Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nats vs. Marlins - 3/2/11

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The sun is back out in full force today at Space Coast Stadium.
VIERA, Fla. -- It's another beautiful day in the paradise otherwise known as Viera. After yesterday's rain and menacing clouds, we've got bright sunshine today for the first of way too many meetings this season between the Nationals and Marlins.

John Lannan gets the start, but I'm more interested to see how Yunesky Maya looks out of the bullpen. Maya drew rave reviews for his performance in the Dominican this winter, and he's looked sharp so far in camp, though there's only so much you can gather from bullpen sessions and live BP.

Some news on other pitchers: Both Tom Gorzelanny and Chien-Ming Wang will appear in Friday's minor-league intrasquad game. Nothing wrong with Gorzelanny; it's just the way the schedule sets up, and we'll probably see him in a big-league game next week.

Meanwhile, reliever Henry Rodriguez has arrived at last from Venezuela and is taking his physical today. The Nats will slowly work him into the mix, with bullpen sessions and live BP before he pitches in a game.

Also, you'll notice Nyjer Morgan is not in the lineup today against his good friends from Florida. Given his history with the Marlins, it would be easy to read something into this. But really, Nyjer's sitting this one out only because he started the last two days. "He'll get plenty of action against the Marlins [later this spring]," Jim Riggleman assured.

Plenty of updates to come throughout the day, so be sure to check back...

Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees, Wind 17 mph LF to RF
CF Roger Bernadina
LF Rick Ankiel
RF Laynce Nix
3B Ryan Zimmerman
DH Adam LaRoche
C Jesus Flores
2B Jerry Hairston
SS Alex Cora
1B Michael Aubrey
(P John Lannan)

2B Omar Infante
CF Dewayne Wise
SS Hanley Ramirez
1B Gaby Sanchez
C John Buck
3B Wes Helms
RF Scott Cousins
LF Bryan Peterson
DH John Raynor
(P Josh Johnson)
12:57 p.m. -- Nice version of the national anthem sung by all four members of the Oak Ridge Boys, who are apparently performing in town tonight.

1:05 p.m. -- Fastball high from John Lannan to Omar Infante gets this game underway. Really small crowd on hand, you can hear just about anything said in the stands.

1:09 p.m. -- Very nice top of the first for Lannan. He retired the side, getting Infante to fly out, Dewayne Wise to ground out to short and then blowing away Hanley Ramirez (yes, I said blowing away Hanley Ramirez) with a 2-2 fastball up and out of the strike zone.

1:27 p.m. -- And the Nats take a 1-0 lead, thanks to some sloppy Florida defense. Rick Ankiel reached on an error by Ramirez, took second when Laynce Nix walked and then took third when Josh Johnson misfired on a pickoff attempt. A groundout to short off Ryan Zimmerman's bat brought Ankiel home with the first run of the day. Later, Adam LaRoche (still limited to DH duties) singled through the right-side hole, and Jesus Flores (making his first start behind the plate) grounded out to second.

1:32 p.m. -- Another 1-2-3 inning for Lannan, who induced a pop-up and two flyouts. Looks really sharp here so far.

2:15 p.m. -- So, I leave the press box to go shoot some photos, and wouldn't you know it happened again: an offensive explosion. The Nats scored four times in the bottom of the second, with Roger Bernadina providing three of the runs on a towering blast over the right-field fence. The wind is blowing pretty strong in that direction, but Bernadina put a charge into the ball and it probably would have gone out regardless. Lannan, meanwhile, had some hiccups in the top of the third, allowing two runs on three hits (one of them an RBI single by Hanley Ramirez). It's now 5-2 Nats heading into the fourth, and Yunesky Maya is taking the mound.

2:20 p.m. -- Lannan's final line: 3 ip, 3 h, 2 er, 0 bb, 1 k, 1 hbp, 46 pitches, 28 strikes.

2:22 p.m. -- For those wondering, Josh Johnson didn't leave the game injured. He simply hit his predetermined pitch count in the middle of Ryan Zimmerman's at-bat in the bottom of the second and thus was pulled.

2:23 p.m. -- Nice inning for Maya. He retired the side on 10 pitches, striking out two batters. Still 5-2 Nats.

2:48 p.m. -- Two scoreless innings for Maya, whose spring debut turned out to be a good one. He allowed two hits in the fifth but kept the Marlins from scoring and even started a very nice 1-6-3 double play. Final line: 2 ip, 2 h, 0 r, 0 bb, 3 k. 23 pitches, 16 strikes.

3:32 p.m. -- So, I just spent the last 30 minutes in the Nats clubhouse, talking to John Lannan about his start, Jesus Flores about Yunesky Maya's performance and Stephen Strasburg about his rehab (nothing really new to report there, other than he's started throwing from a slightly greater distance). But it appears plenty happened in my absence. The Nats currently lead 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth, thanks in part to a solo homer from Rick Ankiel. Bryce Harper also came off the bench and drew a walk. He also took over in right field. And in today's blast from the past, Shawn Hill appeared for the Marlins. It's hard not to root for Hill, an incredibly intense competitor who has gone through a whole lot of injuries in his career, including two Tommy John surgeries. Doesn't sound like he has a great shot at making Florida's rotation, but the mere fact he's pitching in big-league games and is healthy is impressive enough.

3:41 p.m. -- Harper just got another at-bat to end the eighth. He drove a shot to deep left-center, reaching the warning track before the ball was caught just short of the fence. Pretty impressive poke to the opposite-field, especially considering the crosswind blowing from left to right field.

3:47 p.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win 8-4 and improve to 3-0 this spring. Too early to start printing Grapefruit League champion T-shirts?


Anonymous said...


Are Tom Gorzelanny and Chien-Ming Wang throwing bullpen today in preparation for Fri? Would love ANY update you could get on them, especially Wang, after reading what Boz wrote yesterday. Thanks!


Mark Zuckerman said...

I believe Wang through a bullpen yesterday morning. Not sure about Gorzelanny.

HHover said...

There are so many reasons to sit Nyjer, it's hard to pick just one. The first reason that came to my mind was numerical--as in, 0-6.

Sam said...

You're going to bench someone for going 0/6 in Spring Training? My goodness...

Can we all stop and think for a second and realize that Spring Training statistics DO NOT MATTER AT ALL? I repeat: Spring Training stats do not matter at all. Whatsoever. They are NOT telling of how a player will perform in the upcoming season.

JayB said...

0-6 means he is doing it means everything...that bunt yesterday when he the situation dictated he had to get it down first before running out of the box tells you why he will never be a member of a winning team....I think this team is ready to win....cut him lose now and make Riggs eat his words.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

Hopefully Corey Brown is a fast healer so he can take advantage of Nyjer's abysmal plate performance and eize CF from him!!

A DC Wonk said...

"I think this team is ready to win"

Hey JayB, somebody's using your handle!

SCNatsFan said...

Sam, I disagree; Morgan appeared to have so many flaws in fundemental skills last year that if he hasn't corrected them then his downward spiral will continue. ST is his chance to show he has learned from his mistakes; if he has not then we are wasting a roster space.

JayB said...

nope...they finally are putting the right emphasis on getting baseball players who know how to win a team game.....I loved the approach they showed in that MLB Network Game....I watched it twice...big change from past years.

Tcostant said...

Mark -

Can I ask a stupid question? Why is their a DH in a game between to National League teams? Seems to me. pitchers will most likely be lifted for pinch hitters with their limited innings and if not, it a good time to work on bunting. Is the call (on DH use) that the home team makes? It seems very short sighted to me.

Mark Zuckerman said...

NL teams are allowed to request use of a DH in spring training, provided the opposing team agrees. The Nats tend to do it for the first 7-10 days of the spring schedule as a way to just get more guys at-bats. Also, in the case of Adam LaRoche (who can't play the field for a few days because of a shoulder issue) it allows him to still get to DH.

citizen16 said...


I'm liking the new format. I wonder if you might get more reactions if you change the response boxes from "Funny, Interesting, Cool" to something like "Like, Dislike, Don't Care" or "Agree, Disagree, Indifferent." That might make for more interesting interactions. Just a thought to consider. It's just great to be reading game posts again, even if they're meaningless games.

HHover said...

Calm down, Sam. Nyjer is sitting out one game. That's all I was talking about.

But if my comment was too short and flip, let me try a longer one.

Does 0-6 in 2 ST games mean anything in the greater scheme of things? It obviously doesn't mean much, but I wouldn't say it means absolutely nothing--certainly not for someone in Nyjer's position. He's coming off a crappy 2010 and needs to reassure the team that he can be their starting CF and lead-off hitter. From his perspective, and the team's (and the fans'), the sooner he proves that, the better. Going 0-6 isn't determinative, but I doubt it's the script that T-Plush would write for himself either.

EastBayNatsFan said...

Bernadina playing CF and leading off. I could get used to that. Here's hoping he pushes hard for the job.

Ed said...

if nyjer continues to disappoint, a Morse/Ankiel- Bernadina- Werth outfield would have promise. but only if morse can adjust to more playing time and Bernadina can adjust to a number 1 slot and sacrifice power hitting for contact.
despite what everyone seems to be resigned to, our best option is still to hope nyjer develops, like riggleman seems to still believe he will, because bernadina will be so much better in left and farther down the lineup

Rabbit said...

I don't care what the reason is, I'm happy Morgan is sitting this one out. You know, I think the lineup we are putting out there today is better than our best lineup all of last season! And, this is the weakest one so far!

Diz said...

FYI - Seems like Federal Baseball's website was hacked. Was just there and it will take you to a link about your computer getting a virus. If you go there and it pops up, close your browser immediately and be sure not to click on anything.

Farid said...

Bernadina didn't look particularly impressive in center last year, and I'm still not sure he has a major league bat.

Riggleman has already said that he intends to platoon Nyjer this year, probably with Jayson Werth moving over to play center against lefties.

Lats season, Laynce Nix batted .291/.350/.455 against righties and based on platoon at-bats, would have hit about 10 homers and 45 RBI. His defense is solid.

I have no problem playing a place-holder in center until Bryce Harper or Corey Brown is ready to take over.

JaneB said...

I know spring training games don't count. But I would still like to see our guys beat the fish, and make that a good omen for a better year against them.

Daniel said...

Go Marlins! I'd like to see a legitimate rivalry grow between the Fish and another NL East team. All the Marlins seem to inspire is apathy.

JayB said...

I strongly agree Jane....when you have lost 300 games in 3 years....and like 80% of all games with the is critical that they change that trend now....While I doubt Riggs will even wake up to this fact and manage to win....he should because that losertown history is one of the biggest weight holding this team back right now.

J Lannan said...

I'm really nervous. I'll try to pitch well, throw strikes. Don't want Rigs to give me the hook.

Souldrummer said...

I'm glad to see Bernadina getting some CF time. Rather interesting that he's in CF and Ankiel's in LF. Supposedly Ankiel is outfield depth who can play center. Also supposedly Bernadina is not somebody they trust in CF.

For the Corey Brown lobby, I'd be shocked if he's in camp much longer. He has not credible statistics beyond AA and wasn't great at AAA last year. Rodriguez was the centerpiece of that deal for me, not Brown.

I'm intrigued by Laynce Nix. Does he have any shot to make the club? He was a 2.0bWAR and 1.7bWAR guy in the past.

Thanks for the DH info, Mark. Didn't realize the full specifics of the rule.

souldrummer said...

Don't know what's going on with the website. I was just at Federal Baseball and all systems seemed go to me.

JD said...

Sorry JayB and JaneB; winning the 3rd game of ST with Aubrey at 1st and Cora, Hairston and Ankiel in the lineup means 0 to the 'winning' or 'losing' culture. It might be fun to beat the fish but let's not extrapolate any long term meaning from this game.

Anonymous said...

tks Mark re: Wang bullpen. guess no news is good news.


JayB said...

JD we can agree to disagree then...and for most other teams I would agree with you....but this is the Nats...just sit back and enjoy the new is very different and they need to have perfect practice to set it in stone.

J Lannan said...

How'd you think I did? Icing my elbow, downing an iced beer. T-bone steak and baked potato tonight.

NatinBeantown said...

Was Bernie's blast legit, or a Space Coast Special (wind-aided)? Sounds like it's blowing out to right pretty strongly today.

N. Cognito said...

Now this is the type of pitching we've come to expect. Get to the bottom of the order and fall apart. I'm just glad the pitcher's not hitting!

fpcsteve said...

NJ says the homer was "crushed."

Anonymous said...

What about Johnson? Is he injured or just a bad beginning to ST?

And Lannan is back to his struggles. I very much agree with NC about struggling against lower order hitters.

fpcsteve said...

In Lannan's defense, he apparently sat quite a while during the Nats' 5-run inning. He was bullet-proof the first two innings. The glass is half full.

N. Cognito said...

It's Spring Training.
Players are working on stuff.
That's why winning here doesn't really matter.

JD said...

Shawn Hill???

Traveler8 said...

The Gamecast keeps surprising me - here we are with Shawn Hill pitching for the Marlins, and the other day it was Mike O'Connor (with a curly W hat) pitching for the Mets. Given a number of newbies and minor leaguers, I sometimes have to sort out which side is our team!

cadeck13 said...

Dear Mark,
Please always remember to go down and take pictures at all games, we need the offensive explosion!

fpcsteve said...

Mark must have snapped a photo of Ankiel. ESPN reports he went yard. 7-3, Nats.

JaneB said...

Well, I know Spring Training games are meaningless. Whatever. We have certainly identified a pattern the Nats ought to keep track of: When Mark is off Reporting, the offense blows the lid off. Here's to lots more reporting.

meixler said...


Did all the press go down to talk to Lannan, Flores, and Strasburg or do you and Kilgore just like to stick together?

MGG said...

Can anyone tell me how the radio deal is going to work with WJFK? Will they kill their crappy mid-day programming to broadcast the day games? Cause that would be great!

fpcsteve said...

Human beings are habit-prone and habit-bound creatures. Wining is a good habit that makes more winning more likely. And we beat the Fish. Nice.

Feel Wood said...

"Ballgame. Nats win 8-4 and improve to 3-0 this spring. Too early to start printing Grapefruit League champion T-shirts?"

Remember the team that tore up the Cactus League last year, Manny Acta's Cleveland Indians? For all it means, might as well dig up some of their shirts, take a sharpie, cross out 2010 Cactus League champs and replace it with 2011 Grapefruit League. It's nice to win the preseason games, but it's better to play well. Let's hope they continue to play well.

Anonymous said...

Re the WJFK deal, I believe I read somewhere that weekday day games will be broadcast on their AM partner (1580?) not 106.7. In other words, you can still get your Lavar and Dukes fix despite the Nats broadcast deal.

LoveDaNats said...

I am cautiously optimistic ...........

EastBayNatsFan said...

It's not so much that I'm feeling glass-half-full about this year's Nats. I'm just enjoying the fact that we finally have a glass.

jbfastpitch said...

I can't wait for MASN and the regular season. I will miss Dibble's commentary.

Anonymous said...

Any Natspos fan should enjoy beating the Marlins. They should be contracted and have all their records wiped from the books. Loria should probably also be sent to prison.

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