Monday, March 25, 2013

Nats vs. Astros - 3/25/13

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals face Bo Porter and the Astros tonight at Osceola County Stadium.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- We are officially less than one week away from Opening Day -- check out the countdown clock to the right -- and most of the Nationals' spring decisions have been made. One of the few remaining big ones, though, should come later tonight, when Chris Young decides whether or not to opt-out of his minor-league contract. (The educated guess here: He will opt-out, with some other club offering him a spot on their big-league staff.)

First, Young will take the mound this evening to face the Astros in what could very well be his final start for the Nationals. The veteran right-hander has progressively gotten better with each outing this spring, culminating with five scoreless innings last time out against the Marlins. We'll see how he handles Bo Porter's Houston squad tonight.

All the regulars are in the lineup for the Nationals. In fact, every position player still in camp besides Kurt Suzuki made the trip to Kissimmee for this one.

Updates to come, please check back...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. HOUSTON ASTROS
Where: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 6:05 p.m. EST
TV: MLB.tv (live), MLB Network (delayed at 3 a.m.)
Radio: Astros radio via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Sunny, 67 degrees, Wind 14 mph out to RF
NATIONALS
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Chris Young

ASTROS
2B Marwin Gonzalez
3B Brett Wallace
1B Carlos Pena
LF Chris Carter
RF Fernando Martinez
CF Justin Maxwell
C Jason Castro
DH Rick Ankiel
SS Ronny Cedeno
(RHP Alex White)

6:07 p.m. -- And we're underway with a ball from Alex White to ... wait, who's the leadoff guy wearing No. 91 for the Nationals? That is indeed Denard Span, who apparently forgot to bring his regular No. 2 jersey with him on the trip. So he had to take whatever clubhouse manager Mike Wallace had available.

6:17 p.m. -- Span hasn't had a tremendous spring at the plate, but he has shown a good eye. He drew his 10th walk in 58 plate appearances, not a bad ratio at all. Unfortunately, Span was wiped out on a 4-6-3 double play by Jayson Werth. Bryce Harper then produced yet another hit to raise his spring batting average to .441, but Ryan Zimmerman was robbed of a line drive hit by Brett Wallace at third base.

6:30 p.m. -- A long bottom of the first for Chris Young, but he got out of it without any damage. He did issue a walk to Carlos Pena and allowed Marwin Gonzalez to reach on an infield single but also struck out Brett Wallace. Scoreless through one inning here.

6:44 p.m. -- Not the prettiest bottom of the second. Young plunked Justin Maxwell to start the inning. Then Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond had some miscommunication on a pop-up behind third base, with the ball falling harmlessly to the ground. Luckily, Zimmerman was able to still force Maxwell out at second base. Young then got a double-play grounder out of Rick Ankiel. So again, no harm, no foul. Scoreless through two.

7:00 p.m. -- Hey, if nobody wants to sign Young to pitch, maybe some NL club will want him as a bat off the bench. He just singled in the top of the third and has now reached base all three times he's stepped to the plate this spring. He even managed to go first-to-third on Werth's single, then scored on Harper's single to right. For those keeping track, that's Harper's sixth consecutive hit. He's now batting .450. Nats lead 1-0.

7:18 p.m. -- Wilson Ramos continues to swing a hot bat, lacing an RBI single to right in the top of the fourth. He's now hitting .321 for the spring and making a real case to be the starting catcher on Opening Day. 2-0 Nats.

7:29 p.m. -- The Astros get on the board in the bottom of the fourth, though it wasn't Young's fault. Harper dropped a shallow fly to left field after calling off Desmond and Span. So that's an unearned run, meaning Young has tossed nine consecutive scoreless innings, allowing only four hits during that time. Good stuff. Nats lead 2-1 heading to the fifth.

7:37 p.m. -- Harper with another base hit in the fifth, his seventh straight hit. A quick check of the Bryce-O-Meter now has him at a cool .459. And then LaRoche blasted his second homer in as many days. It's 4-1 Nats as Henry Rodriguez enters, thus likely ending the Chris Young Era in D.C. His line tonight: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 61 pitches, 38 strikes.

7:51 p.m. -- Well, that was quite the Henry Rodriguez inning of relief, wasn't it? His first pitch nearly went to the backstop, saved by Wilson Ramos. His third pitch nearly decapitated Rick Ankiel, who eventually walked. Rodriguez's first seven pitches all were balls, bringing Steve McCatty out to the mound. Yet after all that, H-Rod completed a scoreless inning: 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 1 Ankiel Life-Flash-Before-His-Eyes Moment.

8:23 p.m. -- Craig Stammen loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth but somehow escaped. I'd tell you how he did it, except my view was blocked by Orbit, the Astros' new mascot who decided to walk up to the press box window and pester me for several minutes. Fun times. I think it's still 4-1 Nats as we go to the seventh.

8:48 p.m. -- Just got back from the clubhouse. First, the news: Chris Young has filed paperwork to opt-out of his contract. But the Nats have 24 hours to put him on the roster or work out some kind of other deal, and Young is hopeful they might be able to get something done. Reading between the lines, my hunch is that he would be willing to go to Syracuse to start the season, but would want another opt-out date sometime early in the season if he's not called up. He seems realistic about the situation, so it still wouldn't be surprising if he signs elsewhere in the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, in the game, Stammen was roughed up in the seventh. He was charged with five runs on six hits. Drew Storen has now entered, with the Astros now leading 6-4.

9:21 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Nats lose 6-4. J.C. Romero did make it in for his Nats debut and pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth. So that was good. So was Chris Young and the guys in the starting lineup. Craig Stammen, not so much.

80 comments:

Doc said...

Just a guess, but I bet that Astros are one of Mr. Young's suitors??

SCNatsFan said...

I'm not sure Young doesn't stay here rather then go and be part of the slaughter that will be Houston this year

IKN8wxU2 said...

Right. I suppose the only difference between the Astros and Syracuse is that you have ride buses at Syracuse.

Knoxville Nat said...

I'll be shocked if he stays here and accepts Syracuse. I would think another team with a better chance for the playoffs than the Astros will offer him a ML contract. Got to build up that service time for the pension too.

Joe Seamhead said...

Another useless, but interesting ST stat: Our old buddy Mark DeRosa is hitting .486 for the BlueJays.
So, Lannen gave up 12 runs on 14 hits, but the next four relievers only gave up one hit over the next five innings.I guess it just wasn't his day.
I wish John extra special good luck when he pitches against the Braves.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Nats need that 6th starter.

baseballswami said...

This spring Lannan has probably pitched better than Halladay.He was our guy through some bad times here and he always gave it his all. I will wish him well in every start except those against us. Hey - I see that Kristina Akra is going to the MLB Network! Moving on up after being showcased with the Nats.

natsfan1a said...

Seconded.

baseballswami said...

He was our guy through some bad times here and he always gave it his all. I will wish him well in every start except those against us.

Section 222 said...

Good for Kristina. She deserves it for putting up with the Gatorade attacks last year (and for her good work, of course.)

Theophilus T. S. said...

Unless Young really ramps up tonight, e.g., 6 innings, 87-88 mph, I'm betting there's no major league contract waiting for him. I think he has promise, i.e., is adequate for the purpose for which the Nats intend him, but no major league team really needs him before the middle of the month and I'm not sure anyone will give up a roster spot for him a day before they need to.

baseballswami said...

I am waiting for any sports network to hire an unattractive woman who knows a lot about her sport and is articulate. At least on MLB Network they are smart. Just seems like they HAVE to be hot. Not so with the men. Is MASN hiring someone else?

baseballswami said...

As for Young - seems like the Nats hitters did not have an easy time with him last year.

MicheleS said...

Thirded (well written Swami)

baseballswami said...

He was our guy through some bad times here and he always gave it his all. I will wish him well in every start except those against us.

Drew said...

I love the headline on the Phillies' official site:

"Adams strong in seventh outing"

I guess these wouldn't fit:

"Mrs. Lincoln enjoys first act of play"

"McLean Stevenson quits MASH for better options"

"Storen enters 9th with lead"

(I know, too soon ...)

baseballswami said...

Ouch.....

MJR said...

A great big shout-out to NCNatsie who, in addition to writing the lyrics, drove up from Raleigh to lead the nascent Nats Insider Chorus (plus a few ringers?) in a rousing recording session of "Let's All Cheer for the Washington Nats". Another big shout-out to Waddu Eye No for the arrangement and accompaniment and to the other slightly obsessed, musical Insiders who made the trek to Duffy's on Palm Sunday no less. As recording sessions go, it was way more fun than most and it was great to meet some fellow Insiders in person. I had a great time and can't wait to see the video. Go Nats!

MicheleS said...

Wil Nieves made the DBacks.

peric said...

Its a shame I really liked Kristina. Much better than her predecessor.

baseballswami said...

Nieves, Ankiel, DeRosa, Wang - you could knock me over with a feather right now I am so surprised that these guys still have jobs. Although, it used to be that the guys we were done with just rode off into the sunset and were never seen or heard of again.I guess we are producing a better quality of released players now, too. Nady have a job?

Mac said...

Xavier Nady December 14, 2012: Signed as a Free Agent with the Kansas City Royals.

baseballswami said...

Wow - jobs for everyone.

Another_Sam said...

Certainly I was never a fan of Lannan when he was at the top of the rotation. But I wish him well and great success onthe mound, and I remember he pitched under very high pressure here last year and he came through in rousng fashion. [All that has been said by wise posters above.] In life, success isn't a zero sum game, and I hope Lannan has plenty of it on the baseball field -- except when he faces the Nats.

baseballswami said...

It's the free game on MLB.tv!!!!!

Another_Sam said...

Swami -- I'm surprised about Wang. The rest of 'em I can see taking the role of journeyman -- like we once needed lots of here.

sjm308 said...

I always liked LannEn as well. I have to disagree with Swami on this one though. If he was pitching in the AL I would root,for,him but I honestly hope he loses every game he pitches with the Phillies. I can't wish any good luck for them, and I want us to cruise into the playoffs. Every game LannEn wins hurts our chances.

Mac said...

Players have to bring their own jerseys to the games? I thought that was the equipment manager's job. So I guess Zimmerman and Dunn were the ones to blame for "Natinals", huh?

Another_Sam said...

how does one get the free game on mlb.tv?

natsfan1a said...

He could pitch well during his innings, and then the Phillies 'pen could blow it. Problem solved. :-)

sjm308 said...

I always liked LannEn as well. I have to disagree with Swami on this one though. If he was pitching in the AL I would root,for,him but I honestly hope he loses every game he pitches with the Phillies. I can't wish any good luck for them, and I want us to cruise into the playoffs. Every game LannEn wins hurts our chances.
March 25, 2013 6:13 PM

baseballswami said...

Go to MLB. Com -- when you see the games listed on the left, our game will say free game. Just click it. I already had registered at another time when there was a free game - just an email address and password. They do free games a lot.

baseballswami said...

Ankiel is the DH. What ????

Another_Sam said...

Dandy. Thank, Swami.

MicheleS said...

Sam.. go to nats page. look under Video/Watch/Listen.

NatsLady said...

Spring training is different than the regular season. Players are responsible for their own gear (just like in the minors). There are some funny stories about players forgetting stuff, including a pitcher who ran around to the local sports store to buy his gear (not one of ours, if I recall.)

MicheleS said...

so I just bought tickets to the 3rd bobble head game. the other 2 are in my plan. Such a sucker for bobbleheads (and free stuff in general)

Another_Sam said...

I've got it. I've never done this. First I'm on twitter. Now MLB.TV what's next? LOL

JaneB said...

I wish LannEn good luck, too. Like Mac, I am surprised that players bring their own jerseys. I thought that stuff was taken care of for them.

Bo is going to make these Astros better than people think. That's my prediction.

Another_Sam said...

MicheleS - I've still got a Matt Capps bobblehead that I got in Pittsburg. LOL. I know what you mean.

Candide said...

Trying to get the free game on MLB.com - all I get is a two-minute video of Matt Capps losing a game on a walkoff HR in Houston, and a logon screen. What am I doing wrong?

JaneB said...

Collin Balestar doesn't have a team yet. What a hard game this is!

NatsJack in Florida said...

It amazes me how many swings and misses Young is getting up in the zone.

MicheleS said...

Jack are you at the game?

MicheleS said...

Peacock made the Astros opening day line up. Good for him

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yes. Gator and I are sitting in the second row behind the dugout just behind Davey and Rick.

natsfan1a said...

I'm also cuckoo for bobbleheads. We have tix for the first two bobblehead games, but not the third, which I believe is a Saturday night. That said, I hope to have spares of the first two bobbleheads to barter. :-)

MicheleS said...

so I just bought tickets to the 3rd bobble head game. the other 2 are in my plan. Such a sucker for bobbleheads (and free stuff in general)
March 25, 2013 6:32 PM

DaveB said...

Candide ... you need to have a MLB.com userid ... I forget where you register .. perhaps if you just put in your email and click "forgot my password" it will register you.

John C. said...

Should potential Chris Young suitors discount for opponent quality level? Even if he pitches well today, his two "decent" starts would be against the Marlins and Astros. How would he do against major league hitters? It's like pitching impressively against the 2006-2009 Nationals (opposing pitchers were immediately "Cy Young for a Day").

That said, I bet Young ends up in the Houston rotation, in the Livan Hernandez role. They get a veteran to provide guidance for the kids, Young gets to prove he can pitch in the majors and possibly get flipped for prospects before the deadline.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And Bryce does his best Carlos Rivero imitation.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Uh oh...Davey just sent Henry down to the bull pen to get loose.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Anyone care to 'splain why Harper is wearing his sunglasses upside down above the bill of his cap?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Uh....so he doesn't lose them.

Most ball players wear them like that when they don't actually need them.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And heerre comes Henry.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Henry only threw one warm up to the back stop.

MicheleS said...

Henry needs to go on the DL

Joe Seamhead said...

Good for Henry. I guess...

NatsJack in Florida said...

Well....that wasn't so bad.

Joe Seamhead said...

Espinosa looks very confident right now.

Joe Seamhead said...

I hope Maxwell is OK. He's had a history of very
fragile bones going back to when he was at University of MD.

Steady Eddie said...

That was the first time I can recall seeing bad Henry and Good Henry together in the same inning. So they're not two completely different people after all.

Nattering Nat said...

Young is gone, gone, gone (no news yet, just anticipating). Too bad, but then again, he seems to have served Rizzo's main purpose--insurance in case a starter got hurt during ST. Young said he'd take any major league opportunity over Syracuse, so I believe him. The only rabbit out of the hat that might keep him here is if Rizzo put him on the 25-man roster as of tonight, to use as a long reliever in the interim. But ain't gonna happen.

SCNatsFan said...

Nattering nut, I still think putting Young on the 25 man wins more games then Henry. Either way one guy is lost for nothing. In a year Henry will be the same - a tease.

Joe Seamhead said...

Steady Eddie, I though that maybe Good Henry relieved Bad Henry. Glad it wasn't either Henry that hit Maxwell on the wrist.

Joe Seamhead said...

"Thought" Henry relieved Henry.

baseballswami said...

Stammen is stee-ruggling. He has been so good. Get it over with and leave it in Florida.

baseballswami said...

Bad Henry has possessed Craig's arm?

Joe Seamhead said...

It looked like Denard might have misjudged that one.

MicheleS said...

Young did opt out. Sorry to see him go.

baseballswami said...

Sure- I start watching and the Astros turn into an offensive powerhouse.

ehay2k said...

Did Denard have to change his normal depth to help cover turf for Micah?

Joe Seamhead said...

Another run scores because Storen doesn't hold the runner at first. He better start learning how because the word is out.

Nattering Nat said...

So Young has filed the papers, but he is "hopeful" that the Nats might still get something done, according to Mark? Then DO it, Rizzo!! That's an invitation if I ever saw one. I, for one, have been willing to give Henry two, three, four chances, in the hopes he can corral himself, but I don't think my heart can take it any longer. If Young wants another opt-out soon into the season and might start at Syracuse, that would be his way of repaying the Nats treating him well. That would speak volumes about him AND about the Nats organization nowadays. And how their prospects are perceived.

So, fingers crossed.

baseballswami said...

Except that he is not a reliever and we don't have a starter job available. Proverbial rock and a hard place.

Steady Eddie said...

Joe S. -- I'd have to look at the replay to be sure, but it may have been the wind that crossed Denard up. It's been pretty gusty blowing from left to right field, and has held up some balls hit to left (may have taken a dinger away from TMo and aided ALR's), and might have carried that triple in a weird way.

baseballswami said...

JC Romero looked decent in the eighth. Where are they playing? Some people at the game wearing parkas with hoods.

Nattering Nat said...

Yes, I guess I realize that Young's not positioned right now to transition to be a long reliever, nor would he want it, I suppose. If you look at the good luck the Nats had with their starters last year, yet how many other of their pitchers have gotten hurt, I find it hard to believe it will be long before one of the starters has something happen. Almost unavoidable, defying the odds. Rizzo must know that, but how do you say that to Young--or anyone--after what Lannan went through last year.

Besides, Young himself seems prone to injury. So I won't get too worked up over it. I'll be worked up enough watching Morse hit over .300 with power for someone else this year--provided he stays healthy.

baseballswami said...

A lot of this stuff is a crap shoot.

baseballswami said...

And Bo Porter looks like he is right where he belongs. Everyone feels sorry for him with his lack of resources, but no expectations , either. He looks happy.

Joe Seamhead said...

I know Eddie, it's hard to tell while watching on my desk top. Just looked like he both broke back late, and then maybe misjudged his leap, but those lasers coming in like that are very tough to play.

MicheleS said...

Swami, from the tweets I was seeing, wind was howling and it was cold for Florida (probably a cool 55 degrees or something like that)

MicheleS said...

HMMMM..interesting


Mark Zuckerman‏@ZuckermanCSN
Davey Johnson did a masterful job dancing around the question of whether Henry Rodriguez will make #Nats Opening Day bullpen.

Steady Eddie said...

Coming back to Cocoa Beach from the game, my car thermometer read 58 degrees, and there was a maybe 25-30 mph wind blowing across the field. My 12 year old daughter refused to zip up her hoodie despite my repeated urgings untill the bottom of the 7th and then immediately started complaining that she was freezing (in shorts). I think that wind was part of the erratic fielding, as I mentioned.

We stayed when I saw Romero warming up, and as Mark noted, he looked basically OK. A little trouble locating the zone at times (not wild, just a bit off-target), but recovered enough to put away each batter smoothly. Another good Rizzo find, like Michael Gonzalez (older lefty reliever with decent though not blazing velocity, but crafty veteran stuff).

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