Friday, March 22, 2013

Nats vs. Tigers - 3/22/13

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg faces the Tigers today at Space Coast Stadium.
VIERA, Fla. -- If you happened to come down to Florida for spring training over the last few days, you certainly picked the right time to see the Nationals in person. Davey Johnson said he was going to play all his regulars this week, and he's been true to his word. Everyone is back in there again today, the third straight day he's gone with them. Guess we'll see how their legs hold up from the sudden increase in workload.

As an added treat, Stephen Strasburg is on the mound today to make his second-to-last start of the spring. Look for the right-hander to perhaps even reach the 100-pitch mark this afternoon, then dial things back next time out in advance of his Opening Day assignment against the Marlins.

If you aren't one of the fortunate folks who are here in person, you're still in luck because Bob and F.P. are here today and will have the game on TV back in D.C. And, of course, you can get all your updates and analysis right here throughout...

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. DETROIT TIGERS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
TV: MASN
Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 73 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF 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 Kurt Suzuki
RHP Stephen Strasburg

TIGERS
CF Quintin Berry
RF Don Kelly
DH Victor Martinez
1B Prince Fielder
C Brayan Pena
LF Matt Tuiasosopo
2B Ramon Santiago
SS Danny Worth
3B Kevin Russo
(LHP Drew Smyly)

1:09 p.m. -- We are underway on a windy Friday afternoon in Viera as Stephen Strasburg fires ball one to Quintin Berry.

1:13 p.m. -- And Strasburg cruises through the top of the first on 12 pitches. He struck out Berry looking and then got Victor Martinez swinging to end the inning. Good stuff from the ace to get this one started.

1:19 p.m. -- And an equally fast bottom of the first for Drew Smyly. He got Denard Span to ground out to second, Jayson Werth to pop-out (with Ramon Santiago electing the basket catch at second base) and Bryce Harper to bounce out to first base. Scoreless after one.

1:27 p.m. -- Things were going along swimmingly again for Strasburg in the top of the second ... until Matt Tuiasosopo unleashed havoc on the Nats again. The Tigers outfielder, who homered on Sunday in Lakeland, did it again today, taking a 2-1 fastball from Strasburg deep to right to put the Nats in a 1-0 hole. Strasburg has thrown 26 pitches (15 strikes) through two mostly efficient innings.

1:41 p.m. -- Ryan Zimmerman is charged with his first error of the spring, but it had nothing to do with his throwing or shoulder. Zim just couldn't handle a slow roller to his left. That helped prolong the top of the third and put Strasburg in a first-and-third, one-out jam. But the big guy came up big and got Don Kelly to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Through three, Strasburg has been quite efficient by his standards: 39 pitches, 26 strikes. Still 1-0 Tigers.

1:49 p.m. -- Drew Smyly is perfect through three innings against the Nats' Opening Day lineup. Think Jim Leyland will let him go the distance today? Yeah, probably not.

2:02 p.m. -- Uh-oh, scary moment in the top of the fourth as Strasburg takes a smoked line drive from Prince Fielder directly on the left wrist/forearm. The ball ricocheted all the way into center field (which actually could be a good thing, since that probably means it was more of a glancing blow). Davey Johnson, Steve McCatty and trainer Lee Kuntz came out to examine Strasburg, who was shaking the hand for a while. But after a couple of warm-up tosses, he was given the green light to stay in the game. And I guess he's fine because he immediately recorded three quick outs, two of them strikeouts. Scary moment nonetheless. Still 1-0 Tigers in the middle of the fourth, with Strasburg now at 56 pitches(38 strikes).

2:14 p.m. -- Well, at least the perfect game is over. Werth and Harper stroked back-to-back singles off Smyly with one out in the bottom of the fourth, though the big guys behind them couldn't drive them in. Zimmerman struck out swinging and LaRoche grounded out to end the inning with the Tigers still ahead 1-0.

2:28 p.m. -- Just when it looked like Strasburg was cruising -- he had thrown first-pitch strikes to nine consecutive batters -- he had a hiccup late in the top of the fifth. He issued a two-out walk to Don Kelly, with Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder on-deck. That's a no-no, and sure enough, Martinez and Fielder each singled home runs. So it's 3-0 Tigers in the middle of the fifth, with Strasburg now at 82 pitches (51 strikes). He's due up fourth in the bottom of the inning, and I'll be interested to see if he stays in.

2:36 p.m. -- Ian Desmond puts the Nats on the board at last, sending a leadoff blast to left-center in the bottom of the fifth. That's Desmond's second homer of the spring, and it was a legit one. Nats now trail 3-1 as Strasburg re-takes the mound for his sixth (and likely final) inning.

2:45 p.m. -- Strasburg cruises through a seven-pitch sixth, so he's only at 89 total now. Curious to see if Davey will let him come back out for the seventh and try to reach 100.

2:58 p.m. -- And the answer is: He won't. Henry Rodriguez enters for the top of the seventh, so Strasburg's final line is: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 89 pitches, 55 strikes.

3:15 p.m. -- Oh, Henry. Henry, Henry, Henry. First pitch hits the backstop on the fly. He proceeds to go 3-0 to the first three batters he faces, prompting a mound visit from Steve McCatty. (What do you think McCatty says in those mound conferences?) Then he gets bailed out by Roger Bernadina on a ridiculous catch in deep right-center to rob what would've been a three-run triple. After all that, it's 4-1 Tigers at the stretch.

3:30 p.m. -- The Nats storm back for a pair of runs off Phil Coke in the bottom of the seventh. Desmond draws a walk, Espinosa singles to center (and shows nice hustle to take second on a bad throw) and then Suzuki and Lombardozzi each loft sac flies to right. So trim the deficit to 4-3 as Ryan Mattheus enters for the eighth.

3:46 p.m. -- Good eighth inning for Mattheus, who mowed down the side with a couple of strikeouts. Tyler Clippard now in for the top of the ninth, the Nats still trailing 4-3 and needing a rally.

4:10 p.m. -- Game over, Nats lose 4-3. Stephen Strasburg, meanwhile, says he's fine after taking that Prince Fielder line drive off the base of his left hand, the fleshy part. He said it was numb for a moment but not really a problem.

62 comments:

Another_Sam said...

Back at home ready to watch this one on the tube. All be alert for three celebrities I hope we see sitting behind home plate. At least three.

NCNatsie said...

MASN is really stupid. They wouldn't send a crew down last week or the first part of this week when there was no sports competition to go up against.

But now that the NCAA tournament - one of the biggest draws for sports fans all year - is on, they put the game on. It's fine by me, I'll watch, but I've got to believe their ratings won't be what they would be on any other day but yesterday or today.

Or is it all some sort of ploy in the TV contract engotiations?

DaveB said...

Not many starters for the Tigers, but Smyly is fighting for a rotation spot, so will be interesting to see if our offense can get it going.

Section 222 said...

NCNatsie -- Seems to me that MASN decided they would try to broadcast as many Strasburg starts as they could, regardless of the competition. Probably not a smart idea, but at least we don't have to listen to those Braves announcers and their interminable interviews with Braves current and ex-players.

MicheleS said...

It's a beautiful day down here! Last day for me.

NatsLady said...

Today's post is on the Nats' baserunning. It ain't good. Ranked LAST in MLB in 2012. Comments appreciated.

Nats Baserunning

http://ladyandthenats.blogspot.com/2013/03/nats-baserunning-it-aint-good.html

NatsLady said...

Cold but sunny here. If this is what it's like next Friday I'm not taking off work for the Yankees game. I'll save my shivering for October. :)

Rabbit34 said...

Six up. Six down. Come on guys, we need to build some momentum for the season!!!

NatsLady said...

I wonder if MASN realizes how hungry Nats fans are for baseball, and also how important it is to develop their viewership during "dead" periods for other sports.

Rabbit34 said...

Nine up. Nine down. Come on guys, let's get that momentum going for the season!!! Make it happen! Do it to it!

natsfan1a said...

Smyly's people must be happy.

NatsLady said...

Well, that had a nice sound. Smack.

SCNatsFan said...

I'm not one who believes a team can just turn it on because the games count. This offense needs to star clicking.

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, Jayson.

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, Bryce.

NatsLady said...

Couldn't resist putting Harper's steal of home into my post. (I'm learning how to put in videos...). That never gets old. Nice hit, Kid.

natsfan1a said...

Speaking of never gets old, it's never too early to show the Game 4 walkoff, imho.

NatsLady said...

They already showed it, 1A.

natsfan1a said...

Yes, and before they did, FP said the guys in the truck had asked whether it was too early. Hence my comment.

NatsLady said...

Ah, I see. Why don't they take Stras out of this game. He is probably crazy with pain, and it will get worse before it gets better.

Another_Sam said...

Natsfan1a -- I get it. Good material.

natsfan1a said...

Agreed, NL.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks, Another_Sam. :-)

phil dunton said...

I suspect the Nationals are going to miss Michael Morse's big bat in the lineup this season and i doubt Laroche repeats his 2012 season.

NatsLady said...

Well, Henry is in. Juuuuuuuuust a bit high.

phil dunton said...

Dump Henry, keep Chris Young. That's a no brainer.

Drew said...

And you want to be our latex salesman...

NatsLady said...

Well, after one of those high ones, Rizzo got on his cellphone. It was funny...

Another_Sam said...

They have given ole Henry every opportunity to make the club. If he could get just one or two outs without putting 'em on base . . .

baseballswami said...

As I listened to Ramos it occurred to me that many of these players return from an injury in tip top shape. They have very directed, specific, supervised workout programs. Definitely a silver lining. Hopefully that will keep them on the field. On the other hand, I need supervised therapy when this guy is pitching. How can we go into the season in ten days with him on the roster?

natsfan1a said...

Oy Henry.

baseballswami said...

Rizzo looks a bit tense.

phil dunton said...

The Henry Rodriguez experiment reminds me of the Daniel Cabrera experiment of a few seasons ago. How many chances does this turkey get? What good is it to be able to throw 100 MPH if he has no idea where he is throwing it? It is time to show him the door.

baseballswami said...

Shark!!!!!!!

natsfan1a said...

Ooh, shark-diving!

Another_Sam said...

Call me naive. I can't belive that Henry is among the group going north. what am I missing?

EmDash said...

It's time for the obligatory "Henry is in midseason form!" joke. Sigh.

I wonder if we could trade Minnesota for Glen Perkins, their good lefty reliever. The Twins need a lot of stuff, right?

baseballswami said...

Phil- accurate comparison. I distinctly remember a game with Cabrera that was sooooo very bad. He never did pull it together.

natsfan1a said...

It's spring training for the MASN scorekeeping, too.

Drew said...

Speaking of Michael Morse (mentioned before the Henry agonisties) happy 31st birthday to The Beast.

This spring he has 6 homers and an OPS of 1.285.

baseballswami said...

Mattheus was throwing some nasty stuff today.. Awesome!!!! The nastier, the better. Maybe this year announcers will actually learn to pronounce his name.

Tcostant said...

MZ: What do you think McCatty says in those mound conferences?

Answer: Canddle Sticks

natsfan1a said...

They do make a nice gift.

NatsLady said...

(sigh) gotta go to work. Go Nats!

baseballswami said...

Interesting interview with McCatty- just let them hit the ball. Guessing there were some expletives deleted. Would love to hear him more often .

natsfan1a said...

Laer, NL.

Agreed on McCatty interviews, swami.

baseballswami said...

Via twitter- the Aroldis Chapman as a starter experiment is over. Back to closer.

natsfan1a said...

Uh, later.

baseballswami said...

These tiny little keyboards can really make some interesting words.

natsfan1a said...

Laptop here but agreed.

natsfan1a said...

Clip looking good as well.

baseballswami said...

Siri can also make up some creative things.

Rabbit34 said...

Clip!! Got 'em!!!

baseballswami said...

Oh, yeah, baseball- Clip did look good. Ryan and Tyler are easing my Henry trauma.

natsfan1a said...

Yes, my nephew had some interesting exchanges with Siri, which alarmed his mother until she realized it was all a misunderstanding. :-)

baseballswami said...

You have got to love the Nats fans booing the ump in spring training.

natsfan1a said...

Atta way, fans. :-) Later, folks.

hannibalelector said...

The Henry experiment reminds me of the CMW slow motion fiasco. We are told that these guys are secret weapons just waiting to be unleashed, veritable "Wunderwaffe," except some of those actually worked.

Rabbit34 said...

Ok, next game let's try to build momentum.

SCNatsFan said...

Keep Young, dump Henry to whoever gives us the best player that will never climb above AAA.

Section 222 said...

Hope these Tigers are enjoying beating up on the Nats this spring. Come May 7-8 and July 30-31, not to mention October, it will be a different story.

sjm308 said...

Have to think that we will hear Rizzo utter something like he did a few springs ago "I just got tired of watching him pitch" or something to that affect. It really isn't getting any better. I am guessing Davey keeps throwing him out there just to make sure.

Lots of positives today and I am so glad SS is ok.

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