Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler faces the Braves today at Space Coast Stadium.
Nope, we've still got two more games down here, starting today with the Braves. Fredi Gonzalez is using only relievers in this one, so Eric O'Flaherty will actually start and then pitch only one inning. Ross Detwiler starts for the Nationals. This is actually Stephen Strasburg's day to throw, but instead of facing a division rival, he already pitched in a minor-league game this morning, his final tune-up before Opening Day.
Bryce Harper, as you know, isn't in the Nationals' lineup. All the other regulars are, though. As opposed to the split-squad game taking place simultaneously in Jupiter against the Cardinals. There are no regulars down there, not even anyone from big-league camp.
Plenty of updates from this one to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
Radio: Braves radio via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Sunny, 57 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Wilson Ramos
LF Tyler Moore
LHP Ross Detwiler
SS Andrelton Simmons
CF Reed Johnson
1B Chris Johnson
3B Juan Francisco
LF Evan Gattis
C Gerald Laird
2B Ramiro Pena
RF Jordan Schafer
LHP Eric O'Flaherty
1:09 p.m. -- We're underway on a crisp, late-March afternoon in Viera as Ross Detwiler fires to Andrelton Simmons.
1:15 p.m. -- A clean top of the first for Detwiler. He did allow a single to Chris Johnson and hit Juan Francisco but got out of it unscathed. Ryan Zimmerman got a chance to make a routine throw to first, which he did with no problems.
1:30 p.m. -- Jayson Werth singled in the bottom of the first but was thrown out trying to steal second. Detwiler allowed another hit in the top of the second but got out of the inning. So it's still scoreless in the middle of the second.
1:41 p.m. -- Wow, what a play at shortstop by Simmons. He dove way to his left to snag Desmond's hard shot, then flipped to Ramiro Pena from his belly to start a spectacular 4-6-3 double play in the bottom of the second. This kid is going to be a really good player for Atlanta.
1:50 p.m. -- It appears Desmond and Simmons are trying to out "Web Gem" each other today. Ian just climbed the ladder to rob Gattis of what looked like a sure RBI base hit to end the top of the third. Great stuff from the two shortstops so far in this one.
1:58 p.m. -- And there's Wilson Ramos' first homer of the spring, his first since tearing his ACL last May. An opposite-field shot to right. Here's a bold prediction for you: Ramos will get the nod behind the plate on Opening Day. Jayson Werth then added an RBI single to cap the bottom of the third, scoring Denard Span (who walked and stole second) to put the Nats up 2-0.
2:29 p.m. -- Sweet Fancy Moses! The Nats absolutely took it to lefty Daniel Rodriguez in the bottom of the fourth. Zimmerman homered. Espinosa doubled. Ramos crushed his second homer of the day, an absolute bomb. Moore homered to make it 8-0. All of this before Rodriguez recorded one out. Quite a pounding this lineup is giving the Braves today.
2:44 p.m. -- Make it a two-homer day for Zimmerman as well after an opposite-field shot to lead off the fifth against Cristhian Martinez. It's 9-0 Nats, who hit five homers over a span of 15 batters. I'm no mathematician, but that seems pretty good.
2:58 p.m. -- Now the Braves get in on the home run party. Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird go deep back-to-back off Detwiler to open the sixth. Ross rebounded to strike out Pena, but that ended his afternoon. His final line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. We'll next see him on April 6 in Cincinnati.
3:21 p.m. -- OK, here's how Henry Rodriguez's afternoon went. He started things off with five straight balls. Then he started throwing some sliders for strikes, including one for a strikeout. Then he allowed a two-out single, followed by a two-out walk, with the last pitch ricocheting to the backstop. Then he got a little comebacker for the final out of a scoreless inning. So Henry's final line for the day is: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 tongue-lashing from Steve McCatty. In other words, a pretty typical outing for him. Still 9-2 Nats at the stretch.
3:29 p.m. -- Scary moment as Jayson Werth gets tagged by an inside fastball. Looked like it might've gotten him on the left arm. He was in obvious pain but stayed in. But then he got a chance to trot around the bases on Zimmerman's third homer in four innings. Yes, three homers in four innings. Mercy. 11-2 Nats.
4:25 p.m. -- Nats win 11-2. J.C. Romero pitched a scoreless eighth, Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth. Ryan Zimmerman did NOT homer again. After the game, Davey Johnson informed Carlos Maldonado and Fernando Abad they are being sent to minor-league camp. Micah Owings will go down after tomorrow's game. That leaves only 26 active players in camp, the extra man for now being Romero. Davey did tell the lefty he'll make the trip north with the club tomorrow night and be in D.C. for Friday's exhibition. But he hasn't been told he'll make the team yet. Basically, either Romero makes it and Henry Rodriguez lands on the DL (or DFA'd, though that seems unlikely), or Rodriguez makes the team and Romero reports to Syracuse.