Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nats vs. Mets -- 3/7/10

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Tradition Field, the spring training home of the New York Mets.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A very pleasant Sunday morning to you from Tradition Field, home of the Mets. It's Game 2 of the home-and-home series between Washington and New York, and the Nationals can only hope they put on a better showing today after getting smoked 14-6 yesterday in Viera.

Jason Marquis make his spring debut today, with Matt Chico following him in relief. Several other relievers in the mix for roster spots are here as well. I'll post lineups as soon as I get them, so check back for updates.

Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV/Radio: WPIX-11 (New York), WFAN-AM (Mets radio via XM and MLB Gameday Audio)
Weather: Sunny, 73 degrees, Wind 13 mph in from RF
CF Justin Maxwell
SS Ian Desmond
RF Elijah Dukes
1B Mike Morse
C Ivan Rodriguez
DH Kevin Mench
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Alberto Gonzalez
LF Willy Taveras
(P Jason Marquis)

CF Gary Matthews Jr.
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
LF Jason Bay
1B Daniel Murphy
RF Jeff Francoeur
SS Alex Cora
C Omir Santos
DH Frank Catalanotto
(P Oliver Perez)

11:57 a.m. -- Willie Harris was originally supposed to start in left field, but he's feeling some effects from two wall-crashing catches he made yesterday in Viera and was scratched. Harris says it's nothing serious, and he's still here participating in pregame workouts.

12:05 p.m. -- Other relievers appearing today include Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann, Ron Villone, Matt Capps, Drew Storen, Luis Atilano and Joel Peralta. Oh, and former Expos first-round pick and Nats farmhand Clint Everts is scheduled to pitch for the Mets at some point.

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Mike Morse clubbed a two-run homer in the bottom of the first.
1:18 p.m. -- Solid start for the top of the lineup. Justin Maxwell works the count and draws a walk, then steals second. (Though he went in headfirst, prompting Jim Riggleman to motion to third base coach Pat Listach to mention it to Maxwell.) Listach never got the chance, though, because Ian Desmond laced a hard single through the right-side hole and Maxwell came storming around third to score the afternoon's first run. Elijah Dukes struck out on an offspeed pitch from Oliver Perez, but Mike Morse followed with a two-run blast to left-center, putting the Nats up 3-0. I don't know if Morse can play any position at an average big-league level, but the guy sure can hit, and you've got to think that trait more than anything could be his ticket onto the Opening Day roster.

1:27 p.m. -- And a solid first inning from Jason Marquis. Gary Matthews Jr. sends a deep drive to right field, but Elijah Dukes makes the catch at the wall. Luis Castillo beat out a grounder to third, with a diving Alberto Gonzalez unable to get up and make the throw in time. No problem, because Marquis got David Wright to ground into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Thirteen pitches for the veteran of the Nats' rotation, eight of them strikes.

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jim Riggleman argues with umpire Paul Nauert following the controversial grand slam.
2:13 p.m. -- Boy, you run downstairs for an inning and a half to take some photos and look what happens. In a nutshell ... Marquis allowed five runs in the second, four of them coming on an inside-the-park grand slam by Omir Santos. Santos hit a ball into the left-field corner, and Willy Taveras tried to signal the ball was stuck under the fence. Third-base ump Paul Nauert disagreed, so the play continued. By the time Taveras finally retrieved the ball, everyone had come around to score. One of the most bizarre plays you'll ever see. ... The Nats did bounce right back to tie the game 5-5 thanks to an RBI single by Taveras scoring Alberto Gonzalez and an RBI double by Kevin Mench scoring Ivan Rodriguez. ... Matt Chico took over on the mound in the third and looked sharp in retiring the side. He's back out for inning No. 2 now.

2:30 p.m. -- Really impressive two innings from Chico, who retired all six batters he faced and struck out Santos to end the fourth. Saw his first inning from up close behind the dugout near some Nats front-office people who noted his increased velocity. It'll be interesting to see if they can work him into the rotation here in the next week and give him a start.

3:06 p.m. -- Just got back from talking to Marquis and Chico in the clubhouse, but it appears the only thing of note to happen in the last couple innings was an RBI double by David Wright off Matt Capps. The Mets currently lead 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh. I'll have full posts on Marquis and Chico in a little while, so check the home page for those.

3:37 p.m. -- And the Nats fall to 0-5 in the Grapefruit League. This one, a 6-5 loss to the Mets, didn't bear any resemblance to the previous four. The Nats actually got good pitching in this one, with four of the six runs coming on that bizarre inside-the-park grand slam on a groundball into the left-field corner. Throw that one out and it was a pretty good effort all around. Drew Storen and Jason Bergmann each tossed scoreless innings of relief. Chris Duncan (in left field) and Willie Harris (who did wind up playing third base for a few innings) combined on a nice play to catch a runner who strayed too far off third base. This is a perfect example of a spring training game in which the final result has absolutely no relevance. Plenty of positive things accomplished today.


Jim said...

Mark, it isn't clear whether Chico is out of options. Do you know anything definitive?

peric said...

Courtesy of the NFA:

LHP Matt Chico: Added to Nats 40-man in November 2006; first option used in 2007, second option used in 2008, third option used in 2009. Option years remaining: None (he could possibly have a 4th option year but I don’t believe so)

peric said...

No options for Chico, Bruney, Bergmann .... if these guys don't make it (Bruney seems almost a sure thing) they have to run them through waivers. My guess is someone would grab them.

Doc said...

Glad to see that Morse is again in the lineup today. Someone must like him. Still think that he should be up front of all the other subs.

JayB said...


What is the Nats love affair with Alberto Gonzoles all about....He has consistently proven to be an air head on the field over the past few years. Yesterday Wfan guys were killing him for covering the wrong base and letting one of the Mets just walk to 2nd base on a single.

Not the first time he has spaced out. Last year he had several mental errors as well as physical ones....missed sign, failed sacrifice bunts...I know he has good defensive skills but he just seems to be a liability once he gets into a game.

If indeed he has MLB skills then other team would want him right? If so trade him now. He will never help this team because we already have more than our share of head cases.

peric said...

Guzman's shoulder gets the test on Monday ... wonder if Olsen pitches on Monday?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Peric: Olsen is tomorrow's scheduled starter.

Spike94wl said...

Mark, is it more important that Desmond play well or Guzman plays badly this spring to get Desmond to be the starter?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Spike: I think it would need to be a combination of the two, plus perhaps some evidence that Guzman is not 100 percent healthy.

HabsProf said...

Improvement - this time the first pitch only went to the warning track instead of over the fence!

natsfan1a said...

So, I wasn't listening at that point but the insider-the-parker sounds kinda like the one by Pagan in the Mets-Phillies game that also featured an unassisted, game-ending triple play (by a current Nat) some years ago?

natsfan1a said...

"inside-the-parker," rather

natsfan1a said...

um, and last year rather than some years ago. Gosh, time flies when you're having fun. heh.

natsfan1a said...

And "last year" rather than "some years ago." Gosh, time flies when you're having fun. heh.

natsfan1a said...

Dang. I really need to lay back a bit on those pitches.

peric said...

This is a case where :

Nats pitching: 5 walks and 2 strike outs.
Mets pitching: 1 walk and 11 strike outs, 6 by AAA Takahashi.

So, will the Mets "suck" at the beginning of the season?
Will the Nats suddenly become 'good"?

Inquiring Minds want to know.

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