Mar 112012
 

Let’s hope this doesn’t start up again.

The Nats were rained out after four full innings were played in Jupiter, FL. Gio Gonzalez threw four scoreless innings, allowing two hits, no walks, and striking out two. The unofficial pitch count was 51 pitches, per Craig Heist on Twitter.

Both prospects that got the start — Eury Perez and Anthony Rendon — were 0-for-2. Perez led off and played CF while Rendon batted eighth and played 3B. Both players handled their lone defensive chance cleanly.

The two teams are set to meet again tomorrow in Viera, with the Cardinals sending a split squad, but there will be no broadcast.

Mar 102012
 

Today is probably the apex of the spring for us in terms of names in the box scores, courtesy of the two split-squad games. The “regular” Nats took the home game, 8-2 against the Mets, while the “scrubs” played to a 5-5 tie with the Tigers on the road.

As teased on Twitter, the lament of the lack of offense appears to have been a reverse jinx of sorts in Viera, as the starters put up five runs over the first two innings. Adam LaRoche made his “A” game debut at the plate with a first-inning RBI single to plate Ryan Zimmerman, who doubled in two in second.

Chien-Ming Wang got roughed up for two runs on three hits and a walk over his two innings, but the ‘pen locked it down the rest of the way, led by Craig Stammen (3IP, 2H, 0BB, 4K). Atahualpa Severino contributed a scoreless inning, giving up two hits but fanning two.

Tyler Moore and Anthony Rendon connected on back-to-back doubles in the 7th while subbing for LaRoche and Zimmerman. Blake Kelso followed Ian Desmond at shortstop and hit a sacrifice fly, on which leadfooted Sandy Leon was doubled off first. Leon singled twice and scored a run otherwise, catching all nine innings.

Michael Taylor and Randolph Oduber both went 0-for-1 with Taylor drawing a walk in relief of Rick Ankiel and Jayson Werth, respectively.

Meanwhile, in Lakeland, the Nationals and Tigers played to a 10-inning 5-5 tie, with Steve Lombardozzi, Corey Brown, Jhonatan Solano, and Eury Perez getting starts.

John Lannan also got roughed up for two runs over two innings, including a one-out solo shot in the bottom of the first. The relief work here wasn’t as stellar, with Rafael Martin blowing a save in the bottom of the 8th after the Nats took a 5-4 lead in the top of the frame.

Here’s a rundown of how the minor-leaguers fared:

  • Lombardozzi went 0-for-3 while playing 2B
  • Brown went 1-for-4 with a HR while playing RF
  • Solano went 0-for-2 while playing C
  • Perez went 2-for-3 with a BB while playing CF
  • Jeff Kobernus singled and scored a run after pinch-running for Lombardozzi
  • Destin Hood drew a walk and scored but went 0-for-2 with SO, subbing for Bernadina in LF
  • Carlos Rivero went 0-for-2 in relief of Mark Teahen at 3B

In the course of keeping track of the action this afternoon, I was alerted to Andrew Lang’s youtube channel, which I encourage folks to visit.

Mar 102012
 

The Nats offseason was largely spent bolstering the pitching, with the implication that the offense would come later with a healthy Zimmerman, a comeback by Jayson Werth, and the addition of some kid from the minors.

It may be early, but the worry that the hitting won’t support the pitching wasn’t put to rest on Friday night as the Marlins blanked the Nationals, 3-0.

Stephen Strasburg was charged with the loss, giving up two runs in a sloppy third inning that began when he knocked down a grounder by Bryan Petersen and let it slip from his grip for an infield single. Two batters later, Jose Reyes launched a triple to center to plate Peterson and Emilio Bonifacio singled Reyes in for a 2-0 lead. Strasburg next hit Hanley Ramirez but then settled down to retire the next two batters.

Just four Nationals hit safely and no one reached base via the walk. Three of the four hits came from the minor-leaguers as Steve Lombardozzi went 1-for-3, Tyler Moore went 1-for-2 and Corey Brown went 1-for-2. Incumbents Ian Desmond, Roger Bernadina combined to go 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, while backup catcher Jesus Flores was the only other National to hit safely (1-for-2).

Anthony Rendon started at 3B but went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and made a putout and an assist in his four innings of play. Carlos Rivero replaced him and made an assist while going hitless in his one at-bat. Jhonatan Solano was also a defensive replacement and went 0-for-1 in the field.

It’s a busy day today as the Nats split the squad to visit the Tigers while the rest stay home to host the Mets. Lombardozzi, Brown, Solano and Eury Perez are expected to start on the road in Lakeland. Both games are at 1 p.m. can be heard on MLB Audio.

Mar 082012
 

Pitching continues to not be the problem, as the four moundsmen limited the Houston nine to just three hits in an 8-0 shutout this afternoon.

Edwin Jackson led the way with four innings, with two hits allowed and three strikeouts, followed by Ross Detwiler (3IP, 0H, 3K), Ryan Perry (1IP, 1H, 2K) and Henry Rodriguez, who somehow managed to neither walk nor strike out a batter in a 1-2-3 ninth.

On the off chance that today’s solar flares affected your internet service, Bryce Harper was scratched from today’s game with a mild calf strain. He’s expected to miss 2-3 days with the injury.

The injury gave Eury Perez an unexpected start, with which the 21-year-old delivered a 2-for-4 outing with an RBI and a run scored while playing centerfield.

Among the other notable minor-leaguer lines from the boxscore:

  • Steve Lombardozzi started at SS and led off, going 1-for-2 with a walk and leading a 6-4-3 DP
  • Anthony Rendon subbed for Lombardozzi as a pinch-runner and scored twice while going 1-for-2 with an RBI double
  • Tyler Moore also pinch-ran and played 1B again but was hitless in two ABs
  • Carlos Rivero scored a run but went 0-for-1 while subbing for Jayson Werth as the DH
  • Corey Brown doubled to raise his spring average to .429 and played LF
  • Sandy Leon drew a walk in his lone PA while catching the final three innings

Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to get his second start of the spring tomorrow night as the Nats travel to Jupiter, FL to face off against the Miami Marlins. Lombardozzi, Rendon, Perez, and Moore are all expected to start. The game can be heard online via MLB Audio.

Mar 072012
 

A two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth by veteran minor-leaguer Carlos Maldonado ended this afternoon’s game with a 3-3 tie with the St. Louis Cardinals, as the two teams elected to finish after nine due to a lack of pitchers and the possibility of rain.

Jordan Zimmermann was the first of six Nationals pitchers to take the hill, and continued the string of strong spring outings from the starters with three scoreless innings. The 25-year-old allowed three hits and a walk but struck out three.

Matt Purke also made his first official appearance of the spring, but was torched for a game-tying solo HR in his second inning of work. He allowed four hits but walked none and fanned two in the two frames he pitched.

Boxscore lines from the notable minor-leaguers:

  • Steve Lombardozzi got the start at 2B and went 0-for-2 with a putout and an assist before leaving the game in the 6th
  • Carlos Rivero remains hitless after another 0-for-2 outing as the substitute 3B
  • Tyler Moore singled for his first base hit of the spring to lead off the 9th, scoring on Maldonado’s HR, and struck out in his other AB
  • Anthony Rendon filled in again at SS, notching three putouts and turning a double play. At the plate, he struck out twice
  • Corey Brown got the start in RF but went 0-for-3 with a strikeout

The Nats remain in Viera tomorrow afternoon, hosting the Houston Astros in a rematch of last Saturday’s matchup between Edwin Jackson and Livan Hernandez. The Astros broadcast will be available via MLB Audio.

Mar 072012
 

The transaction update from Baseball America has been pretty sparse for the Nationals. For the second straight week, it’s been but one name.

Last week, it was the signing of former Arizona Diamondbacks farmhand Mike Schultz, a 32-year-old RHP that has spent the past four years in Japan as a reliever.

This week, it’s the signing of 29-next-month Jeff Howell, a veteran C that began last season in the independent American Association and finished with the Portland Sea Dogs. Apparently, the August 24 game against Harrisburg left a lasting impression with the front office. ;-)

Finally, as implied in the comments of the previous transaction update… former National Garrett Mock was indeed picked up by another organization, with Boston rolling the dice on the ’04 third-round Arizona draft pick.

Mar 062012
 

Solo HRs by Jayson Werth and Mark DeRosa coupled with solid relief pitching paced the Nats past the Braves for a 5-2 win this afternoon.

Gio Gonzalez turned in three scoreless innings in his spring debut, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out two.

Michael Morse was a lat(e) scratch, which gave Bryce Harper his fourth start in five days. The 19-year-old went 1-for-4 with a strikeout but ran into a double play trying to advance from first to third on a grounder to third.

Running down the notable minor-leaguer lines from the box score:

  • Anthony Rendon got his first hit for the spring, an opposite-field double to right in the 8th inning. He played 3B but had no defensive chances.
  • Eury Perez went 0-for-2 and played CF, registering a putout.
  • Tyler Moore drove in the 5th Nationals run with a sacrifice fly and played error-free at 1B.
  • Sandy Leon went 1-for-2 while subbing in at catcher for Wilson Ramos.
  • Atahualpa Severino started the sixth but gave up a single and a walk before getting a strikeout on former Myrtle Beach Pelican Ernesto “Ole” Mejia.
  • Austin Bibens-Dirkx let in one of the two runners he inherited from Severino before striking out Jason Heyward to end the 6th.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Nats return to Viera to host the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Jordan Zimmermann is scheduled to start for the Nats, while Shelby Miller is slated for the Cards. The game will not be televised or broadcast on radio, home or away.

Mar 052012
 

In a game that featured a lot of hustle, but not much flow, the Nats made just a few more plays than the Mets for a 3-1 win tonight.

The two teams combined for eight stolen base attempts, multiple hit-and-run plays, and players trying to extend singles into doubles. Despite all the running, just four runs crossed the plate.

John Lannan got the start and turned in a workmanlike effort of one run allowed on three hits and a walk over three innings with a single strikeout. Four relievers followed, with Craig Stammen getting the win on Mark Teahen’s sacrifice fly that broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth.

Bryce Harper reached base three times with single up the middle, a full-count walk, and an infield hit to third. On defense, he was much more conservative, keeping his feet beneath him while playing error-free in right field.

Steve Lombardozzi went 1-for-3 on offense, and looked sharp on defense, turning an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the first to kill an early New York rally. He finished with three assists in four innings.

Other notable minor-leaguer lines:

  • Eury Perez pinch-ran and scored the second run of the game, then doubled in his only at-bat
  • Carlos Rivero went 0-for-2 and left two runners on
  • Tyler Moore went 0-for-1 but played solid defense at first
  • Corey Brown went 1-for-1 but committed the cardinal sin of making the final out of an inning at 3B
  • Jhonatan Solano drove in the 3rd Nats run with a 7th-inning groundout but caught just one of four Mets that ran on him
  • Anthony Rendon struck out and drew a walk as PH for the DH to remain hitless in spring training
  • Zach Walters also struck out in his AB, but snared a grounder up the middle for one the game’s best plays on defense

Gio Gonzalez makes his spring debut tomorrow afternoon as the Nats head to the House of the Mouse (Lake Buena Vista) to take on the Atlanta Braves, with the prospects (including Harper) coming off the bench.

Mar 042012
 

The Astros lit up Tom Gorzelanny with a pair of three-run HRs as Houston sent the Nationals to their second loss in Grapefruit League play by a 10-2 count.

Gorzelanny was charged with seven earned runs while retiring three batters over the third and fourth innings, letting in an inherited run, hitting a batter, and walking four in the 11 batters he faced. Stephen Strasburg took the loss with two runs allowed on three hits, including a solo HR in the third.

For the second consecutive game, the Nats outhit their opponent (10-8) but were slightly better in the clutch, going 3-for-11 with nine men left on base.

Bryce Harper came off the bench for this one, going 1-for-2 with a an infield single and a strikeout (looking).

Anthony Rendon saw his first action at shortstop, subbing in for Ian Desmond, who committed two errors in three defensive chances. Rendon made an assist on the first and only ball hit to him. He went 0-for-2 at the plate.

Other notable minor-leaguer lines from the box score:

  • Corey Brown pinch-ran, scored a run, and went 1-for-2 with a single to center. He played LF and made four putouts
  • Eury Perez went 1-for-2 with a single (liner to left-center) and had no defensive chances while playing CF
  • Tyler Moore got sawed off and popped to short while pinch-hitting for DH Michael Morse

The loss drops the Nats to 0-2 in the Grapefruit League. They visit Port St. Lucie tomorrow night to take on the N.Y. Mets, with the game televised on the MLB Network and broadcast on WJFK 106.7 FM and its affiliates. John Lannan is slated to start the game for the Nationals, opposed by Dillon Gee for the Mets.

Mar 032012
 

The Nationals PR staff touted the 8-5 margin in the “H” column, but the Astros took the “R” column by a 3-1 count in the 2012 Grapefruit League opener.

Like yesterday, just one National was successful with a man on second or third, as Jesus Flores followed Roger Bernadina’s leadoff double with one of his own for the single run scored (by pinch-runner Corey Brown). Washington went 1-for-7 with RISP and left six men on for the game.

Edwin Jackson got the start and walked two in his two innings of work, including the first runner of the game, but was unscathed as the infield turned a 4-6-3 DP in each inning. Ross Detwiler followed him and took the loss on a two-run HR in the fourth. Atahualpa Severino gave up the third Houston run in the seventh, surrendering a leadoff triple and hitting a batter, but working around a Carlos Rivero error and inducing the third twin-killing to escape a 1st-and-3rd one-out jam.

Boxscore lines from the minor-leaguers:

  • Bryce Harper went 1-for-3, singling off former National Livan Hernandez
  • Tyler Moore struck out in two ABs
  • Steve Lombardozzi went 0-for-1, but helped turn the third DP
  • Anthony Rendon went 0-for-2 as the substitute DH
  • Rivero went 0-for-2 and played 3B
  • Jhonatan Solano went 0-for-1 and recorded three putouts, but was unsuccessful trying to throw out a runner in the 7th

Tomorrow, the two teams switch venues as the Nationals play host in Viera. The game will be televised live on MASN at 1:05 p.m.