Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The forecast doesn't look good today at Disney World.
If they do play, Ross Detwiler will be on the mound for the Nats, making his first start of the spring. It's actually kind of important that the lefty gets a couple of innings of work in today, because he's only scheduled to make two starts here before leaving to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. He'll need to build up his stamina somehow.
There are a few more regulars on this trip than last night's road game in Port St. Lucie. Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond are here hoping to get some at-bats. We'll see even more regulars tomorrow against the Marlins, with Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche scheduled to make their spring debuts.
If they play, you can listen to today's game on the radio (1580 AM). And you can get all your updates and analysis (both game an weather related) right here...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Disney's Wide World of Sports, Lake Buena Vista
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
Radio: WHFS (1580 AM)
Weather: Thunderstorms, 83 degrees, Wind 19 mph RF to LF
CF Eury Perez
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Bryce Harper
1B Tyler Moore
SS Ian Desmond
DH Chris Marrero
RF Carlos Rivero
3B Anthony Rendon
C Jhonatan Solano
(LHP Ross Detwiler)
LF Reed Johnson
RF Jason Heyward
DH Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
CF B.J. Upton
2B Dan Uggla
3B Juan Francisco
C Christian Bethancourt
SS Ramiro Pena
(LHP Mike Minor)
12:45 p.m. -- We're now 20 minutes away from scheduled first pitch, and the tarp remains on the infield. A couple of Braves are starting to warm up, but neither starting pitcher has emerged. So it would appear we're not going to be starting on time.
1:05 p.m. -- Well, there's been no official announcement, but gametime has arrived and the tarp hasn't moved from its position covering the infield, so ...
1:39 p.m. -- The tarp is being rolled up, so we may actually have some baseball here shortly. Whether they can play nine innings is questionable, but really the Nats would probably be OK with getting anywhere from 3-5 innings completed.
1:41 p.m. -- While you're waiting for the game to start, might as well read my just-posted article on Ryan Mattheus, who is making a key adjustment this spring knowing he's going to be asked to face more left-handed hitters this spring.
2:05 p.m. -- And we are underway at last here at Disney. Mike Minor delivers a fastball for strike one to Eury Perez to get this one started.
2:17 p.m. -- And the Nats take it to Minor in the top of the first, with five of the first seven batters reaching safely, the highlights coming on Bryce Harper's bouncing double over first baseman Freddie Freeman's head and Ian Desmond's scorched RBI single past Freeman. They scored twice and had a chance to really pile on early, but Anthony Rendon struck out with the bases loaded to end the frame with the Nats on top 2-0.
2:25 p.m. -- Solid first inning for Ross Detwiler, who retired the side on 13 pitches (8 strikes). He fired off a couple of really nice curveballs, including a 79 mph bender that buckled Jason Heyward's knees for a strikeout.
2:30 p.m. -- Nothin' doin' in the top of the second as Minor retires the side. He struck out Eury Perez (who, like I suggested last night, really should bunt every time he steps up to bat) looking and then got Danny Espinosa to whiff to end the inning. Nats still up 2-0 heading to the bottom of the second.
2:42 p.m. -- Good evidence of how effective Detwiler has been here so far: He's already go four swings-and-misses in only two innings. Must be getting good movement on his pitches today. He's at only 29 total pitches so far, so he's good to come back out for the third. Minor, on the other hand, is done after 38 pitches. Right-hander Cory Rasmus now in for Atlanta.
2:50 p.m. -- Call me crazy, but I think this Bryce Harper kid has a chance to be decent some day. He just laced his second double in as many at-bats today and is now 5-for-7 this spring.
3:02 p.m. -- Well, the wheels came off a bit for Detwiler in the bottom of the third. He gave up four singles, two of them well-struck RBI base hits to the Upton brothers. And with his pitch count at 41, we got a rare spring glimpse of Capt. Hook. Davey emerged from the dugout to take the ball from his starter and summoned Ryan Perry from the pen. Detwiler's final line: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 41 pitches, 28 strikes. It's now a tie game, 2-2 after three.
3:20 p.m. -- In addition to his bat skills, I've been quite impressed with Anthony Rendon's defensive ability at third base so far this spring. He just made another nice play on a 5-3 double play, rifling a throw to first base to end the bottom of the fourth. Still 2-2.
3:30 p.m. -- Make it a 3-for-3 afternoon for Harper, who singled in the fifth and came around to score on Desmond's base hit to right. Bryce is now 6-for-8 this spring, making a strong case for inclusion on the Opening Day roster, I'd say. Nats now lead 3-2 in the fifth.
3:50 p.m. -- Yikes, Ryan Perry took one on the chin today. He was battered around for three runs on seven hits in only 1 2/3 innings and got yanked by Davey after retiring only one of eight batters faced in the fifth. The Braves now lead 5-3 as Brandon Mann enters.
4:00 p.m. -- And what does Mann do upon entering with the bases loaded? Walks in a run. Then gives up another. So it's 7-3 Braves, with five runs charged to Perry. If it suddenly started pouring again and they called this game, I really doubt anyone in the Nats dugout would be upset.
4:20 p.m. -- Just got back from the clubhouse, where Ross Detwiler talked about how important it was that he faced a good, tough Braves lineup today, which he saw as a good tuneup for the WBC in a couple weeks. Meanwhile, the Nats now trail 8-3 in the seventh. The Braves currently are going with a battery of Schlosser and Schlehuber. Been that kind of day.
4:49 p.m. -- The Nats get a couple runs back in the eighth, with another double from Rendon (who has looked impressive). It's now 9-5 as we go to the bottom of the eighth.
5:00 p.m. -- That's the ballgame. Nats lose 9-5. They fall to 1-2-1 this spring.