Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Nats vs. Mets - 3/1/11

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Rain is in the forecast today at Space Coast Stadium.
VIERA, Fla. -- After more than two weeks of perfect weather, I suppose we were bound to experience some clouds and precipitation eventually. Sure enough, we've already had some sprinkles at Space Coast Stadium this morning, and there is going to be a threat of showers most of the day.

Assuming the rain holds off enough to allow the Nationals and Mets and to play, we'll get a good look at Jim Riggleman's new lineup. He has Jayson Werth batting third today, with Ryan Zimmerman fourth, and that's the direction he's leaning toward for the regular season. The idea: Werth is a high-OBP guy, giving Zimmerman more RBI opportunities.

"I'd like to have some men on base when Zim comes up, and if Werth is that guy, that would be real good," Riggleman said.

Against right-handers, Riggleman will probably have Adam LaRoche batting fifth, with the left fielder du jour sixth. Against tough lefties (such as the Mets' Jon Niese, who starts today), LaRoche will probably hit sixth with Michael Morse fifth.

Speaking of LaRoche, he's going to be restricted to DH duties for a couple of days due to some soreness in his left shoulder. Riggleman didn't seem too concerned about it, though it's obviously worth watching.

Plenty of updates to come throughout the day...

Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: None
Weather: Showers, 78 degrees, Wind 12 mph RF to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
DH Adam LaRoche
C Ivan Rodriguez
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Chris Marrero
(P Livan Hernandez)

SS Jose Reyes
LF Willie Harris
3B David Wright
1B Ike Davis
2B Brad Emaus
DH Lucas Duda
C Josh Thole
RF Fernando Martinez
CF Jason Pridie
(P Jon Niese)
10:39 a.m. -- It's been raining pretty good here for a while. The tarp has been on the field throughout and BP was moved to the covered cages. Folks here are saying they should be able to play the game, but if it was scheduled to start right now, there would definitely be a delay.

12:27 p.m. -- The rain has subsided and it looks like this game will start on-time, a welcome development indeed. Also, as surely you've noticed, this site suddenly looks very different. As part of its purchase of Nats Insider, CSNwashington.com has been planning a redesign of the site. This is only the first stage, there will be more to come and I hope you'll like the more-professional look that the site will eventually be taking. As always, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions, so please include those in the comments section.

1:05 p.m. -- Livan Hernandez starts off Jose Reyes with a ball, and we are underway.

1:09 p.m. -- And the Mets jump out to a 1-0 lead. Reyes smoked Livo's second pitch to right field for a double, then took third on a flyout to center. David Wright lofted a high fly ball to shallow right-center. Nyjer Morgan had a clear path to the ball and it looked like he'd take it, but then Jayson Werth called him off at the last second. Werth's throw to the plate was just slightly off-line, and Reyes slid in with the day's first run.

1:18 p.m. -- So, Jim Riggleman's plan to bat Jayson Werth third and Ryan Zimmerman fourth? Didn't quite work out as hoped in the bottom of the first. After Morgan grounded out and Ian Desmond lined out, Werth showed his plate patience and drew a full-count walk. Zimmerman, though, struck out on three pitches to strand his new teammate on first base. Something tells me Zim will get a few more opportunities this season to advance Werth.

1:25 p.m. -- Fantastic diving catch by Nyjer to end the top of the second. He came charging straight in on Fernando Martinez's sinking liner and dove to make a backhand stab. New outfield coach Bo Porter has been working with Morgan this spring to play a bit shallower than he did last year, and it looks like that positioning helped pay off there.

1:33 p.m. -- Another base hit for Michael Morse, who hit a chopper to short that Reyes couldn't handle to lead off the bottom of the second. Morse, though, was subsequently gunned down trying to steal second. Adam LaRoche grounded out in his first at-bat as a National. Danny Espinosa struck out to end the inning. Heading down to the stands to take some photos for a couple of innings. Will be back.

2:18 p.m. -- OK, back in the press box now. Plenty to recap. We're now in the bottom of the fifth, the Nats now leading 4-1 thanks to a four-run fourth. The big blow came from Danny Espinosa, who crushed a two-run homer to right off reliever Manny Alvarez. Pudge also roped an RBI double to left for his first hit of the spring. And Morse just continues to rake at the plate. He's 2-for-2 today with a pair of singles, making him 5-for-7 the last two days. Morgan, on the other hand, is now 0-for-6 and hasn't hit the ball out of the infield. He popped up a bunt in the third inning, just not a good effort at all. As for pitching, Livo was solid in his three innings of work. And Ross Detwiler has cruised through his first two innings in relief.

2:22 p.m. -- Bryce Harper is on the board. He just came off the bench to hit for Werth and stroked his first hit of the spring, a line drive single to left. It came on 1-0 pitch from right-hander Pedro Beato. Harper then went hard into second base trying to break up a double play. Wasn't dirty at all, but it might have been a bit harder of a slide than you'll usually see in spring training. Still 4-1 Nats as we go to the sixth. Harper has taken over in right field.

2:35 p.m. -- A scoreless inning of relief from flamethrower Cole Kimball. The right-hander walked David Wright, struck out Ike Davis and looked pretty fired up as he trotted off the field after Derek Norris made a nice catch of a foul-pop right up against the screen. Still 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth.

3:09 p.m. -- Bryce Harper's second at-bat just came in the bottom of the seventh, with one out, runners on the corners and veteran right-hander Bobby Parnell on the mound. Parnell got ahead of the kid 0-2, both swinging strikes, then threw a breaking ball in the dirt. Harper laid off the pitch, and Alex Cora took advantage by advancing to second. That left runners on second and third and brought the Mets infield in. On Parnell's 1-2 pitch, Harper hit a chopper to first base, with Corey Brown getting thrown out at the plate. Brown came up lame, looked to be his left ankle. He had to be helped off the field by trainer Lee Kuntz. It's now 5-1 Nats as they head to the eighth.

3:45 p.m. -- Just got a chance to see Bryce Harper show off his arm. He had a chance to end the game with a throw to the plate with two outs in the ninth. Fired a pretty good two-hopper to the plate, but Derek Norris was unable to snag the ball, so the run scored. No worries, Drew Storen closed it out. Nats win 5-3.


JD said...

Against tough lefties Adam LaRoche should be on the bench; he can't hit them. It would be nice if Flores or Ramos could handle 1st base part time.

sjm 308 said...

Another good reason for Werth to bat 3rd is that he is a really good baserunner. He might be one of the best in the league at taking the extra base and if Morgan or Desmond is on ahead of him Zimm just might have 120 rbi's. We do not have the same team as last year that clogged the bases. I realize Pudge can't run but did you guys see Ramos go from 1st to 3rd yesterday. How great is that. We can actually run the bases. Now we need to hope that Nyjer gets himself back to what we saw two years ago.

Got to love the spring

Go Nats!

DFL said...

sjm 308, you are exactly correct about Werth. He should bat third, Zimmerman fourth and La Roche/Morse fifth. To H--- with the Right-Left-Right theory.

sjm 308 said...

DFL - completely agree, that lefty/righty stuff is way overrated. I also like that even though its just one game, I think Riggleman actually talked about Morse moving up to 5th in the lineup. Not sure Morse got much love like this last year.

Anonymous said...

It's good for my soul to see game day posts again.

JaneB said...

My soul too, Anon at 10:37! When I saw that Ramos sprint from 1st to third, I yelped. For the past few seasons, I have mostly pretended to see hope for us in Spring. A crossed fingers kind of hope. Now I just feel hope. I feel like we really are coming into our own. Go Nats!

Farid said...

JD said...
Against tough lefties Adam LaRoche should be on the bench; he can't hit them"

Last year, LaRoche batted .264-6-34 against lefties (.264-20-115 over 550 at-bats).

Over his career, he's averaged (again assuming 550 at-bats for comparison) .254-21-98. against lefties.

Last year, Dunn would of hit in those same number of at-bats .199-30-81 against lefties.

One of LaRoche's strong points is his ability to hit against lefties.


Steve M. said...

Following over from the last post on Gaudin, I just watched yesterday's game that I TiVo'd and Craig Stammen looked unprepared again.

In 2 innings of work, 1 run, 3 hits and a walk facing replacements and AAA hitters after Gaudin's 3 innings. He threw way too many pitches and was not hitting his spots. Just not a good first impression while everyone else looked good against the mostly AAA guys left for the rest of the game.

Anonymous said...

What do pitchers who didn't throw yesterday and aren't lined up to pitch today or tomorrow do today? any side throwing sessions?


erocks33 said...

I agree with Farid. I'm not concerned about LaRoche facing off against a LHP.

The one player who should NEVER sniff the batters box against a LHP, though, is Nyjer Morgan. He absolutely reeks. In his career (granted, just 334 PA), he's "hitting" .200 / .292 / .269 with 31 walks (9.3%) and 75 strikeouts (25.9%).

Compare that to Nyjer's career versus RHP:
1069 PA - .308 / .361 / .387 with 68 walks (6.4%) and 138 strikeouts (14.5%). Now, I'd take these numbers as a leadoff guy anytime ...

Steve M. said...

Farid - Nice stats and agreed as LaRoche in his career does reasonably well against LHP and in particular crushes Scott Olsen and very good stats vs Ted Lilly, Cole Hamels and Randy Wolf and several other LH pitchers.

On the other hand, sit him against Jorge De La Rosa, Clayton Kershaw, JA Happ, Barry Zito and Madison Bumgartner.

I think you can't look at a LH batter and just assume you sit him in a LH/LH matchup. I just wish Riggles had looked at some of Dunn's history and sat him a few more times last year in historically bad matchups and ironically Adam Dunn "owns" Clayton Kershaw and of course Mike Bacsik with 3 HRs in 7 at-bats.

BinM said...

I like the idea of RZim in the #4slot; we'll hopefully see how it works.
@MM 11:06:
I'd imagine Wood & Wilkie will likely throw either a bullpen or accelerated camp session today & reset for Thursday / Friday.

Anonymous said...

Season Tickets are scheduled to begin shipping today. Two day shipping.

JD said...

Farid et.al,

OBP against lefties in 2010 was .297 in 182 AB's not 550 as you say ; that's not reasonable; that's atrocious. If you look at his career splits they are extreme; he hits righties well and lefties not so much.

Posting batting averages is essentially meaningless to me; you have to also draw walks. Laroche's walks to K ratio against lefties is .14 against righties it's .34. His HR ratio against lefties is 10% against righties it's 17%.

Anonymous said...

No one even mentions the fact Chris Marerro, with his low numbered jersey, is getting reps at first base with LaRoche nursing a sore shoulder. And he is starting not coming in late ... this 1st round pick is finally on the 40-man and he too now has an opportunity to prove himself.

Anonymous said...

Extreme Makeover - Nats Insider Edition.

Anonymous said...

*Not* liking the new graphical layout.

NatsNut said...

Ick, ick, ick. Not liking this format either. Note to CSN: it wasn't broke.

BinM said...

@anon 12:04 - Marrero is a bat without a position, or as NatsJack referrered to him a day or two ago, "a DH". Yes, he has the opportunity to prove himself, both offensively & defensively. Good luck with that.
The new layout is fine by me - It's just a frame shift from RH to LH side, with a minor font change. Looks good on a 17" monitor.

Anonymous said...

Like the new layout and continue to love the coverage. I know you're full time with Comcast, so I really appreciate this blog. No one covers the Nats better.
--Tom M.

BinM said...

Additionally, no more ads or blind 'pop-ups' - Yea!!

N. Cognito said...

I am blinded by the light.

Ernie said...

We all fear change and I had the same initial reaction to the redesign as others, but I'll get over it. I hated the redesigned Washington Post a few years ago but can't even remember what the old one looked like anymore. Design is funny that way.

Just please keep the links to other blogs. I like seeing what others are posting here before bouncing around to all of them.

The Great Unwashed said...

What, no more Spring Trend Alerts? I just went out and bought a white blazer!

J.P. said...

Don't mind the new concept, didn't mind the old, just glad the good content is still the same.

Was great to see Ramos go from first to third but disagree about Pudge being slower, he has always run well for a catcher. Perhaps a footrace is in order...or Mark could ask Pudge if he could beat Ramos ;)

HabsProf said...

I know everyone is more interested in the game, but hockey writer extraordinaire Michael Farber has a good article about the late Duke Snider. It's worth checking out, especially the last part where Farber's mother meets Duke.


DFL said...

I'm starting to become a believer that Morse is a late bloomer. A generation or two ago, George Foster was a late bloomer. Ryan Ludwick most recently. One worry- was Morse always 230 lbs? Could he be taking something to enhance his power?

Steve M. said...

DFL, Morse is 6'5" and not skinny. I know 5'8" guys with beer guts that weigh more than that so not sure what point you are trying to make.

He was 215 pounds 3 years ago.

phil dunn said...

The new font size and print color make it more difficult to read on an iPad.

Steve M. said...

Great, make Willie Harris look good! LOL You know every base hit or defensive play Willie has against the Nats will make him smile.

phil dunn said...

I hope Nyjer goes 0 for 50 and they send him to Hagerstown. Batting him in the leadoff spot is very damaging.

Doc said...

Same as last year, MarkMeister.

Whenever you go down to the field to take some pictures, the Nats get busy with the lumber. Is it a coincidence--I don't think so.

For the rest of the season, whenever the bats need to get busy, I think that it's imperative that you get down to the playing field. You're a significant part of the offense!

PAY TO PLAY said...

Way to go BRYCE HARPER!!!!!

MGG said...

Not a fan of the redesign (Ow my eyes) but still glad to see the same great coverage.

now as far as the game goes: THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SEE! The nats are hustling and getting it done, doing whatever it takes to win! I'm optimistic every year but I think I feel true hope for a DC sports franchise in a long time!

Feel Wood said...

Looks like the web designers heard our complaints and darkened and increased the text font size a bit. And as for the rest of the redesign, I suppose we should count our blessings that these web design guys weren't involved in the recent Nats uniform redesign.

Steve M. said...

To read that he popped up a bunt is just more of Nyjer being Nyjer.

So the closest Nyjer has come to getting on base is running through the infield to take his place in CF on defense.

Frenchie said...


Livan : 16 pitches = 16 strikes
Detwiler : 13 pitches = 13 strikes

So the 29 first pitches the Mets saw coming from the Nats in the first four innings were all strikes!!!

Frenchie said...

And we could say the same things with Balester.

4 pitches = 4 strikes

So, the only Nats who threw balls was Kimball. He walked a batter. But 8 of the 9 other pitches he threw were strikes.

waddu eye no said...

glad nyjer has at least the sense to stay out of werth's way. and good to hear he caught a ball. now if he can learn not to pop up bunts...

HHover said...

Frenchie - I think you're getting those #s from MLB gameday, and they're not accurate. As Mark noted above, Livan's first pitch was a ball to Jose Reyes.

At his liveblog of the game, Kilgore has Livan's line as 3 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 41 pitches, 23 strikes, and Detwiler as 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 28 pitches, 18 strikes.

Anonymous said...

Frenchie, you do realize that if the batter gets a hit the pitch is counted as a strike, don't you? Not all strikes are good.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Just an FYI, folks: The MLB Gameday updates don't track every pitch in spring training. The "pitch counts" you're seeing are really just the pitches that were put into play or ended an at-bat. Not every pitch today has been a strike.

Frenchie said...

HHover : You were right. I got them from MLB gameday. Thanks for the information.

Anonymous at 3 : 00 : I know that, for sure. At least since the birth of the Montreal Expos...

HHover said...

So Corey Brown comes in to replace the 0-6 Nyjer and promptly gets an RBI single.

T-Plush oughta be T-Worried right now.

SacTown said...

Have to keep reminding myself that it's the Mets so that I don't get too excited. (I mean, it's a team that's thin in pitching, has a star 3rd basemen, no answer at 2nd, and a guy who had no business in CF... or basically your 2009 Nats).

Timjoebob said...

Mark... any update on Corey Brown. I hate to see injuries in Spring Training.

N. Cognito said...

Two games in Spring Training means nothing, but still, it's more fun when they win.

Joe Sommer said...

The Mets are worse than the 2009 Nats, because they have an enormous payroll without much talent to show for it. I do like that Ike Davis kid at first, and Josh Thole at catcher. For sheer cluelessness, the Mets resemble the 2007 Nats. And that's before you reckon with the Wilpons' financial troubles.
(Let's see. The Mets are broke, can't afford to pay Johann Santana for a year of rehab, and won't have much of a team for Santana to pitch for next year. The Nats are flush, and are aiming for 2012, rather than 2011. Is there a trade possibility here? Lombardozzi and Santana's salary for Santana?)

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.

P.S. The darker font on the new decign is a little better than this morning.

MicheleS said...


Any idea if we will see highlights anywhere? Would love to see the kids throw - even though it got dropped.

I am glad they are 2-0 in Spring Training.. Remember how it was last spring when they practically went 0 for camp! That was depressing... at least with this we don't have to hear the talking heads make the dire predictions about the Nats this season - They can do that about the METS!!!!!

Nats fan in NJ said...

Re the website design - the only complaint I had was the font color, and that seems to have been made darker. The rest, I'll get used to. And please keep the other links.

Re the game - When do we see Bernadina in CF, Morse in LF and Nyjer in MiLB?

Anonymous8 said...

Rizzo says Corey Brown has a badly sprained ankle

Anonymous8 said...

Shaky 9th by Storen facing a bunch of AAA guys. Otherwise another good outing by the bullpen!

Anonymous said...

Badly sprained ankle? Isn't that what Morse had that set him back last year?

Tim said...

I think Morse had a pulled muscle last year.

Anonymous said...

I know it is ST. I know it is the Mets and mainly their AAA players but it is good to see Nationals among wins. Least but not last, good to see Morse and Espinosa perform, especially Danny. I am so rooting for him to start season with a bang and win NL ROY.

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