Friday, March 5, 2010

Desmond shines, Nats lose

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ian Desmond clubbed a grand slam, drove in six runs and made two nice plays at shortstop.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The outcome was no better this afternoon for the Nationals, who lost 11-8 to the Braves after dropping both split-squad games yesterday. And there could be reason to worry about a pitching staff that has now surrendered a combined 36 runs in three Grapefruit League games.

But as I've said before and will probably say again, you really can't pay much attention to the outcomes of these games. They're not trying to win. Managers aren't really managing. Players and pitchers are working on specific things.

"The scores at this time of year, spring training, you see double figures up there, it can be a little deflating," Jim Riggleman said. "Get in guys heads and all that. But we just kind of break it down to each individual. We're looking for individual performances out of a group that will eventually form a team."

So let's take the manager's advice and look at some key individuals from today's game...

IAN DESMOND -- Wow, what a performance. Two-run single in the third. Grand slam in the fourth. Two diving stops to his left at shortstop. And he looked comfortable enough in right field during the game's latter innings. "I've been working on it and I feel real comfortable there," he said. "I'm close. I need a lot more work, but I'm getting there. I'm progressing, and everything's moving forward." On the downside, Desmond did leave too soon on a stolen base attempt and was picked off by Billy Wagner. But overall, a very nice showing for the kid who is determined to make Mike Rizzo's decision at the end of the month difficult. "He was the best player on the field today," Riggleman said.

MIGUEL BATISTA -- Not exactly a sterling debut for the veteran right-hander, who cruised through the first but fell behind several batters in the second and wound up allowing two runs. "It went OK," Batista said. "There's a lot of good things out of it. I got my speed. I feel healthy. I got my movement. I just need to narrow down the strike zone a little more. But there's a lot of good things that happened out there that I'm happy with."

CRAIG STAMMEN -- A ragged performance in relief for Stammen, who needed a nice play by Pudge Rodriguez to bail him out in the third and then got yanked in the fourth after allowing four runs on three hits. "First time around, I guess you can't expect everything to be good," he said. "The second inning, it kind of got away from me a little bit. I didn't have very good fastball command, and that's kind of my only way I can pitch in the big leagues. That's the only way I got there. It was a little bit more difficult to pitch without knowing where it's going."

MIKE MORSE -- The guy just hits. 2-for-2 with a double, two runs, two RBI and a walk as DH today.

JESSE ENGLISH -- Couldn't clean up the mess Stammen created. In fact, he only made it worse, allowing three runs (two earned) and four hits in two-thirds of an inning.

TYLER CLIPPARD -- Solid spring debut for a guy who is being counted on to make the bullpen. He allowed a leadoff single in the eighth to Matt Young, who then was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Clippard then got Cody Johnson to fly out and struck out Brent Clevlen to cap a solid inning of relief.


HabsProf said...

Normally, aren't the pitchers a little closer to being season-ready than the hitters at this time of year? ;-)

I love this kid Desmond. I'm really rooting for him to be successful. Frankly, it's difficult to see how he can be worse than Guzman, who owes the Nats organization big time for his poor play over the years.

Anonymous said...

Could the pitching be worse than last year? It wouldn't surprise me.

Jim Webster said...

Guz needs to look over his shoulder.

HabsProf said...

Jim: We can only hope.

DCJohn said...

Baby steps, baby steps. Let's see if the Nats can hold the other team to less than 10 runs

Anonymous said...

Really hope the Nats go with Desmond at shortstop. Time to get ready for the future.

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