Saturday, March 23, 2013

Notes from the Nats' 3-1 loss

USA Today Sports Images
Gio Gonzalez allowed one run over six strong innings today.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With few regular position players making the trip, Bryce Harper scratched due to a swollen left thumb and a bunch of guys from minor league camp brought up for the day to fill out the roster, there wasn't quite the same intensity to the Nationals' 3-1 loss to the Mets today as there had been in other games earlier this week.

Which isn't to say there weren't still some interesting developments. Such as...

Gio Gonzalez looked sharp during his six-inning start and penultimate appearance of the spring. The left-hander allowed one run on four hits, struck out three, walked one and threw 85 pitches on a warm, 89-degree afternoon at Tradition Field.

Gonzalez was pleased with the results he had, though he knows he's still got some work to do to get his velocity and stamina up to regular-season standards.

"It's still one of those starts where your arm feels a little tired," he said. "You're working on stuff to get that arm strength. But other than that, hopefully by when the season starts, I think my arm will be right where it needs to be."

Manager Davey Johnson plans to give Gonzalez one more start before Opening Day -- Thursday against the same Mets lineup in Viera -- but he'll hold the lefty to roughly 70 pitches as he ramps down all of his starters in advance of the regular season. ...

Drew Storen's erratic spring continued when the reliever served up a solo homer to Lucas Duda on a 3-1 fastball in the eighth inning. It's the third time Storen has been scored upon in his last four appearances, but he and Johnson remain unconcerned about results and have been encouraged by the way he's thrown.

Storen in particular threw several good offspeed pitches today, both sliders and changeups, resulting in a pair of strikeouts.

"That's usually one of the last things to come in," he said. "But the main thing is, the fastball has been good. Just left a couple up. Now it's a matter of consistently getting on top of it, and I'll be alright."

Storen's fastball velocity wasn't quite up to par today, hovering between 90-93 mph, but he believes the extra ticks will come as he gets more work over the final week of camp.

"There's still a lot of time, especially for me, because there are two or three more appearances before we head out," he said. "The velocity's not going to be there until the season, really. I've shown some good numbers here and there, but it's going to be a little more of a roller coaster this time around."

Though much attention has been given to Storen's spring ERA (now 5.40), less attention has been given to the fact he's recorded 15 strikeouts in only 10 innings.

As always, there's nobody tougher to evaluate in spring training than relievers. ...

J.C. Romero made the trip to Port St. Lucie and was supposed to make his Nationals debut one day after signing a minor-league deal with the club. But the veteran left-hander was penciled in to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning, which wasn't necessary because the Mets won, so he had to settle for throwing off the bullpen mound as the game was wrapping up.

Speaking before the game, Romero said he's prepared to go to Class AAA Syracuse and re-establish himself in hopes of earning a promotion to Washington at some point during the season.

"You don't want to try to jump the gun," he said. "When my name is called, I'll be ready to do my job."

Once a reliable reliever for the Twins and Phillies, Romero has bounced around all over the place the last two seasons, pitching for seven different organizations (including the Nationals for a month in 2011). He attributes his struggles to a long recovery from 2009 surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his elbow. For the first time since that surgery, he says his arm feels 100 percent again.

"It took me a full two years to re-establish myself and to prove to myself I'm healthy, I'm ready to go," the 36-year-old said. "Some people heal quickly. In my case, it took me a little while."

51 comments:

baseballswami said...

I will be so happy when I can actually watch all the games. I love our radio team, but I want to see what's happening. That's why I am tired of Spring Training. I like seeing the prospects, when we have tv, but hate the lack of coverage. Any news on the MASN situation? Another season of those awful games with mixed broadcasters.

sjm308 said...

I like the fact that a 36 year old veteran can honestly assess where he is with his career. I realize Lidge didn't work out last year but his experience probably did help us early in the year as those guys sat and watched things developing. Have to think Romero will be a big help to Kimbrel and others in Syracuse.

Steady Eddie said...

Sjm -- did you mean Karns in Syracuse? I know we're loaded, but not THAT loaded.

NatsLady said...

swami, it was on TV today, I watched it. It was the Mets announcers, though.

baseballswami said...

Not MASN or MLB- where?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Watched on my At Bat on my phone.

NatsJack in Florida said...

God I wish it was Kimbrel.... but I believe it's Kimball.

baseballswami said...

One more week, then no more baseball hide and seek.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Watching Butler/Marquette......man it's tough when you like both teams.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Watching Butler/Marquette......man it's tough when you like both teams.

Steady Eddie said...

NJ -- right, I'd forgotten that Cole had been sent to AAA.

I had no divided loyalties today watching my Wolverines shine.

See you tomorrow at Viera,coming with my wife and younger daughter (I think you met her, our 12 year old ardent Nats fan, in one of your section 235 visits last summer, with Joe S. and spouse).

NatsJack in Florida said...

Great!!! See you tomorrow!

NatsJack in Florida said...

OK....change that......I really like Butler.

baseballswami said...

You guys are making me green with envy. Soon , they will find their way to Nats Park. Very soon.

sjm308 said...

Yes, wishful thinking but I meant Kimball. That's what two Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stouts before 3pm will do to an old man.

sjm308 said...

Steady, have fun and know that I join many others in being jealous. That being said, its getting closer and closer to my time in San Francisco and Napa in May, where I get to wear the Nationals Red and cheer for my team.

Today was a nice day but I am thinking along the lines of others that there is no way in hell I am going to an exhibition game vs. the Yankees in 40 degree weather.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Did not know that John Stocton's son was the point guard for Gonzaga. .....neat.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And now another game where I like both teams.....Witchita St./Gonzaga.

Positively Half St. said...

Did I miss something, or is Chris Young waiting until the very last minute todecide where he is playing?

Steve Hayes said...

I guess Young is waiting until the last moment - he has until tomorrow, but don't know the time deadline. Either he's entertaining more than one offer or Has Zero offers. It'll be interesting.

baseballswami said...

sjm 308- strong beer choice.

NatsJack in Florida said...

And now I like Marquette again.

sjm308 said...

Thanks Swami:

also partial to Duck Rabbit Milk Stout and of course Guinness. Still sad that you can't get a Guinness draft at Nationals Park.

Mac said...

I believe there is a beer stand somewhere at Nationals Park that sells Guinness. Look around. They had it at RFK.

baseballswami said...

Baseball with beer. Soon, my friends.

Senators said...

OK,I get it. Its spring training and all problems are forgiven for the established players, or are they? Storen has had a whole winter to shake off his last inning of the playoffs, BUT has he? Certainly does not look like it and from Rizzo all the way down the chain of command there must be considerable concern. As a mere fan I am.

Rabbit34 said...

Werth looked great! I was impressed with Gio. We really need to get those bats going to finish above .500. 82 wins is only 16 under last year.

sjm308 said...

Mac - I had the stand at RFK pegged from the first game. No Guinness on draft, trust me, I have walked the entire stadium.

m said...

I watched the game yesterday. I see Davey really does crack the whip. Based on his lineup yesterday, it looks like he has his vets take two, maybe three road trips, and then I guess pronounces them ready to go. The only guys who have shown results, on things they are working on, are some of the starting pitchers, Harper, Espinosa and Desmond. I am not sure what the others have been doing when they are not playing.

We shall see in couple of weeks if everyone has really been getting ready. I will hold off commenting on the Span experiment until after the season starts. Based on what I have seen to date I would really prefer Morse in left field and Werth batting clean-up.

baseballswami said...

It's kind of funny that you want Werth hitting on a critical spot and some others want him on the bench. Perceptions of players are all over the place. I would like to see a little more hitting going on out there, spring training or not.

m said...

Re my earlier post I meant Werth batting lead -off.

Andrew L. said...

Looking forward to seeing many of you at Viera today. I'm bringing my wideband my 2 youngest who are twins and are 10 years old today.

Joe Seamhead said...

Terrific piece by Kilgore in the WaPo this morning on Jayson Werth, and what he has brought to the Nationals' organization.

JamesFan said...

I don't see much offense right now.

Steady Eddie said...

Joe S. -- exactly, on the Werth story. You could pay millions to a consultant on the clubhouse technical management stuff who would have no credibility with the players. You could hire a big name, do it my way manager who would turn the vets off and who would intimidate the younger players but they would follow out of fear and learn nothing for the long run.

But you do all those things through Werth, with a guy who leads by example like the Game 4 walk off, and you have the team- changer they got. Combined with the credibility of his signing for other free agents, he's well worth his contract.

Rabbit34 said...

Steady Eddie, good point of view. However, if you want someone to lead by example, my point of view would indicate your point of view is a little shaky, Steady. For someone to lead by example, I would look to the ROY who has ten years of experience piled into one. But again, that's my point of view. As far as I'm concerned, all Werth has is 10 - maybe - average years. Yes, Werth looked great yesterday, on the bench.

Steady Eddie said...

Latest from Amanda: "@acomak: Davey said Henry Rodriguez has a little bit of soreness in his elbow. "Probably inflammation." Will be off today, see how he feels tmrw."

Everyone who picked "HRod with a long stint on DL", cash in your tickets at Window 4.

MicheleS said...

DING DING!!! precursor to Henry starting on the DL????

Mark Zuckerman‏@ZuckermanCSN
Henry Rodriguez has elbow soreness, according to Davey. #Nats sound like they don't want to rush him back.

Andrew L. said...

Chris Young starting tomorrow. Tomorrow is March 25th.

MicheleS said...

Andrew.. From what the Beats are saying, he can opt out after tomorrow. Has interest from other teams.

phil dunton said...

Where's the offense! I think The Beast took it with him to Seattle.

EmDash said...

So if Henry's "injured" to start the season - who's the 7th guy in the bullpen? With the other injuries, there's no obvious candidate. Does Abad make it by default?

Joe Seamhead said...

Rabbit34, I would advise you against ever meeting my better half. She'd take your legs out from under you for your Werth comments.

Wow! Imagine that, Henry has a sore elbow. What a shock, eh?

Steady Eddie said...

M- -- maybe Chris Young? (Ghost and some other fks have our fingers crossed about that faint hope.)

MicheleS -- another cortisone cocktail on the tab, no?

sjm308 said...

Just end this quickly - why stash Henry on the dl only to have him continue this slow path to more wildness. I loved him early but it just looks like the definition of insanity. Repeating the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result.

Agree with the article on Werth and his value to this team. Others will probably never agree but lots of us were seeing things, even in his difficult season that made us realize that change was on the way and it changed quickly. Werth is not the sole reason for that change but he sure helped. Those that just look at his numbers don't understand what goes on inside the clubhouse, in the dugout, on the charters and at dinner. He will be contributing, even in the last few years of his contract. Maybe not as much on the field but there will be contributions.

Question to those who actually dislike Werth. Do you honestly think he is going to go somewhere else? Its a poor contract in terms of money spent but its our contract and we will have him for the duration of the deal. You might as well get used to it. Again, I like what he brought from day one. Not crazy about the terms of the contract but it had to be done to prove to the rest of the world that the Lerner's were serious.

EmDash said...

If he's willing to go to the bullpen, Young would be interesting for sure.

With Henry, I really don't see why they don't send him down to the minors and risk losing him at this point. Is there really going to be a huge demand for a guy the other team will also have to keep on their 25 man roster with his injury and command issues? It's just baffling at this point.

BigCat said...

HRod would be snapped up in a second

peric said...

I still think Abad has a real shot at making the bullpen. Looks like they found a potential back up in Romero. I am not so sure the bullpen is as settled as everyone seems to think ...

Rabbit34 said...

Haha!! Thanks for the heads up, Joe Seamhead! I'll make sure if I meet her I only say what she like to hear, on of which is GO NATIONALS!!!!

John C. said...

On the Morse/Span issue: if it was definite that the ST Morse and the ST Span were going to produce this way for the next six months, we'd all regret the deal. Of course, what is happening in ST provides no clue about how they are going to do during the season. One way or the other - ST stats are not positively or negatively correlated to success.

Yea, it's all the information we've got, so we really WANT to obsess over it. And it looks like baseball, right? So obsess away - but remember that it's not rational. Of course, the same could be said about sports fandom in general ...

natsfan1a said...

Also enjoyed the Werth piece.

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