Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats make yet another trip to Jupiter today to face the Marlins.
Today, Gonzalez will go up against the Marlins, who have plenty of regulars in their lineup, including Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Gaby Sanchez. They also have a familiar face in their lineup: Austin Kearns. The former Nationals outfielder is putting together an impressive spring -- he's hitting .345 with three homers -- as he tries to make the club as a non-roster invitee.
No TV or radio coverage of this game, so you'll just have to check back here often for all your updates...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 16 mph in from CF
STARTING LINEUPS1:08 p.m. -- Ricky Nolasco fires a fastball to Ian Desmond for strike one, and we are underway.
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
3B Mark DeRosa
1B Chad Tracy
C Jesus Flores
RF Roger Bernadina
LF Steve Lombardozzi
P Gio Gonzalez
SS Jose Reyes
CF Emilio Bonifacio
3B Hanley Ramirez
1B Gaby Sanchez
2B Omar Infante
RF Austin Kearns
LF Aaron Rowand
C Brett Hayes
P Ricky Nolasco
1:10 p.m. -- Well, that didn't take long. Nolasco retires the side on four pitches. Credit to Desmond for actually taking the first pitch before popping out. Danny Espinosa (groundball to second) and Rick Ankiel (flyball to center) both made outs on the first pitch they saw.
1:29 p.m. -- On the other hand, there's Gio Gonzalez. He needed 28 pitches to navigate his way through the bottom of the first, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk. The big blow came from -- wait for it -- Austin Kearns, who roped a two-out, two-run double to left. If I had a nickel for every time I've seen that happen... Marlins lead 3-0 after one.
1:33 p.m. -- Boy, the Nats really made Nolasco work harder in the top of the second. He needed to throw eight whole pitches before retiring the side this time. Sheesh, it's almost as if the entire Nationals roster just wants to get on the bus back to Viera.
1:41 p.m. -- Better stuff from Gio in the bottom of the second, but certainly not dominant. He did strike out Nolasco and Bonifacio (for the second time in as many innings) but he also served up a well-struck double to Reyes. On that double, Lombardozzi booted the ball down in the left-field corner and was charged with an error. He also looked shaky on Kearns' first-inning double. Obviously it's still a work-in-progress out there for him. Nats trail 3-0 after two.
1:51 p.m. -- The good news: The Nats got a great bunt single from Bernadina and a sharp line-drive single from Lombardozzi to open the top of the third. Now the bad news: Gio Gonzalez is a terrible bunter. No, really terrible. Couldn't drop one in fair territory. Then Desmond struck out on three pitches, taking some huge hacks along the way. Espinosa wrapped it up by striking out with a feeble, check-swing. Suffice it to say, this one has not looked good from the Nats' perspective so far.
2:00 p.m. -- One bright spot so far through the first three innings: DeRosa has made three nice plays at third base already, including a nifty backhand stab and long throw to first to get Aaron Rowand to end the inning. Of course, the Nats don't want to see DeRosa over there very much this year, because that would mean something was wrong with Ryan Zimmerman. But it's at least nice to see the veteran can still handle the position if needed. Still 3-0 after three.
2:15 p.m. -- Gonzalez has definitely been getting better as this outing progresses. He just retired the side in the fourth, striking out Nolasco and Reyes. For those wondering about the whole "dead arm" issue, I don't see that being a problem today. The stadium radar gun has had his fastball clocked around 91-93 mph. That's pretty much normal for him. Marlins still lead 3-0 after four.
2:24 p.m. -- The Nats have started putting men on base against Nolasco. In fact, they've racked up two hits in each of the last three innings. But they've been unable to bring anyone home, including just now in the top of the fifth when Brett Carroll flied out to deep left with two outs and two on. Carroll entered the game in place of Ankiel, who walked off the field accompanied by a trainer. He's been dealing with a quad strain, you know, but we'll have to wait and see if that was a factor in his early departure today.
2:30 p.m. -- The day began in rough fashion for Gio Gonzalez, but he finished strong, retiring seven of the last eight batters he faced. His final line: 5 ip, 7 h, 3 er, 1 bb, 6 k, 78 pitches, 51 strikes. The Nats still trail 3-0 after five.
2:42 p.m. -- Another productive afternoon at the plate for Bernadina, who singled home a run in the sixth to make himself 7 for his last 9 with two homers and seven RBI. Not bad at all. Lombardozzi, by the way, has been moved to second base with Jason Michaels taking over in left field. Bunch of other changes, as well, with several guys called up from minor-league camp for the day taking over. It's 3-1 Marlins in the bottom of the sixth as Craig Stammen enters to pitch.
2:53 p.m. -- Strange start for Ricky Nolasco. He wound up surrendering nine hits over 6 1/3 innings, but only one run. He's pulled with one out in the seventh in favor of J.D. Martin, another former National.
3:04 p.m. -- Very nice diving stop at second base by Lombardozzi to rob Reyes of a base hit. Suffice it to say, he appears much more comfortable in the infield than the outfield right now. Meanwhile, Tyler Clippard absolutely blew away Hanley Ramirez with a high, 97 mph fastball to end the seventh. Still 3-1 Marlins.
3:18 p.m. -- Another 1-2-3 inning of relief for Brad Lidge, who struck out Sanchez and got Infante and Kearns to fly out to center. His fastball was clocked at 91-92 mph on the stadium gun. Seems like Lidge has been able to ramp that up this spring as he hoped. Last chance for the Nats as we go to the ninth, still 3-1.
3:28 p.m. -- It's over. Marlins win 3-1. The Nats actually out-hit them, 11-8, but all 11 were singles. Still, solid pitching effort after Gio's ragged first inning. And the lineup didn't exactly feature a lot of the regulars.