Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nats vs. Astros -- 3/4/10

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Osceola County Stadium, spring home of the Houston Astros.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Hello from Osceola County Stadium, site of today's Grapefruit League opener between the Nationals and Astros. It's another chilly, windy day here in the Sunshine State. But for the first time this year, we've got an actual ballgame taking place.

I'll be updating this post throughout the day with lineups and game details, so check back here periodically for anything new. I'll create new posts for any non-game-related items, so also be sure to check for those.

Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: KBME-AM (Astros radio via MLB Gameday Audio)
Weather: Sunny, 58 degrees, Wind 17 mph LF to RF

CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Adam Kennedy
RF Elijah Dukes
1B Chris Duncan
3B Pete Orr
LF Roger Bernadina
DH Josh Whitesell
SS Alberto Gonzalez
C Wil Nieves
(P Garrett Mock)

CF Michael Bourn
2B Kaz Matsui
RF Hunter Pence
1B Geoff Blum
3B Pedro Feliz
DH Jason Castro
LF Jason Michaels
C J.R. Towles
SS Tommy Manzella
(P Brett Myers)

11:38 a.m. -- Garrett Mock will likely throw two innings today, possibly three if his pitch count is really low. Don't get too worked up about his final numbers, though, because the Nats' coaching staff isn't really focused on that. "Especially early on here," manager Jim Riggleman said. "As we get into March 20 to March 31 and as we get up to Washington, we'll look close at some results. But right now, just see how the ball's coming out of his hand and [is he] establishing a little command of his pitches, that type of stuff. But the results are not as crucial right now."

11:46 a.m. -- The other half of the Nats' split squad is playing this afternoon against the Marlins in Jupiter. PR man extraordinaire Bill Gluvna (who was ecstatic to make that 2-hour drive down I-95 this morning) will be keeping us posted on developments from that game, and I'll pass them along here. The starting lineup there: 2B Willie Harris, SS Ian Desmond, C Ivan Rodriguez, 1B Adam Dunn, LF Mike Morse, CF Justin Maxwell, 3B Eric Bruntlett, RF Jerry Owens, P J.D. Martin. RHP Anibal Sanchez starting for Florida.

1:08 p.m. -- And we're off and running. Nyjer Morgan leads off against Brett Myers and after fouling off several pitches taps a weak grounder to second. Ditto for Adam Kennedy, though his 4-3 came on the very first pitch he saw. Elijah Dukes bounces a 2-2 pitch from Myers to third. So nothing across for the Nats in the top of the first. Garrett Mock now taking the mound.

1:15 p.m. -- Remember way back to yesterday when Mock said he was going to "attack" opposing hitters and trust his stuff? His first two pitches of the spring were ball one and ball two to Michael Bourn. To be fair, Mock followed up by inducing a comebacker from Bourn, then got Kaz Matsui to ground out to first. Hunter Pence, though, crushed a 1-2 pitch deep to center field and just past Nyjer Morgan's reach for a ground-rule double. Geoff Blum grounded out to second to end the inning with no damage. For Mock, 12 pitches, eight strikes.

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Roger Bernadina is congratulated by Nyjer Morgan after scoring in the second inning.
1:41 p.m. -- One of two things happened in the top of the second. Either 1) Brett Myers had no concept of the strike zone, or 2) the Nats' eyes were fantastic. Whatever the case, it led to three walks, loading the bases for Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzo nearly killed the rally with a tailor-made, double-play grounder to third, but Kaz Matsui airmailed the turn and that allowed two runs to score. Wil Nieves followed with a sharp single, bringing home the Nats' third run of the inning despite only one hit. Mock, meanwhile, remained efficient in the bottom of the second. He threw only nine pitches, five of them strikes. Big assist, though, goes to Roger Bernadina, Gonzalez and Nieves, who combined on a pretty 7-6-2 play to nail Jason Castro at the plate. Mock appears to be done, having gone two innings, allowing three hits (one of them a dribbler), no walks, no strikeouts. Twenty-one pitches, 13 for strikes. Shairon Martis will be next, trying to protect a 3-0 lead.

1:43 p.m. -- Whoops, make that a 4-0 lead. Kennedy just scored on Duncan's groundout.

1:55 p.m. -- Meanwhile in Jupiter, J.D. Martin tossed two scoreless (and apparently quite efficient) innings against the Marlins. Martin's line: 2 ip, 0 h, 0 bb, 1 k, 19 pitches, 14 strikes.

2:13 p.m. -- Shairon Martis' spring debut hasn't been as smooth as the Nats would like. Actually, it was downright hideous. Though the righty managed a 1-2-3 third inning, he was helped out big-time by a nice catch in left by Bernadina (can we give him the team MVP based on 3 1/2 innings of exhibition play?). Martis wasn't so fortunate when he returned for the fourth. Hunter Pence tattooed a 2-0 pitch over the left-field fence to lead off the inning and put the Astros on the board. Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz each followed with singles. A throwing error on Nieves moved both runners up and then Martis bounced a pitch in the dirt to allow another run to score. A sac fly by Jason Castro and a double off the center-field wall by J.R. Towles cut the Nats' lead to 5-4, and after Tommy Manzella (great name) roped a single to right, Steve McCatty trekked to the mound to give Martis the unceremonious hook. He line currently stands at: 1 1/3 ip, 6 h, 4 r, 0 bb, 0 k, with all the damage coming in this inning and the pitcher still responsible for two men on base. Joel Peralta will try to pitch out of this mess.

2:23 p.m. -- Peralta has only made the mess worse. Another run scores when Kennedy's throw to the plate is late on a slow roller. And a sinking liner to left brings yet another run home, gives the Astros a 6-5 lead and closes the book on Martis.

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Garrett Mock tossed two good innings and didn't even need to pitch off the rubber to do it!
2:24 p.m. -- I can't type fast enough to keep up with this onslaught. Hunter Pence destroys a 2-0 pitch from Peralta and sends it over the center-field fence. Yes, that's his second homer of the inning. And with a 9-spot in the fourth, the Astros suddenly lead 9-5.

2:28 p.m. -- Some significantly better pitching taking place down in Jupiter, where Collin Balester followed up starter J.D. Martin by allowing one run and one hit (a homer) in two innings of relief. "Bally-Star" threw 37 pitches, 21 strikes.

2:29 p.m. -- Just for the record, I will NOT be keeping up this pace all afternoon or all spring. We're going to get called down shortly to interview Mock, so we'll miss a couple of innings of action while doing that. And while this play-by-play stuff is fun to an extent, I think there's far more substantive material I can provide moving forward.

2:40 p.m. -- Matt Capps serves up home run on first pitch thrown as a Nat. Welcome to the club.

3:01 p.m. -- Capps wound up allowing two runs, the other scoring on a fielder's choice. Drew Storen just made his spring training debut and blew away Chris Shelton, Chris Johnson and Jason Castro on eight pitches, seven of them strikes. Shelton and Castro grounded out; Johnson whiffed badly on a 1-2 slider from Storen, who will have to be happy with this debut. If you're still interested, the Astros now lead 11-5 after six innings.

3:16 p.m. -- A special welcome to the club to Eddie Guardado, as well! "Everyday Eddie" managed to record one out before surrendering his first homer, but the big blast did eventually come: a three-run shot to right-center by some guy named Yordany Ramirez. As I type this, Nationals pitchers have allowed 14 runs on 18 hits today ... whoops, make that 19 hits. And we're still in the seventh! Houston running up the score, 14-5.

3:27 p.m. -- Jason Bergmann's first pitch to Chris Johnson: Home run to right-center. Is it just me, or is there a recurring theme here? Oh, at last check down in Jupiter, the other Nats trailed the Marlins 7-1, with Luis Atilano taking the brunt of the abuse.

3:47 p.m. -- It's over. It's all over. Final score: 15-5. Quotes and analysis to come, but I'll create a new post for that.


natsfan1a said...

dum da da da,
dum da da da,
da da dee da dee daaa - charge!

Nice pic, btw.

Anonymous said...

I like this "game day" preview post. Thank You. If we get them for every game I'm going to be checking the natsinsider blog first thing every day. Is the first radio broadcasted game going to be Monday's?

natsfan1a said...

Anon, I think the first radio broadcast is scheduled for Monday and the first MASN broadcast for Tuesday.

natsfan1a said...

Anon, I think the first radio broadcast is slated for Monday and the first MASN broadcast for Tuesday.

natsfan1a said...

Uh, oops.

Farid in Idaho said...

1:05 PM Nationals @ Marlins WAXY
1:05 PM Nationals @ Astros KTRH

This is from the Nationals Audio/Video page for today.

Two games, both being broadcast (though by the other team's announcers)

If you click "today's games," it shows yesterday's. You have to click "next day" to get to Thursday's (today's) games

As far as I can tell, there's manna from Heaven for Nats' fans (If you replace the bread with radio waves).

Farid said...

Of course, you have to have or whatever they are calling it today for your computer.

For me in Idaho, that's the only way I can listen to Nats' games.

Anonymous said...

Assuming you have and gameday audio. Sorry -- being in Idaho, that's the only way I can listen to/watch Nats' games.


Cathy said...

The MLB At Bat 2010 app on the iPhone also has gameday audio

320R2S15 said...

How many innings will Mock go?

nattaboy said...

Is there any Nats media folk at the other game? I would love some reporting on how Dunn looks at first over there. I know this is where Riggleman is, but...

That being said, go Nats! hooray baseball!

peric said...

Every single beat reporter, including Mark Z, go the same game, get the same interviews as a result ... isn't there anyone there who like to go off the beaten path?

markfd said...


Enjoy Osceola County Stadium it is my favorite place to watch a game in the Grapefruit League.

jcj5y said...

I recognize that Guzman is awaiting the birth of a child, but I think he's been in camp a bit this spring. I have heard Rizzo and others say multiple times that they need to be sure his shoulder is healthy. Enough times that I'm starting to believe they have serious questions about it. Do you have any first hand observations? What are the chances that the team pronounces Guzman's shoulder unhealthy and starts him on the DL to give Desmond a shot?

nattaboy said...

Guz has been in camp. I saw him taking grounders, making throws, and htting guzman singles all over the filed in bp. Looked healthy to this guy

natscan reduxit said...

... don't need to go to at all to listen to the game. Just check into the Astros' broadcaster at:

... and hit "Listen Live". First pitch just thrown.

Anonymous said...


You should try CoveritLive for live blogging--its a lot easier for you, and for us to follow.

natscan reduxit said...

... my turn. Oops! Guess I fogot about Uncle Bud's black out button. Guess we DO have to work our way thru' the MLB web site

Doc said...

Way to go Mark! Give that man a mike!

markfd said...


Thanks for the play-by-play nuggets, nice pitching by Mock and Martin, unfortunately I cannot say the same for soon-to-be minor league camp assignees Martis and Peralta! :(

JayB said...


Astro's Broadcast crew called E6 on Danny E on the first ball hit "right too him"...."how can that not be an error"....Did you see it and if so what do you think?

Mark Zuckerman said...

JayB: Didn't get a good look at it. The sightlines in the press box here are horrible thanks to dividers between all the windows. Plus I was transcribing Mock's interview at the time. The play was originally scored an error but changed to a hit, looked like it was slightly to Espinosa's right. You also have to remember that spring training official scoring is never as good as regular-season scoring. It's often done by PR guys, not MLB-hired scorers.

Anonymous said...

I know this is spring training and I know I shouldn't be concerned. But haven't we been hearing for a week now that the pitching is ahead of the hitting.............

Doc said...

I dunno, maybe things are improving. I mean the Nats are losing 2 games in one day--last summer they only lost 1 per day.

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