Plenty To Love From The “Scrubs” In 6-4 Nats Win

With a starting lineup of just two Washington Nationals bench players, the Nationals reserves were still on the money in a 6-4 win over the Mets on Monday night.

Gio Gonzalez made his spring debut, laying a couple of goose eggs on the bottom of the scoreboard despite a walk and a pair of errors in the first. The Mets could not capitalize on the miscues by Zach Walters and Steve Lombardozzi (though the throw from infielder-in-the-outfield Carlos Rivero was less than stellar) while the Florida-born southpaw struggled with his fastball command.

Instead, Gonzalez went to his bread-and-butter bender to deny Ike Davis a chance to plate either of the two runners he had in scoring position with one out. He struck out two more in the 1-2-3 second frame. He finished with three K’s and no walks, but just 19 of his 35 pitches went for strikes.

Leadoff man Eury Perez keyed the three-run third with second of his three “leg” hits, beating out a chopper to the right side and gliding home on Washington utilityman Steve Lombardozzi’s bloop double to left. After a Corey Brown single sent Lombardozzi to third, Tyler Moore (the second “Big Nat”) delivered the second Nats run with a safety to center. Rivero capped the scoring with a double to left to drive in Brown.

Ross Ohlendorf was the first man out of the ‘pen and set down the first four batters he faced, including a nifty throw after coming off the mound to field a tapper to third. Alas, he was not so fortunate with the next batter (Davis) who turned a fastball into a souvenir for the fans in the outfield berm of Tradition field.

Nathan Karns, looking noticeably slimmer and clean-shaven, impressed with two shutout innings after Ohlendorf. The Nats 2012 Minor-League Pitcher of the Year lived up the title by showing off mid-90s heat and topping out at 97 mph, which ironically, was laced into right by Wright. Karns struck out three over two innings, including a nasty hook to Den Dekker to end the 5th.

Dekker would have his revenge in the 7th as he robbed Anthony Rendon of a home run at the CF wall. The Nats still got one in the inning to extend their lead to 5-1, thanks to a two-out RBI double by Destin Hood.

The Mets would pull within one at 5-4 in the bottom of the 8th as lefty Pat McCoy was roughed up for three runs on three hits, but the Nats got it right back in the top of the 9th on four straight singles by Michael Taylor, Will Rhymes, Rendon, and Adrian Sanchez. Ryan Mattheus closed out the game with a scoreless 9th, allowing a hit and striking out two.

The Nats “scrubs” totaled 17 hits, with the top two spots accounting for six of them as Perez went 3-for-3, Lombardozzi 2-for-3 and substitutes Michael Taylor and Rhymes went 1-for-2 and 2-for-2 respectively. Chris Snyder was the sole starter to go hitless.

It’s back to day play today as the Nats face the Atlanta Braves in Orlando at 1:05 p.m. The game can be heard locally on 1580AM.

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.

12 thoughts on “Plenty To Love From The “Scrubs” In 6-4 Nats Win”

  1. Two questions about Brian Goodwin, please.

    1. We see Martinson, McCoy, Karns, others at roughly AA level, but haven’t seen anything of Goodwin in spring training games.
    Any reason for that that you know of?

    2. We heard that Goodwin was asked to work on his bunting in the AFL, but every time I saw him, he was swinging for the fences (and often connecting). Do you think he has “issues”
    with bunting and learning to bunt?

    For those of us who don’t do Facebook and Twitter, it is nice to be able to reach you by simple e-mail.

    1. 1. None that I’m aware of, but it’s never terribly wise to speculate as to why Prospect X appeared vs. Prospect Y

      2. Likewise, I haven’t heard anything to that effect. I know he had some “attitude problems” in college, but it was my understanding that they were off-the-field, and I don’t want to start speculating about that unless I’m told something offline from folks I trust (and even then, I’m hesitant).

  2. Karns looked very good last night. I was very pleased that he actually got to pitch against some of the Mets regulars as well. It isn’t often that a guy gets to pitch to David Wright and Ike Davis in the 6th inning of an early spring training game.

    1. Minor-league camp starts tomorrow or Thursday, IIRC, but between the extra week and the WBC, I’m sure we’ll see some more of these LOOGYs soon enough.

  3. If karns keeps pitching like that and gets sent back to the minors it will be a tragedy! I will take him as my 4th or 5thstarter starter right now!

    1. Over who? Detwiler or Haren? Karns has yet to pitch above A ball, and still has a long way to go. If he tears up AA and gets promoted to AAA this year he might have a shot to COMPETE for spot with the big club next spring. More likely, assuming continued development, he’d start 2014 as the No. 6 option at AAA. And that is if all goes well and he doesn’t get hurt again.

  4. Offensively Eury looked as EFFECTIVE as I’ve ever seen him, albeit the sample size is small. He won’t win batting titles, he won’t wow with power, but I think he understands his role, and is really excelling at it (and accelerating!). Get on base, leg ’em out, and scare the pitcher while on first. Apart from more everyday experience at Harrisburg or Syracuse (“seasoning”) he’s about as ready as I believe he will be. Although I don’t know much about his defense, I’ve not heard many knocks about it, and the stats seem to suggest he projects at least average in the majors. I wouldn’t be surprise if Eury sees some a lot more time in DC this year. I really think he could make the Nats think about letting Span go after 2014 is over. (Then you have to wonder about Goodwin & Hood too). Not a bad problem to have.

    1. A question that was raised on another site is Can we afford to trade Bernadina to the Yanks and survive with Perez and Corey Brown? (Also what do the Yanks have that we need?). I feel Bernadina would jump at the chance to play every day, even if it’s only for a couple of months.

  5. Good to see Karns’ outing, but it is ST, and as mentioned, he has yet to pitch above POT. Hopefully he can keep up his momentum and get to SYR by season’s end. He must be licking his chops seeing his fellow 09 draftees Storen and Stras up in DC.

    FWIW, I’m listening to today’s game vs ATL on TV iPhone app while sitting in line waiting to be de-iced at O’Hare. Best $19.99 I’ve spent in a long time.

  6. My prediction if karns tears up double A he will skip triple A and be in majors mid season! In my day you went from aa two majors and then fell back to triple a if you were not ready.

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