Nats Back On Track With 5-2 Win

Nats win third straight to go over .500

Jordan Zimmermann rebounded from his poor showing against the Cardinals with a strong outing against the Tigers as the Nationals won 5-2 last night.

Zimmermann went five shutout innings, allowed five hits and walk while striking out six. Brian Broderick, who appears to be closer to making the club after the optioning of Craig Stammen yesterday, continued his spring dominance with another scoreless inning with just a hit and no walks allowed.

Todd Coffey’s poor outing represented both of Detroit’s runs, both scored in the bottom of the ninth on a leadoff single, double, and two groundouts. Could it lead to the Nats releasing him? Probably not, but I’d love to wrong on that one. Not because I have a disdain for Coffey but because it could walk the talk about the Nats releasing a MLB-ready player this year.

Despite the predicted-here-two-weeks-ago announcement that Henry Rodriguez will start the season on the DL, Collin Balester’s remaining option looms as more cuts are expected today and tomorrow.

Danny Espinosa got the start yesterday but went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. This is something to watch because Espinosa is prone to both cold streaks and strikeouts. One has to worry if Riggleman will have the patience to ride them out.

Wilson Ramos came off the bench and singled in his only at-bat to raise his spring average to .289. Yesterday’s decision to option Jesus Flores now turns most folks’ attention to how Ivan Rodriguez fares, knowing he’s got not one, but two MLB-ready catchers ready to take his place. We, on the other hand, wonder which of these two will still be around if/when Derek Norris is ready.

With the win, the Nationals are now 13-12 in Grapefruit League play with the final MASN broadcast tonight at 6:05 p.m. against the Cardinals.

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

21 thoughts on “Nats Back On Track With 5-2 Win”

  1. I agree with your take on Coffey.

    It would be a grave injustice to send Balester to Syracuse. It’s time we acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice our home bred talent has done instead of wringing the last drop of effort out of a borderline veteran.

    Broderick HAS to stay and Balester has proven his ability far beyond Coffey.

    1. I very agree with both of you.

      Could this be an ego thing, where the F.O. just can’t admit a mistake and have a lesser roster because of it.

    2. An assist goes to peric, a.k.a. periculum elsewhere, specifically for pointing towards that angle, and other frequent commenters in general. I know there’s been a lot of majors talk but I assure you that my focus shifts to the minors. I don’t much like watching the ST Games until the reserves are in — to recycle a Twitter joke, being a prospects guys is kind of like being a sidekick: There’s not much interest until the real players are off the field (*rimshot!*)

  2. While Brodrick’s numbers are impressive, we need to step back and remind ourselves that they are spring training numbers; teams have never seen him before and do not have a scouting report nor should we expect opposing players to spend their time trying to figure out how a Rule 5 pick, they might face once, is going to pitch them. Certainly he has proven he can pitch, but it does not prove that he can be effective when the games count and opponents start dissecting him.

    In addition, maybe I’ve missed it, but I have not seen any reports saying that he has extraordinary “stuff” (fastball @ 90?); probably decreasing the likely hood of his immediate success in the majors.

    Therefore, it seems that there is a pretty good case to send him to the majors to see if he can get it done. If not, you send him back to the Cards and bring in Balester. If he’s legit, you ship out Coffey and bring up Balester. Either way Balester is on the big club in a month.

    Now what to do with H-Rod, when he’s healthy…

    1. I think our enthusiasm for Broderick is in part because we’d like to see a Rule 5 pick stick and validate the reputation Rizzo has as a scouting-oriented GM. Your criticisms are valid, but they apply to any rookie in ST. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s a lot like Derek Lowe at the same age.

      1. Hate to say it, but two words: Jesse English.

        Blew doors in spring training last year, made the club, and after 7 appearences, demoted, and cut (just latched on somewhere else like a day ago). Just like Steven Shell the year before, who only lasted 4 appearences.

        Broderick being Rule 5, may get a little further leeway, let’s say 10 appearences!

      2. Sue, if that’s true, that a terrific compliment for a Rule 5 guy.

        Also, after reading these 8 posts I’m in seamhead heaven! All intelligent analysis and no recreational whining 🙂

      3. Thanks for the assist!

        I didn’t know a lot about Broderick and thought he might be just another right handed Milone and Rosenbaum. My understanding is (and would love to see that verified) is that his sinker goes between 92-94! That kind of sinker is Chien-Ming Wang at his height!

        The problem is don’t they really need to have Broderick starting with that kind of stuff? And not working in long relief? He needs to be in Syracuse starting perhaps to achieve that? Perhaps he’s ready now? I don’t understand all the hype surrounding Gaudin when you see what Broderick can do? Why not give him a shot?

  3. Sue… I wish you hadn’t mentioned the poster who’s name starts with “P”… however, on the front office ego thing i offer this.

    Mike Rizzo is a quick learner and let’s keep in mind that he is learning his trade on the fly. He was quick to rectify his first mistake last season (Brian Bruney) and I expect (and hope) that he will rectify his second (Coffey). Yes, he’s hung on to Morgan way too long for me but he’s going to pull that trigger real soon. If Coffey remains on the 25 man roster, I will lean towards the ego thing but if he jettison’s him, people will need to drop that particular accusation.

    1. It’s been a hypothesis in the past that a “Bowden pick” is more likely get axed than a “Rizzo pick” at the lower levels (it’s certainly true at the MLB level, though that’s a less damning accusation) but I’ve seen that progression with a lot of GMs. In my post last week, for example, Theo Epstein admitted that he gave in to fan/media pressure and made a mistake when he traded for Byun Hyun Kim (though he shrewdly dumped a malcontent in the process).

    2. NatsJack,

      My problem (as BinM pointed out) is an unswerving desire to see the young players get a chance before the “known to Riggleman veterans”. I like it when the younger guys are used because this team is still rebuilding in spite of all the talk about “Phase I” and “Phase II”. Heck I’ve read a number of blogs both locally and that follow other teams that basically say the same thing that I’ve been saying about the Nats … and believe me the ‘outsiders’ are far more brutally honest. Given the situation why not play the young players and see what they can do over guys like Coffey, Ankiel, Hairston, and most especially Stairs?

      You don’t start the season with Livan Hernandez as your #1 starter if you want to improve on a last place finish. And to follow with Jason Marquis? Its a catastrophe waiting to happen. Ankiel in CF!? Platooning with Hairston? That’s a travesty!

      I’m the one who was watching Chiefs baseball and noticed Michael Morse and JD Martin. Dude, I’m the one who got slammed for rooting for odd AAAA players. So, helll yeah I would take Milone and Rosenbaum over Lannan. And part of that is because Lannan might return a decent prospect or two in a trade at this stage in his career. I think Tatusko could help turn the tide on the dearth of power pitchers … but I also realize there’s a big maybe in that. I still see Yuniesky Maya contributing just as I see Gorzelanny doing the job for the Nats … at least until the All Star break … after that is usually when things begin to unravel. But I doubt they will be as bad

      1. And yes NatsJack, I still think there is a strong possibility we might see Corey Brown in CF for the Nats this season … probably after the All Star break. Why not? Instead of wringing the last drop of effort out of a borderline veteran.

        He was a pretty highly ranked prospect with the A’s. He’s not Trout … but you just never know?

        And Harper may end up being just as much of a question mark?

  4. Crunch time for Nats’ roster grows near….

    My hope for OD pitching staff:
    RSP Livo
    RSP Zimm
    LSP Lannan
    RSP Marquis
    LSP Gorz

    RRP Broderick
    RRP Storen
    LRP Slaten
    LRP Burnett
    RRP Ballester
    RRP Clippard
    RRP Gaudin

    If front office decides Broderick is a keeper, but needs developmental IP, Nats should give strong consideration to trade w/STL and send him to SYR. Doing that would clear way for Rodriguez or Ramirez or Coffey to stick.

    Tougher decisions ahead once E Ramirez and H Rodriguez ‘get healthy’. My guess is that due to visa & injury issues, E Ramirez heads back to NYM. Too bad, because I was really looking forward to seeing what he has. If Rodriguez gets healthy and IF he pitches worthy of a 25 man spot, Storen or Bally would seem to be headed to SYR, probably Bally although I’d love to see him stick with Nats.

    Just heard that MIL is interested in N Morgan…..that’s interesting and would clear things up in OF. Would love to see Morse – Ankiel – Werth with Bernadina coming off the bench.

    1. RSP Hernandez
      RSP Zimmermann
      LSP Lannan
      RSP Marquis
      LSP/LRP Gorzelanny

      LSP/LRP Detwiler
      RSP/RRP Broderick

      RRP Storen
      LRP Slaten
      LRP Burnett
      RRP Balester
      RRP Clippard
      RRP Gaudin

      I am guessing they keep 13. You just can’t start the season and give your fan base
      any hope of a decent to winning season with Livan Hernandez and Jason Marquis #1, #2 pitchers. Its asking for catastrophe especially with Ankiel/Hairston now in center field to exacerbate it.

      Still believe one or both of Marquis and Lannan are traded (along with Ivan Rodriguez and Alberto Gonzalez) and Nyjer gets released.

      Could end up with the Marlins.

  5. Sue – a little off topic…
    excellent use of the term “walk the talk”… most people, in ignorance, still say “walk the walk and talk the talk”, which makes no sense. Drives me batty! So, thank you!

  6. Baluster was terrific late last season and he’s been great this spring. He also has good stuff. It would be a slap in the face to send him down in favor of a mediocre pitcher like Coffey.

  7. Given the optioning of Maya, I’ll concede that the Nationals starting five boils down to Livo, Lannan, Marquis, JZimm, & Gorzelanny, in one order or another. Detwiler is all but gone as well, headed for SYR to stretch out further as a SP, with Strasburg & Wang to the 60-DL initially.

    For the OD bullpen, I’ve got Gaudin, Clippard, Slaten, Balester, Broderick & Burnett, with Coffey & Storen in a final-day decision for the last spot. Rodriguez & Ramirez will likely both go to the 15-DL to start the year. The addition of Gaudin will cost someone like Mock, or Stammen their 40-man spot.

  8. The addition of Gaudin will cost someone like Mock, or Stammen their 40-man spot.

    My guess would be Attie (Atahualpo) Severino. So you remember last year when Rizzo brought him up Riggleman wouldn’t even give the guy a shot to pitch … where he brought in Bisensius and Balester? I thought that odd but I don’t think Riggleman will ever use the kid. Might as well let him find a new home.

    1. One thing to keep in mind, Severino is left-handed. Stammen, although I like him as a player, might be running out of time with the Nationals; Mock is just a right-handed knucklehead, imo.

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