Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg takes the mound today at Space Coast Stadium.
We're getting a glimpse of that with today's lineup. Mark DeRosa is at first base, where you'll probably see him a decent amount this season. Even if LaRoche is healthy, Johnson plans to start DeRosa frequently against left-handers.
DeRosa also is a candidate to start in left field if Morse is out, but obviously he can't play two positions at once. So we're getting a look today at Steve Lombardozzi, making his first career start in the outfield. Coach Bo Porter was working one-on-one with Lombardozzi on some fundamentals on a back field this morning. It's pretty clear the Nats are serious about looking at him out there for now.
Stephen Strasburg is on the mound. Plenty of updates to come...
NEW YORK METS vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind 13 mph RF to LF
STARTING LINEUPS1:06 p.m. -- With a fastball for strike one from Stephen Strasburg to Ruben Tejada, we are underway.
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
1B Mark DeRosa
C Jesus Flores
CF Roger Bernadina
LF Steve Lombardozzi
P Stephen Strasburg
SS Ruben Tejada
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jason Bay
1B Ike Davis
3B Vinny Rottino
CF Jordany Valdespin
RF Adam Loewen
C Lucas May
P Matt Harvey
1:14 p.m. -- Strasburg did allow a couple of well-struck singles to Tejada and Jason Bay in the top of the first, but he struck out Ike Davis looking at a well-placed fastball on the outside corner. Then he got Vinny Rottino to lineout to right to end the inning. 17 pitches, 12 strikes in a scoreless first for Strasburg.
1:36 p.m. -- Davey Johnson kept saying his guys would flip on the switch starting today. Well, looks like he was right. In a big way. How does a 5-run bottom of the first sound? With three home runs? Ian Desmond started it off with a leadoff shot to left, continuing his recent hot streak. Danny Espinosa and Ryan Zimmerman each doubled to right. Jayson Werth then hit the longest home run I can remember seeing in this ballpark. Just obliterated a ball to left field, nearly reaching Stadium Parkway in the process. And then for good measure, Roger Bernadina put one over that same fence. (Two things should be noted here: 1) The wind is blowing out to left, though Bernadina's was the only of the three homers that needed the help), and 2) This all came against a guy (Matt Harvey) who is talented but is going to open the season at Class AA or Class AAA.
1:45 p.m. -- Good stuff from Strasburg in the top of the second. He retired the side, striking out Adam Loewen and Lucas May. Then again, who hasn't struck out Loewen this spring. He's gone down 19 times in 35 Grapefruit League at-bats. Is that good? Strasburg, through two innings, has thrown 22 of 33 pitches for strikes. Nats lead 5-0 as Justin Hampson (wearing No. 96) enters for the Mets to replace Matt Harvey.
2:01 p.m. -- Man, are the Mets terrible or what? Sheesh. You thought Harvey was bad. Meet Hampson, who walked three straight batters (one of them with the bases loaded) in the second. He also struck out Lombardozzi, yet allowed two runs to score on the play because the pitch was in the dirt and catcher Lucas May airmailed the throw. It's 8-0 Nats after two.
2:12 p.m. -- If Gary Cederstrom isn't careful, Stephen Strasburg's next pitch may drill him in the neck. Strasburg isn't happy with Cederstrom's strike zone today, particularly on a curveball that looked like it had Ike Davis struck out in the top of the third. Cederstrom didn't agree, and Strasburg gave him a death glare. No problem, because Davis then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Three scoreless in the books. Strasburg has thrown 50 pitches, 30 strikes.
2:27 p.m. -- I'm told Justin Hampson is a call-up for the day from minor-league camp. Is there a level below that for the Mets to send him to at the end of the day? What a debacle this has been, continuing in the bottom of the third when Hampson allowed two more runs on four more hits and a walk. He also forgot to cover first on a groundball to the right side. It's 10-0 as everyone in Queens starts panicking the way everyone in D.C. had been for the last week.
2:41 p.m. -- Strasburg has navigated his way through four scoreless innings, though he hasn't been particularly sharp. He's put seven men on base (five hits, a walk and a hit batter). He has four strikeouts. He's also been squeezed consistently by Cederstrom. 72 pitches, 40 strikes thus far. The Nats still lead 10-0 after 3 1/2.
2:55 p.m. -- Five scoreless innings in the books for Strasburg after he retires the side in the fifth, striking out Mike Baxter to end the frame. He's at 84 pitches (47 strikes) so that might be it for him today.
3:10 p.m. -- Here's the first five innings of this game in a nutshell: Roger Bernadina has reached base four times already. And he's batting seventh. It's 11-0 as Chad Durbin enters to pitch the sixth. Strasburg's final line: 5 ip, 5 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 5 k, 1 hbp, 84 pitches, 46 strikes. Good, but not great.
3:27 p.m. -- How often do you see guys get five at-bats in a spring training game? That's been the case today for Desmond (2-for-5), Espinosa (3-for-5), Zimmerman (3-for-5) and Werth (2-for-5). Not bad at all. Speaking of not bad, Durbin has had himself a nice spring. Too bad there doesn't appear to be a spot in the Opening Day bullpen for him. Still 11-0 after six.
3:39 p.m. -- Nice play by Jason Michaels in left field to end the top of the seventh. Well, it looked like a nice catch. Except it became necessary only after Michaels got all twisted around reading the ball off the bat. Still 11-0 at the seventh-inning stretch.
4:03 p.m. -- Was down in the clubhouse interviewing Strasburg -- "I feel ready to go" -- as Tyler Clippard was making quick work of the top of the eighth. The Nats then added another run in the bottom of the inning, so it's now 12-0 as Brad Lidge comes in for the save. Well, maybe it's not quite a save situation. But it is the first time the Nats have needed a pitcher in the ninth inning in four days!
4:07 p.m. -- It's over. The Nats end their 11-game winless streak in emphatic fashion, winning 12-0. Everyone feeling better now? Good.