Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nats vs. Braves - 3/24/13

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann and the Nats host the Braves today at Space Coast Stadium.
VIERA, Fla. -- It's a gray and very windy afternoon here at Space Coast Stadium, but it looks like the rain will hold off until later in the day, so the Nationals and Braves shouldn't have trouble getting today's game in. But the way the wind is howling out to left field, don't be surprised if there are a bunch of deep drives. In other words, be careful about judging today's pitchers.

So it'll be quite a challenge for Jordan Zimmermann, not to mention Kris Medlen, as each right-hander makes his penultimate start of the spring. Zimmerman is coming off a fantastic, six-inning outing against the Tigers and looks poised to open the season on a strong note.

All the regulars are back in the Nationals' lineup, including Bryce Harper, who said his jammed left thumb is still sore but not enough to keep him from playing. He planned to take BP wearing a rubber ring around the thumb that many players use for cushioning, but he was worried it wouldn't be comfortable and figured he probably wouldn't use it in the game.

Plenty of updates to come, please check back...

Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM)
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 27 mph RF to LF
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

SS Andrelton Simmons
RF Jason Heyward
LF Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
3B Juan Francisco
CF Reed Johnson
C Matt Pagnozzi
RHP Kris Medlen

1:06 p.m. -- We're underway on a brutally windy Sunday afternoon. Jordan Zimmermann fires strike one to Andrelton Simmons.

1:09 p.m. -- A nice and tidy top of the first for Zimmermann. Though he issued a one-out walk to Jason Heyward, he got Justin Upton to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

1:25 p.m. -- If Bryce Harper's thumb is barking, it sure didn't look like it during his first at-bat today. He laced a base hit to right off Kris Medlen, then stole second and forced a wild throw from catcher Matt Pagnozzi that brought home a run. Adam LaRoche later added an RBI single, putting the Nats up 2-0 after one.

1:43 p.m. -- They certainly struggled to do it last year -- as did pretty much everyone -- but the Nats are finding a way to hit Medlen around this afternoon. They've already got three runs on five hits through two innings, with Jayson Werth providing his own RBI single in the bottom of the second to score Danny Espinosa. The inning would have continued but Kurt Suzuki was thrown out trying to score. A questionable decision by Trent Jewett to wave him around, and not the first questionable decision Jewett has made in the third base coaching box this spring. 3-0 Nats after two.

2:02 p.m. -- What did I say earlier about getting a ball into the air toward left field? Espinosa just found out, sending an opposite-field, line drive over the fence and toward Cape Canaveral. That three-run homer puts the Nats up 6-0 on Medlen after three innings. Zimmermann, meanwhile, has faced the minimum through three. He has recorded 27 outs since surrendering his last base hit: the first batter of his last start. That's pretty good, no?

2:14 p.m. -- And of course as soon as I mention that, Zimmermann goes out and gives up three hits in the fourth. The Braves get on the board, but Jordan redeems himself with a nifty 3-6-1 double play to end the inning. Nats now up 6-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth.

2:37 p.m. -- Make it a 3-for-3 day for Harper after he laces an opposite-field double to open the fifth. Raise that spring training batting average to .431. Still 6-0 after five innings.

2:47 p.m. -- If Espinosa is planning to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters, he picked the wrong time to audtion just now. I'm not sure why he did it, but Espinosa tried to flip the ball behind his back to Desmond at shortstop when he probably had enough time to do it the conventional way. Anyways, that error wound up leading to two Braves runs. So it's now 6-3 in the middle of the sixth.

2:57 p.m. -- Espinosa atoned for the defensive gaffe in the bottom of the sixth, roping a double to left-center for his third hit of the day. He's now hitting .333 for the spring and certainly seems to have put the concerns about his shoulder to rest. Now 7-3 Nats as Ryan Mattheus enters for the seventh. Jordan Zimmermann's final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 85 pitches, 55 strikes.

3:06 p.m. -- Tornado warning issued in the area. These two teams continue to play, though, not even bothering to turn on the stadium lights. Wonderful.

3:11 p.m. -- Adam LaRoche laughs in the face of tornadoes. Two-run, opposite-field homer in the bottom of the seventh. The Nats now lead 9-3.

3:20 p.m. -- And we're now in a delay at last. Can't imagine they'll resume this one.

3:48 p.m. -- This game has officially been called. Nats win 9-3 in seven innings.


JayB said...

This is beyond a joke at his point. Rizzo biggest fault is he is the last person in all of baseball to give up on these basket case types.


List is forever growing and they cost money and waste IP and AB's in ST and AAA/AA.....

On a different rant.....So now Rizzo and the Lerners are listing to Jason W about the sorry state of Nats Medical and Training staff and programs......REALLY....all that data for years was not enough but 6 months ago Werth complains and they listen. Better late than never but what a waste of years of talent getting hurt and not rehabed correctly and now Rizzo is listening. Rizzo has faults,big blind spots.

MicheleS said...

So we get a crack at Medlen today.. Good.. we need to break him ;-)

natsfan1a said...

I like this usage, and I may borrow it some time:

"On a different rant...."

That is all. :-)

sjm308 said...

We have made some mistakes but name a club that has not made them? I wonder who Insiders can list on the positive side of the ledger who we held onto and developed into assests, if not for our club then in trades. Wasn't Tracy considered to be pretty much washed up when we signed him? There surely have to be a few.

I do agree about the state of our medical/training staff and think they made another mistake this year but will not elaborate.

MicheleS said...

SJM308.. Don't forget Mike Gonzales.

Positively Half St. said...


If we consider the other players a number of us had given up on at times, it makes more sense to give Rizzo the benefit of the doubt. A lot of us were down on LaRoche at times, as well as Ian Desmond. One could rightly get on DeRosa and Wang, but the Goon Squad as a whole was essential to the Nats being the winningest team in baseball, and both guys had takers this year after Rizzo passed on them.

I do think that the statute of limitations for bringing up Daniel Cabrera has passed by now.

As for the medical staff, though, I'm not sure any of us would disagree with you on that.


SCNatsFan said...

Wang, Perez and DeRosa are still playing so Rizzo certainly isn't the last person to give up on them.

MicheleS said...

Sounds like we are getting Rosenbaum back...

Amanda Comak‏@acomak3m
The #nats are getting Rule 5 LHP Danny Rosenbaum back from the #Rockies, according to a source.

MicheleS said...

Wasn't Cabrera a Bowden signing?

Really it's water under the bridge at this point. there isn't a perfect GM out there, they all have mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Was someone asking for hitting? Right on cue.


MicheleS said...

ArVaFan.. and it's against it

sm13 said...

Headline: Nats Not Perfect, Abandon All Hope.

Headline: Nats Manage to Win 98 Games, Despite All Their Mis-Steps

Headline: Nats Fans Generally Happy With Current Product

lls45 said...

Headline: H-Rod on DL with "injury", Nobody Cares

Doc said...

Interesting JayB about Werth and his rants about Nats' med staff.

Gee, I guess we NI's get a few things right once and a while!

Most of our expressed concerns predate Werth's rant.

baseballswami said...

Anyone else getting dizzy from watching these shaky cameras? Whoa.

MicheleS said...

ALR BOMB! sweet.. and yes it was with the wind but who cares

tayo said...

Nice interview with Span. Sounds like a very likable guy.

tayo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

Hope everyone's okay in Viera. Just rewound and watched the final inning after taking a long phone call.

natsfan1a said...

O wind. If dinger comes, can Spring be far behind?

3:11 p.m. -- Adam LaRoche laughs in the face of tornadoes. Two-run, opposite-field homer in the bottom of the seventh. The Nats now lead 9-3.

NatsJim said...

I don't know if Danny's ST success will carry over into April, but it's clear he's put in a lot of work to address his issues. I was critical of his strikeouts and homerun hitter's mentality during the offseason, so I truly respect his attempt to change for the good of the team. And I honestly believe he'll still get roughly the same power numbers with the new approach due to the improved contact rate and his raw strength.

Steady Eddie said...

MicheleS. -- I was sitting behind the plate with NatsJack and that dinger was hit with authority, and so high that it would have gone out on a dead-still day. As Jack said, a seasoned pro like Rochy, with nothing to prove in ST, can turn it on in three days.

And a second straight overpowering start by JZimm. He was just sawing the Barves' bats off in their hands.

Looking ready for Opening Day.

SCNatsFan said...

Steady Eddie, I disagree; what us the advantage for a vet to dog it at the plate during ST? Does it take so much more effort to get a base hit then a ground out or be focused more?

NatsJack in Florida said...

SCNatsFan.....No. It doesn't take much but it is what seperates the veteran professional from the run of the mill minor leaguer trying to impress the higher ups. The pro has degrees of focus we can't imagine.

I said all during the first 4 weeks of ST that LaRoches head was still in some tree stand in Kansas. He shook out of a couple of days ago.

John C. said...

As a counterpoint to some other rants I will just note that Rizzo comes out smelling like a rose on his management of the 40 man roster. He got a lot of criticism when Kobernus and Rosenbaum were taken in the Rule 5 draft. But not only are they back, now the team hangs on to Rivero as well (Rivero did struggle defensively in the OF this spring; I cut him some slack since he had never played OF before). Now the team has two extra 40 man roster slots to keep an eye out for a player that they need (LHRP? #6 starter?). Well played, sir.

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