Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nats vs. Marlins -- 3/21/10

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Justin Maxwell strikes out in the fourth, leaving him 4-for-35 this spring.
JUPITER, Fla. -- Hello from Roger Dean Stadium, joint spring home of the Marlins and Cardinals. The Marlins are our hosts today, with the Nationals making the trek down I-95 for part two of a home-and-home exhibition series. (Florida won yesterday's ballgame in Viera, 5-3.)

Good pitching matchup today, with John Lannan and Josh Johnson facing each other in a rematch of last year's Opening Day in Miami. Lannan has kind of been under the radar all spring for the Nats, in part because of all the Stephen Strasburg hype, in part because one of his starts was rained out and another one was in a road split-squad game. But now it's time for Lannan to start getting serious. Including today, he's got three more starts down here before facing Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Co. on April 5.

Be sure to check back for updates throughout the afternoon, and check the homepage for any non-game news...

Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: No TV/Marlins radio (via XM and MLB Gameday Audio)
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 20 mph RF to LF
RF Willie Harris
2B Adam Kennedy
SS Ian Desmond
1B Chris Duncan
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Eric Bruntlett
CF Justin Maxwell
LF Roger Bernadina
P John Lannan

LF Brian Barden
CF Cameron Maybin
SS Hanley Ramirez
3B Jorge Cantu
2B Dan Uggla
C Ronny Paulino
RF Cody Ross
1B Logan Morrison
P Josh Johnson

10:29 a.m. -- Bill Parcells on the field watching Marlins BP. One of these days, I want to see Parcells and Bobby Knight each in the dugout, each making pitching changes for the Marlins and Cardinals.

12:00 p.m. -- Strange weather here today. One moment, the field is awash in sunlight. The next, it's raining in spurts. Could make for interesting conditions all afternoon.

12:02 p.m. -- Check the homepage for updates on Cristian Guzman, Nyjer Morgan and Jordan Zimmermann.

1:07 p.m. -- We are underway with Willie Harris grounding the first pitch of the day from Josh Johnson to second for an easy out.

1:14 p.m. -- Two-out rally from the Nats off Johnson. Ian Desmond draws a walk and then scores moments later when Chris Duncan send an opposite-field double to left. Just like that, the Nationals give John Lannan a 1-0 lead for the bottom of the first.

1:17 p.m. -- Brian Barden leads off for the Marlins with a grounder into the hole at short ... and what do you know, Ian Desmond guns a throw over to first to get Barden by seven steps.

1:31 p.m. -- Lannan just cruising along through two innings. Six up, six down. Struck out Jorge Cantu and has yet to allow a ball through the infield.

1:42 p.m. -- Here's the other side of Ian Desmond in the field: Popup into shallow center field. Desmond appears to have it tracked down, then watches as the ball glances off his glove for a two-base error.

1:53 p.m. -- The Desmond error comes back to haunt Lannan. Singles by Logan Morrison, Brian Barden and Cameron Maybin bring a pair of runs (one earned) home and give the Marlins the lead. Lannan fights back, though, and gets Hanley Ramirez to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame. Marlins lead 2-1 after three.

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ian Desmond confers with third base coach Pat Listach.
2:13 p.m. -- Ian Desmond figuring prominently in this game so far. Doubles to lead off the fourth, moves to third on Pudge's flyball to right, then scores on Eric Bruntlett's single. Lannan still looks strong, retired the side in the fourth. So it's now 2-2 in the top of the fifth.

2:33 p.m. -- Fundamentals, folks, fundamentals. With no one out and a runner on first, Lannan gives up a groundball to first that looks like an easy double play. But Lannan forgets to cover the bag until it's too late, so the Nats have to settle for only a forceout. Lannan, though, responds by pitching his way out of the inning. It's 2-2 after five, and Lannan's day should be over. His final line; 5 ip, 5 h, 2 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 2k, 60 pitches, 45 strikes. Jason Bergmann is next up out of the Nats bullpen.

2:55 p.m. -- Big, four-run rally from the Nats in the sixth gives them a 6-2 lead. Pudge singles, Bruntlett doubles him home for his second RBI of the day. Maxwell drops a sac bunt. Bernadina walks, steals second. Harris walks to load the bases for Kennedy, who brings everyone home with a double to deep left. All of this off Marlins reliever Hayden Penn.

3:09 p.m. -- And everything unravels here in the bottom of the sixth. Jason Bergmann gives up singles to Cameron Maybin, Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. Then with runners on first and third, Ronny Paulino hits a slow roller toward short. Desmond comes charging in and tries to make a nice play to gun down the runner at the plate, but he boots the ball for his second error of the game. A walk loads the bases with one out, and Bergmann nearly gets out of it by striking out Logan Morrison. But Mike Lamb sends a flyball to deep left, and a twisting and diving Roger Bernadina can only get a piece of it. Falls in for a three-run triple. SHOULD Bernadina have made the play? Probably not. But COULD he have made the play? Yeah. Marlins now lead 7-6 after six, with Mike MacDougal(!) coming on to pitch for Florida.

3:29 p.m. -- Craziness in the top of the seventh. The Nats score three off MacDougal, who gets knocked out. Bernadina with an RBI single. Alberto Gonzalez with a two-run single. But Gonzalez then inexplicably tries to steal second ... with Pete Orr already standing on second. Uh, that's not going to work. Nats lead 9-7 going to the bottom of the seventh, with Tyler Clippard now pitching.

3:47 p.m. -- Just got back from talking to John Lannan in the clubhouse. (More on that later.) In the meantime, Tyler Clippard tossed a scoreless seventh and is now back on for the eighth. Nats still lead, 9-7. Oh and by the way, Ian Desmond now playing right field.

3:56 p.m. - And Clippard gets out of the eighth. Two scoreless for the bespectacled right-hander. Nats clinging to a two-run lead heading to the ninth. Would appear either Luis Atilano or Jesse English will be closing this one out. Hold your breath.

4:01 p.m. -- It's Atilano.

4:06 p.m. -- Atilano gets Barden to ground out but then serves up a double to Mike Stanton (no, not the 45-year-old lefty, the highly rated prospect). Jim Riggleman decides to play matchups in the ninth inning. Jesse English comes on to face Peterson. But Fredi Gonzalez is countering with Brett Carroll, a right-handed hitter. High drama in Jupiter.

4:11 p.m. -- Carroll bloops a single to center field, putting the tying run on first with one out. English responds by striking out Hector Luna on a breaking ball. And it all comes down to ... Emilio Bonifacio. You can't write a script like this.

4:13 p.m. -- Bonifacio hits a Baltimore chop to the left of the mound. English grabs it, turns and fires a strike to first to just nail the speedster by a half-step. Nats win, 9-7. Bang-zoom.

4:41 p.m. -- Couple of game-related points to wrap up: On the botched Gonzalez steal, the blame actually goes to Pete Orr, who had started to take off from second but then stopped after a couple of steps. Gonzalez, the trailing runner, was merely following his lead and thus got caught in no-man's land. ... Also, though Jason Bergmann was charged with five runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk, Jim Riggleman didn't put any of the blame on the right-hander. "I would say zero his fault," the manager said, citing a couple of soft singles, an error by Ian Desmond and a wind-blown double off Roger Bernadina's glove in left.


peric said...

Maybe he's out there checking out Destin Hood ... wondering what it would take to sign him to a contract with the Dolphins.

A.W. said...

1 run is all Lannan needs!

peric said...

1-2-3 for Lannan

Anonymous said...

Right now, would you like to have Desmond as the Nats everyday SS? For the sounds of it, I think, even though he's young, Ian has been outplaying Desmond.

On another note, your blog is great and I love reading Nats news updated daily and even hourly.

peric said...

3 errors for Desmond this spring. Guzman has one and probably will have more given the situation. I don't know, they may still decide that Desmond needs more seasoning in the field at shortstop. Probably would have were it not for Guzman's decline.

Guess, like Mike Morse in Seattle, he will have try to learn and get better at the position on the job.

peric said...

At least Lannan is ready to start the season. Thankfully. However, he now represents some pretty valuable trade bait.

natsfan1a said...

What's up, NatsTown?

After reading, nothing much seems to rattle Lannan. I like that.

natsfan1a said...

Not covering first - what the? :-)

Glad he got out of it, though.

peric said...

Desmond continues to impress at the plate though ... making up for that error eh Mark?

PDowdy83 said...

I am a really big fan of the way Adam Kennedy plays the game. I think he will be an above average player and a definite upgrade over the people who played second for us last year.

natsfan1a said...

Evidently Desmond's glove taketh (tooketh?) away again later in the game.

natsfan1a said...

I like what I've seen of Kennedy's play, too.

LoveDaNats said...

Do you think Bergman will make the bullpen? He seems to struggle every time he's up.

natsfan1a said...

Did somebody say something about fundamentals earlier?

Come Mikey, give us some BB's and WP's for old times' sake. :-)

natsfan1a said...

Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket or something...

Bill C-H said...

Any chance Orr missed a steal sign???

natsfan1a said...

Hold 'em, Tyler.

peric said...

just wow ... does everyone want to lose their jobs? Desmond, Bergmann, Gonzalez ... yikes ...

Jim here for Nats games said...

Desmond is his own worst enemy. He is the reason he has not been named the Nats SS with Guz going to the DL to start the season to fix his arm or be traded to the AL. If Desmond could play defense to make all the routine plays and only some of the spectacular ones he would be just fine. I am sure he is aware of this but it doesn't seem to sink in or, maybe, his adrenilin is just flowing. All that said, he still should be the starter at short and he will learn as he goes. It is not as if a few more errors at SS will cost the Nats the playoffs. His offense will offset the errors.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Bill C-H: Gotta believe someone missed a sign, either Gonzalez or Pete Orr (who was standing on second). Will try to find out after the game what happened.

Anonymous said...

Oh YEAH! Who can say Opening Day SS = Mike Morse or Eric Bruntlett. Ian Desmond is playing the same at SS as he had since his first minor league game...spectacular plays are made and routine ones are always errors, something is wrong mentally with this kid, he is too full of himself to get his head in the game, I would like to see Tim Foli to run him through the wringer on some fielding drills!

peric said...

Wondering about Jesse English over Burnett?

natsfan1a said...

Yay! When I saw that it all came down to Boni, I thought the baseball gods might have the last laught.

natsfan1a said...

Crud. Laugh. I hate it when you see the typo just after you hit submit. Noooo.... :-)

peric said...

Kind of miss Ben and Kristen.

Doc said...

Couple of points. Desmond's problems are a function of concentration, not athletic skill. Nats fan who suggested Foli do something besides roam around and try to look important is dead on. Drills for ID, drills, drills, drills.

Nice to see Riggleman is cutting Bergman some slack. He seems to be a good kid, who really improved his approach last year.

peric said...

Noting here again, the very interesting coincidence that: Aaron Thompson, Drew Storen, Steven Strasburg, Michael Burgess, Danny Espinosa (also perhaps Derrick Noriss, Steven Lombardozzi? Jeff Kobernus?) will all be in Harrisburg together for some time. Seems like that's the place they may draw from as opposed to Syracuse?

Wondering why Brian Oliver still has Drew Storen closing in Syracuse?

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