Nats Win One, Tie One In Split-Squad Action

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.

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.

13 thoughts on “Nats Win One, Tie One In Split-Squad Action”

  1. Wang didn’t get roughed up. DeRosa booted an inning-ending double play grounder that would have allowed Wang to escape unscathed. A routine ball that Espinosa or Lombardozzi would have undoubtedly eaten up. DeRosa got the out at first so was not charged with an error.

  2. Any thoughts on a Perez callup at some point this year? I know hes in A ball but so far he looks fast and we need a CF/leadoff hitter

    1. Not likely before September. He is indeed fast, and is MLB-ready on defense, but he needs to show that he can control the strike zone and take some walks. I like what I’ve seen from him so far this spring; looks like he’s put on some muscle. Keep an eye on him at Harrisburg — Rizzo’s shown that he will move guys from AA to AAA to MLB from one April to the next (Espinosa in ’10-’11, Lombardozzi in ’11-’12?)

      1. And my question would be WHY does this lead-off hitter have to be the the CF? Would you put McCutchen at leadoff?

        Both Eury Perez AND Jeff Kobernus should be in AA Harrisburg this year. And last I looked Kobernus stole more bases than Eury Perez. And of course there’s Lombardozzi.

        If the Nats do go ahead and acquire BJ Upton even he may not lead-off as he does have significant power potential.

        IMO what the Nats need offensively more than this ridiculous fixation with lead-off is left handed impact bats. Corey Brown and Brian Goodwin might provide that in CF. Eury Perez and Michael Taylor would not.

        Adam LaRoche is in decline and gone after this year. Bryce Harper may be the Nats best possibility for that left-handed impact bat. But he is all alone. The stats strong imply that they do need more. Especially given their home park favors left-handed hitter.

        1. The fixation has a lot to do with having neither a true CF nor a true leadoff hitter for a sustained period of time. Willie Harris is probably the closest the Nats have had to both. I, for one, would love for people to stop campaigning for a trade for Upton/Bourjos/Flavortheweek and start realizing there only a handful of CFs that are the “complete package,” which is why opposing teams are going to ask for the moon for them.

          That is an interesting observation regarding the handedness of the prospects. There are just six on the watchlist that are lefthanded (Brown, Harper, Goodwin, Ramsey, Peguero, Marmolejos-Diaz) and only three that are “pure” LHs (bat and throw LH – Brown, Goodwin, Diaz). There are six switch-hitters (Lombardozzi, Leon, Nieto, Sanchez, Walters, Bloxom). Everyone else but Randolph Oduber is a righty (the Groovin’ Aruban throws lefthanded, which is pretty rare among non-pitchers).

          1. Everyone else but Randolph Oduber is a righty (the Groovin’ Aruban throws lefthanded, which is pretty rare among non-pitchers).

            Almost sinister? Okay, so I had to throw in the old latin joke for certain parties … ~smiles~ since the latin word for left-handed is also the root word for sinister. I guess not everyone thought guys like Caesar and Alexander the Great were heroes.

            An odd pairing with a good nickname, but the Groovin’ Aruban would have definitely helped his cause if he had become a switch-hitter. Seems like it might be easy for him?

          2. IMO, it was a mistake not to sign Fielder. Looking at him ST I would suspect his physicality had more to do with the fact that ownership (and perhaps the FO) were unwilling to go beyond 6-7 years. Based on what Fielder said he was excited to join the Nats?

            Now, its down to Brown, Goodwin, and Skole in addition to Harper. IMHO, this is not how Mike Rizzo and his FO likes to do things. As we see from the way he has built up pitching and MI depth the FO definitely seems to like hedging their bets by bringing in as many prospects with potential as they can to fill a need. Left-handed impact bats are definitely the huger hole now … now over left-handed pitching.

  3. I agree with you, Luke, assuming I didn’t misunderstand your point. We don’t need the players you mentioned, not at the price. I’d be happy with Werth for a year and see where Perez, Taylor, and Goodwin are a year from now. I have a good feeling about at least one of them coming through. Also like the odds of Hood doing well, but, of course, not as a center fielder. Hey, I wouldn’t even totally discount Brown.

  4. Overpaying for a cf who also has flaws is not good baseball. The Nats can find serviceable cf for this year and maybe next while waiting for someone to develop. Don’t forget that if LaRoche doesn’t come back at 100% then Morse goes to first and there is another outfield spot to fill with someone who can fulfill the other needs in the lineup. It’s probably going to take the first 40 to 50 games to sort out. Plenty of time for Harper to come up , Morse to find a home, Werth to show what this season will be, and someone or more to show they can help by moving up from AAA. i.e.. Lombardozzi, Brown, Rahl, Johson, etc.

    1. The problem with Werth (and why he was the mistake and Zimmerman wasn’t) is the guaranteed length, the huge amount of money, and the no-trade clause. They could have waited to see what Destin Hood et al could do. Instead they went for the right fielder than everyone was clamoring for with Dukes and before him. Perhaps its ownership behaving too much like silly fans?

      Signing Werth was supposed to help bring other top free agents to the team. Perhaps it helped bring in EJax and certainly it did for Lidge. But having no bat permanently wedged in right field? Well you might as well stick Dukes back out there.

      This is why I strongly support Werth in CF. With Werth in CF (which he appears able to handle) you can put two young impact bats in the corners. If Morse were to move to first (for example) they could put both Bryce Harper and Destin Hood in the corners. But, from what I can discern its not what Davey Johnson wants to do. Seems more likely he is holding first base open for Chris Marerro, Tyler Moore, and in a couple of years or so perhaps Matt Skole (if he develops that would fill a gigantic hole for the Nats).

  5. Let’s see how Hood performs at AA before you give him the lf starting job. His 2011 season in High A was good but he did not dominate. He is not as advanced as Harper at this time. Even Harper will be a work in progress this year given his lack of experience. Laroche won’t be here after this year unless Morse regresses badly. Lots of questions to answered by the beginning of summer.

    1. Same goes for Perez, Kobernus, and anyone else on last year’s P-Nats. This year’s Senators should be young and exciting, but the odds are better than even that one or more of them will hit the wall and/or struggle at some point. It’s the nature of the beast.

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