Friday, March 26, 2010

Nats vs. Cardinals -- 3/26/10

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan struggled early but rebounded over his 5 2/3 innings.
VIERA, Fla. -- After some vicious storms overnight and a cloudy morning here at Space Coast Stadium, the sun is beginning to emerge and we will have baseball this afternoon.

The Cardinals are back in town for the third time this spring, bringing their entire "A" lineup, aside from Albert Pujols. The reigning MVP was actually supposed to make this trip, but manager Tony La Russa decided at the last minute not to subject Pujols (who has battled some back issues this spring) to the two-hour bus ride up I-95.

John Lannan, still the Nats' presumptive Opening Day starter even though that hasn't been made official, is on the mound for the home team. The left-hander has had a very nice, unspectacular spring, which is exactly what you want out of your top starter. He could go as many as six innings today if he keeps his pitch count down.

Check back throughout the day for updates...

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 13 mph RF to LF
3B Willie Harris
SS Cristian Guzman
2B Adam Kennedy
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Roger Bernadina
CF Willy Taveras
P John Lannan

2B Skip Schumaker
SS Julio Lugo
1B Allen Craig
LF Matt Holliday
CF Ryan Ludwick
3B David Freese
RF Nick Stavinoha
C Matt Pagnozzi
P Adam Wainwright

12:47 p.m. -- Last night, it was the lights. Today, it's the scoreboard. At the moment, the only thing displayed is the word "Cardinals" in the visitor's spot. No home team. No totals. No video board.

1:06 p.m. -- Scoreboard is functional and operating. And John Lannan throws a strike to Skip Schumaker to get things started.

1:23 p.m. -- Not the first inning Lannan wanted. Eight Cardinals came to the plate. Three reached on hits. Two walked. All told, three runs scored, with Matt Holliday's RBI double the biggest blow. A whopping 34 pitches, 22 of them strikes.

1:32 p.m. -- The Nationals strike back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Willie Harris singles to right, as does Cristian Guzman (on the first pitch he saw, naturally). Harris scores on Adam Kennedy's groundout to first, with Guzman moving to third when Allen Craig's throw skipped into shallow left field. Guzman then scores on Adam Dunn's groundout. So after one inning, it's already Cardinals 3, Nationals 2.

1:40 p.m. -- Better second inning for Lannan, though his command remains off. Walked Lugo with two outs but rebounded to strike out Craig to end the inning.

1:52 p.m. -- Lannan may not be having a great day on the mound, but he's at least helping himself at the plate. Just drove a two-out single to left, scoring Roger Bernadina and knotting the game up at 3.

2:26 p.m. -- The Cards currently lead 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Lannan was cruising along pretty well until he allowed an RBI double to Adam Wainwright in the fourth.

2:35 p.m. -- Lannan's day is over with two outs in the sixth. He allowed four runs on eight hits, is still responsible for a man on second. Jason Bergmann has emerged out of the bullpen to try to get out of the inning and keep the deficit at one run.

2:39 p.m. -- Bergmann gets out of it, though not without a moment of trepidation. Wainwright hits a grounder to third, and Willie Harris jogs over to step on third. Just one problem: There was no force out at third. A couple of guys yelled out at Harris to throw the ball to first, and he did just in time to get Wainwright and end the inning.

2:42 p.m. -- Lannan's final line: 5 2/3 ip, 8 h, 4 er, 3 bb, 4 k, 96 pitches, 63 strikes.

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ivan Rodriguez homered in the sixth to give the Nats the lead.
2:46 p.m. -- Ivan Rodriguez tattoos a pitch from Wainwright over the fence for a two-run homer. Just like that, the Nats take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth.

3:03 p.m. -- Willie Harris has been on base all four times he's come to the plate today: Single, single, double, walk.

3:24 p.m. -- A wild pickoff throw to first allows Mike Morse to score from third and puts the Nats up 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Three outs from victory, with Brian Bruney expected to pitch the ninth.

3:26 p.m. -- Make that 7-4 thanks to a Roger Bernadina single.

3:37 p.m. -- And Brian Bruney shuts the door on the Cardinals. A weak infield single is the first hit Bruney has allowed in his last six innings. Nats win, 7-4.

4:17 p.m. -- John Lannan, on his rough first inning today: "I wasn't really pitching like myself. I threw a lot of offspeed pitches. Usually in the first inning, I establish my fastball. I didn't really do that. I fell behind hitters. And when I fall behind, I get into some trouble."


LoveDaNats said...

Mark, I think they are broadcasting on WFED today.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI - both MLB At Bat and the fednewsradio site say today's game will be on Nationals radio. Please don't be offended if I say I hope they're right and you're wrong.

Doc said...

Mark: Have we got any direct evaluations on Mike Morse's play by the coaching staff? He seems to be doing at least a competent job in the field.

Mark Zuckerman said...

You guys are indeed correct: The game is on 1500 AM. The Nats' pregame notes had no broadcast listed for today, but Charlie and Dave are in the booth and ready to go.

peric said...

I wonder if Guzman becomes the next FLop this year?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Doc: Coaches have generally had good things to say about Morse. He's a good athlete overall, came up as a shortstop before he outgrew the position. He's not really going to be above-average at any one position, but he'll hold his own at first base, right field and left field.

peric said...

He plays 3rd base pretty well. Was his main position in Syracuse.

greg said...

peric, according to baseball reference, 3B was *not* his main position in syracuse. he played nearly twice as many games at 1B (27) as he did at 3B (15). i often wonder where you get your information.

presuming you don't live in syracuse and didn't watch him play those 15 games, what is your basis for saying he plays 3B pretty well?

Jim back from ST said...

Looks like has lost the audio feed for the game. Heard the first part of the top of first but then lost audio. They are blaming it on WFED.

Positively Half St. said...

Has there been any hint anywhere that the Nats might be interested in Chad Gaudin, who was released by the Yankees very recently? If not, why not?

Nervous Nats Fan said...

What was the thinking behind playing Pudge in the night game and then again in today's game? It's still spring training, let's not wear him out yet!

Mark Zuckerman said...

Nervous Nats Fan: Riggleman wants to start making sure his regulars play some back-to-back games, seeing as how they'll be doing that (and more) 10 days from now.

greg said...

still, it's kind of unusual for a catcher to play a day game after a night game. that's why you quite often have backup catchers playing a lot of sunday afternoon games, right?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Greg: True, though I can assure you, if Pudge didn't want to play today, he would have told Riggleman and would be on the bench this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

It's not WFED - MLB has lost all of its audio feeds.

Looks like you were right, Mark :)

K.D. said...

Plus, Pudge hasn't caught all nine innings in any one game yet. This year is probably a breeze compared to last season not having to play winter ball, the Classic than a shortened Spring Training with a new team.

Positively Half St. said...

Willie Harris is having a good game. Drive him in Guzman.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that Morse's main position in Syracuse was 3rd base.
I remember reading that he played it pretty well too.

alexva said...

Pudge goes deep!

K.D. said...

Atta boy, Pudge.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Has the radio broadcast come back on? Charlie and Dave have been talking into their microphones for the last two hours. (Though that doesn't necessarily mean they're on the air.)

Anonymous said...

i read somewhere that Morse was born a conjoined twin and that it was his separated conjoined twin brother that was better at 3rd base.

alexva said...

It came back on about 45 minutes ago

K.D. said...

Mr. Z, I'm listening on

LoveDaNats said...

What else does Willie Harris have to do before theNats give him chance to play every day in right field? He has proven himself, not only in ST but the previous season. Do it guys, you won't be sorry.

Anonymous said...

What Willie has proven, over his entire career, is that he's a .260 hitter with little power. He is very valuable as a bench player and an asset to the team in the clubhouse.

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