Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Digital Domain Park, spring training home of the Mets.
Well, we'll just have to worry for him, because the competition for the No. 5 starter's job is one of the biggest questions in this camp. Chien-Ming Wang made his first claim for the spot this afternoon when he tossed two strong innings in a minor-league intrasquad game.
Tonight, John Lannan gets a chance to open his case when he faces the Mets. All indications continue to suggest Lannan will be the most likely odd man out when camp closes (provided Wang is healthy and Ross Detwiler is moved to the bullpen) but Johnson gave something of a vote of confidence to the left-hander before tonight's game.
"He led our team in in wins last year," the manager said. "I like him. I think he's only going to get better."
If you're interested in watching tonight's game, MLB Network is scheduled to pick up the Mets' feed from SNY. Charlie and Dave will also have the call on 1500 AM and 1580 AM...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. NEW YORK METS
Where: Digital Domain Park, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 6:10 p.m.
TV: MLB Network (Mets' SNY feed)
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM)
Weather: Clear, 69 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF
STARTING LINEUPS5:30 p.m. -- You'll notice Bryce Harper is in the lineup for the third time in four days. And tomorrow, he's scheduled to come off the bench against the Braves. I asked Davey if he plans to give the kid a day off anytime soon. His response: "[Shoot], he's 19! I asked him the other day in the seventh inning: 'Are you tired?' And he said: 'Do you see the girl with the red lips over there?' I mean, he's just got a lot of energy. I remember when I was 19, I never got tired. I can't remember when I was 19, but I get tired now."
LF Roger Bernadina
2B Steve Lombardozzi
3B Mark Teahen
1B Chad Tracy
CF Rick Ankiel
RF Bryce Harper
C Jesus Flores
DH Xavier Paul
SS Andres Blanco
(P John Lannan)
CF Andres Torres
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Justin Turner
1B Ike Davis
LF Jason Bay
RF Lucas Duda
DH Valentino Pascucci
C Josh Thole
SS Ruben Tejada
(P Dillon Gee)
6:11 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Dillon Gee to Roger Bernadina.
6:15 p.m. -- A quick, 1-2-3 top of the first for Gee. Bernadina grounded out to short. Steve Lombardozzi flied out to left. And Mark Teahen swung and missed three times. That's not a good way to try to make a ballclub as a non-roster invitee.
6:25 p.m. -- Here's another thing you don't want to do when you're trying to make the club: Issue a leadoff walk, then allow a stolen base, then serve up an RBI single to center. Not a good start to the spring for John Lannan. He did, however, rebound to get Justin Turner to line out to right and then broke Ike Davis' bat in inducing a 4-6-3 double play. Mets up 1-0 after one.
6:33 p.m. -- Rick Ankiel grew up in Port St. Lucie, and he's got a bunch of friends and family here tonight. You probably heard them cheering after he clubbed an opposite-field homer in the top of the second. Nice sign for Ankiel, who in the past has had a tendency to try to pull everything. Another nice sign: Bryce Harper chopped a base hit up the middle. So he's now 3-for-6 in the Grapefruit League (all singles) and 3-for-8 with a walk overall this spring when you include the Georgetown game. Harper also showed nice hustle going from first to third when Turner let Jesus Flores' grounder go right through his legs. With a chance to do some real damage, though, Andres Blanco grounded into a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning, so it's 1-1 headed to the bottom of the second.
6:40 p.m. -- A very quick second inning for Lannan, who retired the side on a pair of weakly hit fly balls and a little nubber to first. He's only thrown 23 pitches (13 strikes) through two innings, and there's no action in the Nats' bullpen yet, so it looks like he'll come back out for the third.
6:48 p.m. -- Another swinging strikeout for Teahen. Yikes. He does not look good. Neither did Bernadina getting thrown out trying to steal second after drawing a leadoff walk. Still 1-1 as Lannan retakes the mound for the bottom of the third.
7:00 p.m. -- Three innings in the books, and this turned into a typical John Lannan outing. Not spectacular. Not horrible. His final line: 3 ip, 3 h, 1 er, 1 bb, 1 k, 43 pitches, 27 strikes. He allowed a couple of singles in the third but got Murphy to line out to left and Turner to ground out to second. Still 1-1 heading to the fourth.
7:15 p.m. -- Not a good night so far for the guys trying to make the club as the 25th man. Teahen is 0-for-2 with a pair of swinging strikeouts. Blanco and Paul have each grounded into inning-ending double plays, Paul just going 4-6-3 to end the top of the fourth. The Nats had loaded the bases when Mets prospect Matt Harvey walked Ankiel and Harper and then drilled Flores in the left hand/wrist with a fastball. Flores appears to be OK. We go to the bottom of the fourth, with Craig Stammen now in to pitch.
7:25 p.m. -- Brief scary moment as Stammen drills Lucas Duda with a high-and-tight fastball. Got him in the back, though, not higher up, which was a good thing. Valentino Pascucci (what a name!) then destroyed a pitch from Stammen that looked to everyone here like would leave the park. But it hung up enough for Ankiel to make the catch at the warning track, keeping this game tied 1-1 after four.
7:34 p.m. -- Teahen redeems himself with a sac fly to left, scoring Eury Perez (who, by the way, can really fly around the bases). Chad Tracy, however, is now 0-for-3 and remains hitless for the spring. Nats lead 2-1 midway through the fifth.
8:03 p.m. -- Just got back from the clubhouse, where Lannan talked about his start (he was a little out of sorts when he first took the mound but was glad he settled down after that) and Ankiel talked about homering in front of his hometown fans (did you know he's in the Port St. Lucie High School Hall of Fame?). Meanwhile, it's still 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, but Ryan Perry is in a jam, with runners on the corners and nobody out.
8:06 p.m. -- Oh, I just realized Harper had another hit, beat out a grounder to third. So he's now 4-for-7 this spring and 2-for-2 with a walk tonight. Not bad at all.
8:11 p.m. -- And Perry gets out of the jam, striking out Adam Loewen, getting Lucas May to line out and getting Mike Nickeas to ground out. So it remains 2-1 Nats through six.
8:48 p.m. -- Make it 3-1 Nationals as Jhonatan Solano drives in Brett Carroll from third with a little bouncer over the mound. Carroll was only on base because of a dropped pop-up to shallow center, not to mention a dropped throw as he tried to reach second base. Not the cleanest inning there for the Mets.
8:58 p.m. -- Wow, spectacular play at shortstop by Zach Walters in the bottom of the eighth. He went way to his left and made a full-out, diving snag of a hard smash, then hopped to his feet and fired to first for the out. Walters, for those who don't remember, is the guy the Nationals got from the Diamondbacks for Jason Marquis last July 31. Still 3-1 heading to the ninth.
9:00 p.m. -- Oh, and if you're wondering why Walters is wearing No. 11, no nothing happened to Ryan Zimmerman. Walters is officially in minor-league camp and was called up just for the day. That's the uniform he wears down there.
9:09 p.m. -- I love Miguel Batista. Just not for the eighth and ninth innings of a spring training night game. Hey, Miss Iowa, pick up the pace! I gotta drive back to Viera tonight!
9:18 p.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win 3-1 as Waldis Joaquin gets a 5-4-3 double play to end it. First win of the spring.