Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler and the Nats visit Joker Marchant Stadium today.
Davey Johnson didn't bring nearly as many regulars to Lakeland, though his lineup isn't completely bereft of big names. Bryce Harper is here, as are Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Kurt Suzuki. And we'll once again get a chance to see Micah Owings take some hacks and continue his impressive first spring as a position player.
Plenty of updates and analysis to come, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. DETROIT TIGERS
Where: Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: Tigers radio via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 74 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to LF
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
RF Tyler Moore
SS Ian Desmond
C Kurt Suzuki
DH Chad Tracy
1B Chris Marrero
LF Micah Owings
(LHP Ross Detwiler)
CF Austin Jackson
RF Torii Hunter
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Victor Martinez
LF Andy Dirks
2B Omar Infante
C Alex Avila
SS Danny Worth
(LHP Drew Smyly)
1:05 p.m. -- We're underway with a strike from Drew Smyly to Danny Espinosa. The Tigers are wearing Kelly green jerseys and caps for St. Patrick's Day. Seriously, is there a more shameless marketing ploy in sports than this?
1:14 p.m. -- Espinosa gets things started with a base hit to left and then steals second, but the rest of the lineup can't advance him. Steve Lombardozzi flies out to right. Bryce Harper grounds out to second. And Tyler Moore strikes out to end the top of the first. Here comes Ross Detwiler.
1:20 p.m. -- Uh, welcome back to the Grapefruit League, Ross. Torii Hunter just murdered a 91-mph fastball from Detwiler, sending it over the berm in left field and possibly all the way onto Interstate-4. Just an absolute bomb from the veteran outfielder. Detwiler was fine otherwise and still managed to complete the bottom of the first on only 11 pitches (eight strikes). Nats trail 1-0 after one.
1:31 p.m. -- And the Nats strike back to tie the game in the second. Kurt Suzuki launches a double to deep left-center, coming a few feet shy of a home run. Chad Tracy then does a nice job taking an outside pitch from Smyly back up the middle and into center field for an RBI single. It's 1-1 now.
1:42 p.m. -- Detwiler remains pretty efficient. He got through the second on 14 pitches, so he's at only 25 for the game. Still 1-1 as we move to the third.
2:11 p.m. -- A big top of the fourth for the Nats against Smyly. Tyler Moore got it started with a solo blast to left, then the hits kept on coming. Ian Desmond doubled. Chris Marrero delivered an RBI single. Micah Owings drove in a run with a groundout. Espinosa drove in another with his second hit of the day. Just like that, it's 5-1 Nats as Detwiler takes the mound for the bottom of the fourth.
2:31 p.m. -- Quite an afternoon for Moore. He just blasted his second homer in as many innings, a two-run shot to right off lefty Duane Below. (I could make the obvious joke here about the Tigers reliever needing to "Look out Below!" but I won't.) Anyways, Moore's shot scored Harper, who came within inches of his own 420-foot homer to center but settled instead for a double. So the Nats have opened up a 7-1 lead in the fifth, and Detwiler is done for the afternoon. His final line: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 57 pitches, 34 strikes. Ex-Tiger Ryan Perry now in for the Nats.
3:13 p.m. -- And Perry nearly gives it all back to the Tigers in the bottom of the sixth. He was tagged for four runs without recording an out. He also drilled Hunter in the hand with a fastball, but it appears Torii is OK. Jeremy Accardo enters with the score 7-5 and still nobody out in the inning and lets both of the inherited runners score. So this game is now tied 7-7 and Perry is charged with all six runs. Wonderful.
3:29 p.m. -- Micah Owings puts the Nats back on top with yet another base hit, this one a solid single to center. That decision to give up pitching seems to be looking good right about now. Nats now lead 8-7 at the seventh-inning stretch.
3:38 p.m. -- Ryan Mattheus serves up a two-run homer in the seventh to Matt Tuiasosopo. Though it's entirely possible I just imagined that. Tigers now lead 9-8.
4:06 p.m. -- Just got back from the clubhouse, where Ross Detwiler was talking about his start today. I get back up here and somehow the Nats scored four runs to take a 12-9. Your guess is as good as mine how that happened. Oh, and Jhonatan Solano is playing left field for some reason. Quite an eventful day here in Lakeland.
4:15 p.m. -- And The Onion successfully catches a flyball to left in the bottom of the eighth! Brought tears to everyone in the Nats dugout.
4:33 p.m. -- That's yer ballgame. Erik Davis closes out a 12-10 victory for the Nationals, with the Tigers plating one run in the ninth on an RBI single by Jeff Kobernus (swiped away by the Tigers from the Nats in the Rule 5 draft). A good time was had by all.