to sell tickets. Being forthright about the seriousness of these injuries is inconsistent with that objectve. Add to that, the incompetence of the training staff and you have legitmate reasons to be concerned about any Nationals player who is listed as "day to day".

MicheleS said...

Ian got a walk!!!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Holy Cow! Desmond walked again!

natsfan1a said...

Loved the Gio interview. Quite a charming young man. FP, flustrated? Umm...

natsfan1a said...

Are you guys psychic, or what? (Desmond)

Feel Wood said...

A few weeks ago, Davey Johnson said Morse could bat but couldn't throw because of his strained lat. Now he's saying Morse can't hit and he can't throw.

No, he's telling him DON'T hit and DON'T throw. Because in order to heal from a muscle strain (which is what this is, as confirmed by MRI) rest is the prescription. And the more rest, the better. Since this is spring training and the games don't count, the prudent course of action is to overdo the rest, which is what's happening. Davey wants Morse to be completely healed before he starts up again, so he won't injure himself again by trying to come back too soon. Again, the fact that there are still two weeks left before Opening Day means there's no reason to rush him back.

Theophilus said...

Someone said, "there's FA BJ Upton who stats indicate he could be about to break out."

Whose stats have been declining for four years. It's like buying Bank of America stock; can't go nowhere but up. Whatta breakout that will be.

sjm308 said...

Feel is right here - the rest is prescribed by both trainers and medical staff and Davey is listening to them and being cautious. Also tells me they have confidence in our depth (unlike JayB) and are not in panic mode. Looks like the DeRosa signing is even more important now. Got to believe Morse is going crazy because it probably feels ok when he is just hanging around the team. Also believe that they are probably running the heck out of him because there is no strain on the lat with that. Run and Stretch with a little massage and electric stim mixed in. Its a rough life.

Schumatrix said...

Desmond is so frustrating. He has a great at bat, then goes out and commits an error on a pretty easy ball. Ugh...

Anonymous said...

How can anybody possibly be a fan of Jayson Werth? He is just awful. This signing will continue to haunt this organization for the next 6 years. 4th place here we come...that is, if we can even beat out the Mets!!!

Feel Wood said...

Run and Stretch with a little massage and electric stim mixed in. Its a rough life.

If the magical Tatiana is still working for the Nats, that could be the best thing that ever happened to him.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who the fat guy is in the Nats spring training bullpen? He always wears a warm-up jacket so you can't see the name on his uniform. He looks like a much larger John Lannan. I don't think he is a player or coach but he sat in the bullpen during every game last week.

Who knows? Please help!

sm13 said...

Wow, we got a hit!

natsfan1a said...

Better yet, we got a run!

Anonymous said...

Nilson Robeldo?

Section 3, My Sofa said...

They're going to rule that a wild pitch because it bounced? Sucks for Hanson, that only got away because McCann was coming up to throw--nice job Zimm to draw that would-be throw, get their attention. (Carp and FP have been ambiguous on what the call actually was, might be a passed ball after all.) And now it costs him a go-ahead run, maybe the game for all we know now. Not that McCann hasn't bailed his staff out a few times.

Anonymous said...

Haha. The bullpen catcher, Robledo, looks nothing like Lannan! This is a fat middle-aged white guy who was not participating in any baseball activities. Who is he?

natsfan1a said...

Craig Heist said WP but Bob said PB. Evidently they use hand signals to indicate the scoring (two fingers for the catcher).

Anonymous said...

The security guard?

natsfan1a said...

Dozer with a windblown OF chance.

Feel Wood said...

From now on, just call him Steve Lombardzobrist.

Anonymous said...

Not a security guard. He is with the Nats (hat, cleats, baseball pants, jacket, chewing seeds, etc.).

Anonymous said...

Spin Williams?

A DC Wonk said...

Anonymous said...

How can anybody possibly be a fan of Jayson Werth? He is just awful. This signing will continue to haunt this organization for the next 6 years. 4th place here we come...that is, if we can even beat out the Mets!!!


wanna bet?

JaneB said...

IAN!!!!

MicheleS said...

Standing next to Wonk in my Werth Jersey.

natsfan1a said...

Oh well.

(I thought it looked like you, MicheleS. :-))

natsfan1a said...

Oh well = was hoping to add a run there.

natsfan1a said...

Welcome back, Rick.

A DC Wonk said...

Thanks!

sjm308 said...

Feel: yes she is!

DC Womk - I will join you on that bet - playoffs, here we come

Section 222 said...

Cease the Opportunity said...

I predict 1 for 3 and a walk for Ian Desmond...
March 21, 2012 12:42 PM


Um, I think if Desi makes an out the next time up, you called it. Wow.

sjm308 said...

Wonk, Womk, whatever.

Cease the Opportunity said...

Section 222 said...

Hope I'm wrong and he gets a hit...

Cease the Opportunity said...

I'm wrong!

Cwj said...

Interestingly, the 2 likeliest teams to fight for a wild card spot are the Nats and the Braves. These two teams are very close, and their regular season games should be intense.

The Marlins are over-rated, and the Mets are bad.
The Phillies are getting old and creaky pretty fast, but may have enough pitching to win the division.

Joe Seamhead said...

Anon 2:15 go play in traffic somewhere. Wonk, I'm with you. I still think the same about Werth as I did when the trade was announced; He brings Natitude to D.C.

natsfan1a said...

Me, too, on Werth.

natsfan1a said...

That would be Mr. Ankiel. :-)

Welcome back, Rick.

Cwj said...

Just to clarify, I said "..the 2 likeliest teams to fight for a wild card spot.."
I meant in the NL East.
The best division :-)

Mark'd said...

Lombo in Left

MicheleS said...

I hate my boss. I have a meeting on 4/3 at 9 am. it's going to be questionable if I can get out in time to go to the BoSox game. Just imagine all the expletives that I have been thinking all afternoon long! Geesh don't people know that baseball season is starting!

NatsFanJim said...

I wonder how long Davey will hang with Desmond if his fielding remains suspect. If he was a .300 hitter that would be different; but if he hits his usual -- with high k's -- how long to make a change. And what would that change look like?

Anonymous said...

Perry is a bum.

Blown save and Loss for Perry and a Ride to Syracuse

A DC Wonk said...

Anonymous said...

Perry is a bum.


But Espi's going 0-4 with a DP and leaving 5 men on base is OK? Because, you know, we can pick on the new guy.

NatsFanJim said...

Yawn!! It's the spring --

Anonymous said...

DC Wonk your right. The way Espi and Desi are playing the Mets may get 4th place this season.

A DC Wonk said...

... and Espi's error in the 10th.

(Note to all: I'm not picking on Espi. What I am complaining about is that certain players get all the criticism, and others never get any. And I hate seeing a 25 yr old kid who plays for the good guys, who's trying his best to make the team, after pitching in the playoffs last year, being called a "bum".).

A DC Wonk said...

Anonymous said...

DC Wonk your right. The way Espi and Desi are playing the Mets may get 4th place this season.


You think the Nats will finish fifth?

I'll bet you that the Nats finish higher than fifth. Put your money where your mouth is.

natsfan1a said...

Pretty good day for Desi at the plate.

natsfan1a said...

Good game for FP, too. Bringing it with broadcaster ST drills and an Enrico Palazzo reference.

natsfan1a said...

Not a bad day for Lannan, either. Gotta hate on somebody, right? ;-)

natsfan1a said...

Er, LannEn.

Section 3, My Sofa said...

Perry hitting for himself. Davey, when we say GYFNG, we didn't mean Go HOME.

Absolutely NO CHANCE Perry gets a hit here...

A DC Wonk said...

Are there no players left?

Section 3, My Sofa said...

All right, tried for the reverse there. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Will somebody please tell Rizzo that a team needs to score runs to win ball games!

Unkyd said...

Tomorrow: Desmond goes 4-4, with a walk.... Hits for cycle...

Hey.... The earlier predictions paid off, right?

A DC Wonk said...

Anonymous said...

Will somebody please tell Rizzo that a team needs to score runs to win ball games!


Whoa!! Good point!! How insightful!! Nobody in the front office thought of that before!!

Anonymous said...

The Nationals are qiuckly acquiring a losing culture again the year, just like they do every season. Then, that culture moves right into the regular season.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think they have

Anonymous said...

I really don't think they have figured out they need to score runs Wonk

natsfan1a said...

Carpenter said that La Rosa was the only one left on the list, but that he'd likely gotten all his work in and gone home. (What a bum! :-))

A DC Wonk said...

Are there no players left?
March 21, 2012 4:18 PM

gonatsgo said...

It's spring training - breathe.

natsfan1a said...

Did I mention that Durbin had a good day as well? And the would-be bench guys?

Steady Eddie said...

Really, neganons, chill out.

Batting Perry in the 9th is a good example of how Davey's a players' manager. He knows Perry long ago in ST lost whatever microscopic chance he had of making the 25 (after all, he was traded mostly for his option). Perry blew the save and then got the loss because of Espi's boot, and he'll likely be sent down within the week.

So letting him bat is saying I'm not Joe Girardi, I don't want you to care about the outcome of these ST games -- and Perry, as you're going to be sent down shortly and as a reliever, will never bat in a game that means anything, I want you to go our there and just have a little fun. (Though looking at strike three suggests Perry may not have gotten into the spirit of the thing.)

The regulars and marginal players all notice these things. They're going to give more to the team and have more respect for Davey when it counts.

A DC Wonk said...

Anonymous said...

I really don't think they have figured out they need to score runs


I agree with you! Well, at least I agree with the first four words of what you wrote. Then you went off the deep end. It's ok, though, I'm just poking fun at you, because nobody around here who is an actual Nat fan takes what you wrote with even a drop of seriousness.

Steady Eddie -- you make a great point, and I can completely see it. While Davey may spin the media like a top -- he's a big supporter of his own players, and he's straight with them.

(I don't know how many are familiar with the anecdote of when Davey managed, I think it was the 2008 USA Baseball team, and he cracked up the players in the first meeting when he concluded with something like, "hell, let's not have any signs" (for steals, sacs, etc.). He wanted them to loosen up and have fun.)

Anonymous said...

I was getting concerned, so I checked the Nats schedule. Much to my relief, today was just a practice game.

JaneB said...

Unkyd, I can't wait to laud you for the accurate prediction!

But that makes me wonder: if someone DOES hit for the cycle in ST, or pitches a perfect game...does it count? I guess they'd yank the pitcher early, even if he was working on something beautiful. Anyway -- what happens to stats like that? I know SOMEONE out there knows.

MicheleS said...

Quick ST Question:

Were the red carpet rewards cards cards supposed to come in the package? Or does that come separately?

Cwj said...

What Steady Eddie and DC Wonk said :-)

Losing culture, Anon? Come on. That wasn't even the case last year when they were 80-81!
The Team is upbeat about this year and I am too!

No, the lineup wont exactly strike fear into opponents, but the pitching staff sure will.
Go Nats!

Anonymous said...

MicheleS said...
"Were the red carpet rewards cards cards supposed to come in the package? Or does that come separately?"

If you were a STH last year you should already have them.

Anonymous said...

JaneB said...
"But that makes me wonder: if someone DOES hit for the cycle in ST, or pitches a perfect game...does it count? I guess they'd yank the pitcher early, even if he was working on something beautiful. Anyway -- what happens to stats like that? I know SOMEONE out there knows."

Other than floating somewhere in the ethersphere, those records are kept in the same place as the results of all the games you played as a kid.

NatsLady said...

The best example of Davey being a players' manager was the game last fall in Florida when it was raining and miserable and the Marlins' pitcher was retiring, and Davey basically "gave up" on the game so the guys could go home. I think it was the next to last game, and it meant the Nats were not going to have a record above .500 and fans were bleating. Riggs would have put in every relief pitcher and played 17 innings (like the year before). The players will not forget that, and they will play their hearts out for a manager like Davey.

MicheleS said...

New STH this year, so I don't have a rewards card

natsfan1a said...

Stuck on the front of mom's fridge? Cool.

Other than floating somewhere in the ethersphere, those records are kept in the same place as the results of all the games you played as a kid.

John C. said...

MicheleS, I'm also a new STH (partial plan) (Note: I've been sharing someone else's plan since 2005, finally got my own). I had the same question, and called in. The Red Carpet Rewards cards are being sent out separately, and should be going out in the next couple of weeks. So don't panic. But keep track of your towel :-)

MicheleS said...

Thanks John C.

Ticket office was closed when I got home today.

Anonymous said...

Next year they're supposed to be able to be used in lieu of tickets - like a Metro card, just swipe and go through the turnstile.

NatsFanJim said...

Funny to read some folks who already have the Nats finishing fifth and calling on Davey to Score Runs.

Great to see the Nats have a passionate fan base; albeit, similar to old Philly fans (say it aint so)

But naysayers and handwringers: It's Spring Training -- meaningless at his moment.

While I'm not one of the crazies (like Davey) guaranteeing a playoff spot, you'd be wrong not think the Nats were much improved. Let's relax and enjoy this better than average team.

Section 3, My Sofa said...

Unk, you might as well leverage whatever luck you have today. I'm sure Davey would tell you that. Well, as sure as I can be without having asked him, knowing him, or worked with him at any time, or do anything like what he does for a living. Otherwise, I know exactly what he's thinking.

snapback said...

I agree with your point of view. Many have a chance to ask...

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