Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nats vs. Marlins -- 3/20/10

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Garrett Mock allowed three runs and six hits in five innings.
VIERA, Fla. -- Obviously, the big news of the day (the demotion of Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen to Class AA Harrisburg) has already happened. But there's still a game to be played, and there are compelling storylines to it as always.

Garrett Mock makes his fourth start of the spring, hoping to further solidify his standing within the rotation. As we've been saying for a while now, Mock is currently lined up to start the season's fourth game, and club officials continue to speak highly of him. It would be nice, though, to see a complete performance from the right-hander today in his first five-inning start of the month.

Meanwhile, we'll get another look at Cristian Guzman at shortstop and a look at Mike Morse in right field this afternoon. Both players are worth watching closely. Well, at least for those of us sportswriters who actually understand how to cover sports.

An explanation for that last line: The Washington Times, a newspaper that less than three months ago decided to eliminate its entire sports department (including yours truly), sent a "sports" reporter to Viera to "cover" last night's game. This reporter watched four innings of the game from the press box. He never appeared in the clubhouse or on the field. As best as I can tell, he never spoke to anyone in uniform (or to any other reporters, for that matter). Yet he wrote a full account of the game, with a Viera dateline and with quotes from Strasburg obviously lifted from other reporters' articles. Nice to see the newspaper is upholding some fine journalistic standards and spending its money wisely.

OK, back to today's game. Be sure to check back for updates throughout the afternoon...

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: No TV/WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF
CF Roger Bernadina
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Mike Morse
2B Alberto Gonzalez
C Wil Nieves
P Garrett Mock

LF Chris Coghlan
CF Cameron Maybin
SS Hanley Ramirez
3B Jorge Cantu
C John Baker
1B Gaby Sanchez
RF Brett Carroll
2B Donnie Murphy
P Chris Volstad

1:10 p.m. -- Quick top of the first for Garrett Mock. Sticking with his "attack hitters" mantra, he retires the side on 10 pitches. Lineout to left. Groundout to third (with Zimmerman making a nifty grab). Groundout to short. Ten pitches, six strikes.

1:24 p.m. -- Zimmerman, in midseason form, ropes a double off the wall in right-center, scoring Roger Bernadina with the game's first run. The Nats load the bases with one out against Volstad, with a chance to break things open, but Mike Morse grounds into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Nats lead, 1-0, after one.

1:33 p.m. -- Not such a great second inning from Mock. He issued a one-out walk to John Baker, then on his next pitch to Gaby Sanchez served up a two-run shot to left. On the bright side, he struck out two batters. ... Cristian Guzman update: He just finally had a ball hit to his right. Went into the hole to get Murphy's bouncer. His throw didn't have much on it and sailed high and wide for an error.

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Roger Bernadina pops out in the bottom of the third.
2:11 p.m. -- Spent a couple innings down near the field shooting some photos, but the score remains 2-1 through 3 1/2. Mock has looked sharp. Allowed a couple of singles in the fourth but got out of it by striking out Murphy. He should go one more inning. Nats have six hits off Chris Volstad but only one run so far.

2:25 p.m. -- Mock's day is complete, ending on a somewhat down note. Cameron Maybin took him deep for a solo homer on a 2-2 pitch in the fifth. Hanley Ramirez followed with a double, but Mock responded by getting Jorge Cantu to fly out. Final line: 5 ip, 6 h, 3 er, 1 bb, 4 k, 2 hr, 80 pitches, 48 strikes. Not Mock's best, not his worst. Kind of like the entire spring. In this camp, that appears to be good enough to ensure a spot in the Opening Day rotation. (Oh, Marlins now lead, 3-1, in the bottom of the fifth.)

2:41 p.m. -- Shairon Martis (remember him?) on in relief for Mock and immediately gives up a pair of doubles -- to Baker and Carroll -- making it 4-1 as we head to the bottom of the sixth.

2:54 p.m. -- Another homer for Cameron Maybin, this one a solo shot off Martis in the seventh. I picked this guy to win Rookie of the Year in 2009. Can I pick him again in 2010?

3:28 p.m. -- Nats scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a sac fly by Wil Nieves and an RBI single by Willie Harris. That made it 5-3, which is where it still stands in the top of the ninth. Drew Storen, the newest member of the Harrisburg Senators, actually pitching this inning for Washington before he heads over to minor-league camp.

3:31 p.m. -- Garrett Mock, on his performance today, which included a pair of home runs: "I feel like today went OK. A couple of pitches cost me the runs. I'm not happy about giving up runs with two outs. It's something that [pitching coach Steve McCatty] has been talking to us about. I feel like the situations I gave up those runs, I had one pitch to execute and I didn't execute them. That's the way it goes."

3:37 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. The Nats can't produce a late rally and fall to the Marlins, 5-3. On the bright side, Drew Storen threw a 1-2-3 ninth. For whatever that's worth.


peric said...

Seem to be in a bit of pique this morning Mark? ~laughing~

Could be worst ... you could have been replaced by someone from India who barely knows English and who's computer skills are less than competent because their parent company can sell them cheap buy outsourcing some of the work and getting great deals on apartments etc. for those stationed here. And the great Bill Gates says don't keep intelligent people out? These guys aren't even as good as your local high school kids who won't get jobs when they graduate from college because of them.

Anonymous said...

Nice to know your human. Human and correct:)

Anonymous said...


This is hard for me to understand. Where the heck would a newspaper put a story on a baseball game, if that paper doesn't have a sports section?


peric said...

Its probably personal interest or something. Goes underneath the blatherings of Kryon the great and Rush Limbaugh.

Anonymous said...

Souldrummer says-
You don't what to root for with Guzzy. You'd like Desmond to start, but you'd like Guzzy to be tradable. He has truly been a toxic asset.

Anonymous said...

You're completely correct. Hopefully it is of some consolation to you that we fans continue to find your work to be the highest quality and the best source for Nats news. Keep up the awesome work.

KA said...

Three cheers for good journalism, and a big F.U. to the Washington Times.

Mary in Springfield said...

Mark -- if you're near Sec. 209 and see a fellow named Jerry in a blue Zimmerman jersey, say hello to him (my husband) ... he came down yesterday to see 2 or 3 games. From what he says it sounds like beautiful weather for a ballgame!

Anonymous said...

classy as always times...

natscan reduxit said...

... Mark, up here above the 49th belt, most provinces (state level jurisdictions) have a media ethics review panel, at which such an imposter might be brought to task. Any chance of that happening where you are?

... oh ... and, Go Nats!!

p.s. I didn't applaud you because, I hope you realise, such gratitude for your continuing coverage goes without saying. If it didn't, I say it loud and clear: Thank You Very Much for all you do and will do.

bobn said...

I used to pick up a Washtimes to read sports page while having lunch...I tossed the rest of I don't even look at the sidewalk box to read the headlines.

JayB said...


I was at the game today. Guzman is really not able to play SS at this point. You were being kind on that throw and he looks very slow to react to the hit balls as well (nothing new really but he only got 1 step to his left before a 4 hopper went through the middle. Ian D is going to have to start as SS....if he does not then everything Rizzo has said is a lie about playing the best 8 on opening day. Of couse SS is the best pitcher we have by a ton and he is not going to start either.

Ladson's box score does not show Zimm being thrown he wake up there?

Mark Zuckerman said...

JayB: Working on a long Guzman item right now. He definitely didn't look good on that throw, and plenty of people noticed it. More on that coming up...

Nats fan in NJ said...

Guzman starts on the DL, gives Desmond time to either prove he belongs or an excuse to send him to Syracuse while Guz plays out his contract. I like Guz - can't blame him for his contract. But this team needs to play Desmond and find out what they've got in him. If he comes and and takes control of the starting job, and IF Guz becomes a clubhouse cancer (not saying he would, just a hypothetical only), then I hope the club would either trade him for a bag of peanuts or cut him and move forward. The Plan needs a shortstop and needs to identify if that shortstop's name is Ian Desmond.

Nats fan in NJ said...

Oh, and Mark, kudos on your coverage and a big tthhhbbbttt to the newspaper that shall not be named...

Sunderland said...

Sounds like Guzman will go DL sometime right around when the season starts and we'll have ID at SS. Good.
How can he be worse than a minus fielder with a .307 career OBP?

This might also move Kennedy up to the #2 slot in tha batting order, and Desmond sitting at 6 between Willingham and C or RF.

bdrube said...

The WashTimes is now doing to sports what it has been doing to "news" for years.

Keep up the great coverage!

Nattaboy58"s twin brother said...

regarding the Washington so called Times: 'TELL EM WHY YOU MAD' Mark!

Fan-effing-tastic job with the Nats coverage Mark. What in your opinion would be the best long and short term resolution of the Guzman-Desmond debacle for the Nationals? I'm asking as a big fan of Guzman (I met him once and his accent/general demeanor was adorable, plus he HAS produced a ton for the ballclub) who wants to see Desmond start now.

bumsfan4 said...

Mark: Once ST is done, what are the possibilities of us "hiring" you for coverage during the regular season?

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