Nats Stop Slide, 8-5 over Mets; First Cuts Announced

The Mets posted a picket fence in the middle innings but the Nats knocked it down with a four-run 5th en route to an 8-5 victory that stopped a three-game losing streak.

Stephen Strasburg made his second outing but was strafed for two runs on three hits and two walks over three and 1/3rd innings. He did, however, strike out five and hit 99 on the (more than likely juiced) stadium gun while throwing 63 pitches, 39 for strikes. Austin Adams came on to stop the bleeding as he got the last two outs in the 4th, issuing a walk, fanning one, and stranding one.

Jose Marmolejos was the only Watchlist player to get the start, as he played 1B but went 0-for-3 with two whiffs.

Here’s how the Watchlist players did yesterday:
   ●   Victor Robles took over CF from Brian Goodwin and drove in two with an 8th-inning single. He was 1-for-2 overall.
   ●   Kelvin Gutierrez subbed for Anthony Rendon at 3B and reached base twice with a single in the 7th and a walk in the 8th.
   ●   Andrew Stevenson followed Bryce Harper in RF and scored in the 8th on Robles’s single after drawing a walk.
   ●   Pedro Severino was the second catcher after Miguel Montero and grounded out in the 8th.
   ●   Wander Suero threw two pitches in the 8th and was removed due to “left side tightness”

Prior to the game, Washington announced Austin Voth had been optioned to Syracuse while Osvaldo Abreu, Jimmy Cordero, Brady Dragmire, David Goforth, Taylor Gushue, Roman Mendez and Cesar Vargas were reassigned to minor-league camp. Today is the first of two scheduled off days in Florida (a third is the day before an exhibition against the Twins on March 27th).

Tomorrow, the Nats play the Astros yet again as the road team in West Palm Beach. Gio Gonzalez is expected to pitch while the game will be broadcast locally on WJFK 106.7FM and (*sigh*) 1580AM after the start of the Caps game.

Nats Drop Third Straight, 4-3

The Nats put 15 baserunners on but cashed in just three as they were edged by the Cards, 4-3.

Two double plays and just one hit in ten RISP opportunities led to ten runners left on while St. Louis scored four from its nine baserunners, overcoming a 2-1 deficit in the middle innings and breaking a 3-3 tie in the 8th.

Max Scherzer got the start and walked one and gave up one hit—a second-inning solo HR—over four innings for the no-decision. Brandon Kintzler coughed up two in the 7th for the blown save, Sammy Solis gave up one in the 8th for the loss.

Two Watchlist players were in the starting lineup. Victor Robles went 1-for-3 with an RBI as the CF while Kelvin Gutierrez was 0-for-3 at 3B.

   ●   Juan Soto took over RF from Moises Sierra and went 0-for-1 with a walk.
   ●   Jose Marmolejos pinch-hit for DH Bryce Harper and grounded into a double play in the 9th.
   ●   Rafael Bautista subbed for Robles in CF and slid over to LF when Daniel Johnson came into the game. He was 0-for-2 with two K’s.
   ●   Johnson played CF and flew out to LF in the 8th.
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu followed Matt Reynolds at 2B and drew a walk in his lone PA.

The Nats return to West Palm Beach to host the Mets today. Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his second spring outing. The game will not be broadcast.

This is the last game before the first of two scheduled off days in Florida. The first cuts should be coming soon, perhaps as soon as this afternoon.

Astros Blast Nats, 10-5

Houston scored in three of the first four innings to build a 5-0 lead, then piled on four more in the 8th to put the game away, 10-5.

Two No. 5 starters appeared for Washington, but only one was anywhere near effective.

A.J. Cole started and retired back-to-back hitters twice in three innings, giving up the first three Astros runs on five hits (including a HR) and no walks over three innings. He struck out four.

After reliever David Goforth dug the Nats deeper with a two-run 4th, Erick Fedde stranded a leadoff double in the 5th but was taken deep for a homer run with in the 6th. He would finish the inning and the outing with the one run let in, three hits total, no walks, and two whiffs.

Andrew Stevenson (CF) and Jose Marmolejos (DH) were the only Watchlist players in the starting lineup. Marmolejos got the scoring started with a two-run homer in the 5th while Stevenson bunted his way on to lead off the 6th and scored on Adrian Sanchez’s two-run single in the 6th that brought the Nats within one at 6-5.

Tim Collins made, um, short work of the Astros in the 7th, but Roman Mendez couldn’t find the strike zone in the 8th and issued three walks en route to the aforementioned four runs.

Just three other Watchlist players appeared:
   ●   Kelvin Gutierrez pinch-ran for 3B Anthony Rendon in the 5th but struck out in the 6th and 9th innings.
   ●   Taylor Gushue subbed for Matt Wieters at C and flew out in the 7th.
   ●   Blake Perkins replaced Stevenson in CF and struck out to end the 7th.

The loss drops Washington to .500 at 6-6-1.

Max Schrezer is scheduled to pitch today for the Nationals as they visit the Cardinals. The game can be heard on MLB Audio (St. Louis feed).

Nats Win Streak Stopped by Cards, 2-1

Tanner Roark decked the Cards for four scoreless innings, but St. Louis tagged Joaquin Benoit for both runs for a 2-1 win over Washington. The loss stopped the Nats’ win streak at five.

Roark allowed just one hit and struck out three. Benoit gave up both Cards runs on three hits in just a single inning pitched.

Victor Robles (0-2) got the start in CF, as did Andrew Stevenson (1-2, R, HR, RBI) in LF, and Jose Marmolejos (0-3, 2K) as the DH.

The two Austins – Voth and Adams – both pitched a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts.

Here’s how the rest of the Watchlist players did:
   ●   Kelvin Guiterrez took over 3B from Adrian Sanchez and flew out to LF for the first out in the 7th.
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu was the second 2B and drew a walk in the 7th.
   ●   Daniel Johnson subbed for Moises Sierra in RF and grounded out to third for the second out in the 8th.
   ●   Blake Perkins followed Robles in CF and rolled one to SS for the first out in the 9th.
   ●   Taylor Gushue struck out while pinch-hitting for Marmolejos in the 9th to end the game.

For those of you playing hooky, the game today will be broadcast on MASN at 1 p.m. and repeated tonight at 7 p.m. You can put the TV on mute and tune in to 106.7 FM at 1 p.m. A.J. Cole is schedule to pitch as the Nationals “host” the Astros (again).

Nats Sweep Split-Squad Games on Sunday

Defeat Tigers, 6-2; Mets, 7-3

After a slow start, the Nats extended their win streak to five with a pair of wins on Sunday – 6-2 over the Tigers, 7-3 over the Mets.

Washington 6 Detroit 2
Gio Gonzalez was less than stellar (3IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 1K) but the ‘pen threw six shutout innings while the offense pounded out six runs on nine hits and five walks.

Here’s how the Watchlist players performed:
   ●   Victor Robles started in CF but went 0-for-3 with two K’s.
   ●   Andrew Stevenson started in LF and was 0-for-3 with one whiff and an OF assist.
   ●   Wander Suero struck out the side while working around a hit in the 8th.
   ●   Juan Soto subbed for Bryce Harper in RF but was 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
   ●   Drew Ward followed Anthony Rendon at 3B and was 0-for-1.
   ●   Taylor Gushue took over behind the plate for Matt Wieters and fanned in his lone PA.
   ●   Carter Kieboom doubled in his only AB as the pinch-hitter for DH Miguel Montero.
   ●   Blake Perkins was the second CF and grounded out for the second out in the 8th.

Nationals 7 Mets 3
The Nats put this one away early as they knocked Steven Matz from the box with a five-run 1st and cruised to a 7-3 win over the Mets. Edwin Jackson was serviceable, allowing a run on a home run and two hits total with no walks and three strikeouts over three innings.

Likewise, another summary of the Watchlist players’ production:
   ●   Kelvin Gutierrez started at 3B and went 1-for-2 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
   ●   Pedro Severino started at C and was 2-for-3 with a two RBI and a run scored.
   ●   Rafael Bautista started in RF and went 1-for-3 with RBI single.
   ●   Luis Garcia singled in the 9th as the second 2B after Wilmer Difo.
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu subbed for Trea Turner at SS but went hitless in two at-bats.
   ●   Jose Marmolejos tooke over 1B from Chris Dominguez and whiffed in his only AB.
   ●   Daniel Johnson followed Bautista in RF and drew a walk, but got picked off first base.
   ●   Yasel Antuna struck out while pinch-hitting for starting DH Spencer Kieboom
   ●   Jefry Rodriguez retired the side in order for a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

The Nats send just a single squad (well, some of them are married, but you know what I mean) to Jupiter, FL to visit the Cardinals on Monday. Tanner Roark is expected to make his third start.

Nats Win Again, 8-1

The defending champs looked more like chumps in the 5th as they issued five walks, hit a batter, and committed an error to turn a 1-0 lead into a 7-1 deficit as the Nats took their third straight, 8-1.

Stephen Strasburg gave up the lone Houston run on three hits over two innings and struck out two in his 2018 spring debut. The win went to Brad Kintztler, who also fanned two in his first Grapefruit League outing.

Jose Marmolejos (1-3, R, RBI), Andrew Stevenson (1-3, K), Kelvin Gutierrez (1-2, R, BB, 2RBI), and Rafael Bautista (0-2, R, BB) each reached base while starting the game at 1B, LF, 3B, and RF respectively.

Youth was served with 18-y.o. Yasel Antuna pinch-hitting for DH Bryce Harper and 20-y.o.’s Carter Kieboom and Victor Robles subbing for SS Reid Brignac and CF Brian Goodwin, but the trio combined to go 0-for-5.

“Veteran” minor-leaguer (OK, fine he’s 23 but this is 7th season) Osvaldo Abreu was the only other Watchlist player to appear, taking over 2B from Wilmer Difo and flew out in his lone plate appearance.

Tomorrow is the first of two split-squad games in 2018 Spring training, with one half remaining home to host the Tigers, and the rest going back to Port St. Lucie to take on the Mets. The Nats radio team will broadcast the Detroit-Washington game while the Nats-Mets game can be seen on and heard on MLB Audio (away team feed on both).

Scherzer Strikes Out Click Bait, Nats Win Second Straight, 2-1

The Nats won their second straight yesterday against the Mets, 2-1, powered by three perfect innings by Max Scherzer and highlighted by a Victor Robles solo HR.

Scherzer dominated a split-squad New York contingent, including a three-pitch strikeout of a 30-y.o. minor-leaguer that took 40 seconds of game time, and infinitely more for the dilettantes to dissect. He struck out five total and needed just 41 pitches (27 strikes) to retire the nine batters he faced for the “W.”

Erick Fedde took over for Scherzer in the 4th and worked around a pair of two-out singles. He set the side down in order in the 5th for two scoreless innings and the hold. Tim Collins, Roman Mendez, and Wander Suero each added perfect frame. Journeyman Chris Smith gave up a solo HR in the 9th to lose the shutout but “earn” the save.

Andrew Stevenson was the sole watchlist player to start the game, and went 1-for-2 with a double (and a was caught trying to steal third) while Robles took his spot in the lineup in the 7th and led off with a solo shot to give the Nats a 2-0 cushion. He also finished 1-for-2.

Here’s how the rest of Watchlist batters fared:
   ●   Rafael Bautista subbed for Stevenson in LF and flied out to end the 7th.
   ●   Taylor Gushue pinch-hit for Ryan Zimmerman but was 0-for-2 as the second DH.
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu replaced Howie Kendrick at 2B and grounded out to end the 8th.
   ●   Jose Marmolejos subbed for Chris Dominguez at 1B and went 0-for-2.
   ●   Kelvin Gutierrez took over 3B from Matt Reynolds and flew out to LF in his only AB.

The Nats go for the winning streak with their co-tenants at the “No Free Advertising” Ballpark of the Palm Beaches as the visiting team. Steven Strasburg is expected to start along with Marmolejos (1B), Gutierrez (3B), Stevenson (LF), and Bautista (RF). Carter Kieboom is also expected to come off the bench as well as some guy named Robles.

Nats Bats Come to Life, 6-2 over the Braves

The Nats dug out of a 2-0 hole with a four-run 5th and a two-run 6th to win their second 2018 Grapefruit League game, 6-2 over the Braves.

A.J. Cole made his first start of the spring and turned in two scoreless innings, though he had runners in scoring position in both frames – giving up a walk and a single with two outs in the 1st and a one-out double in the 2nd.

Austin Voth was the first man out of the ‘pen, but was not as sharp as he was on Sunday. He was torched for both Atlanta runs on four hits in just a single inning, including back-to-back-to-back singles with one out. He walked none and struck out one.

Jose “Orange” Marmolejos, one of five Watchlist players in the starting lineup, got the line moving with leadoff double and scored three batters later on Kelvin Gutierrez (1-3, 2RBI “single.” Following a Reid Brignac walk, Spencer Kieboom drove in two with a single while Brian Goodwin capped off the binge with a RBI groundout to plate Brignac.

In the 6th, Victor Robles singled with one out and Marmolejos walked. Andrew Stevenson cashed ’em in with a two-out, two-run double to complete Washington’s scoring on the day.

Enny Romero was awarded the “W” while Bryan Harper was credited with a hold. Austin Adams struck out two while pitching a scoreless 7th.

Here’s a rundown of how the Watchlist batters fared:
   ●   Robles started in CF and went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
   ●   Marmolejos started at 1B and scored twice while going 1-for-2 with a walk.
   ●   Pedro Severino started at C and scored once while going 0-for-2.
   ●   Stevenson started in LF and was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI.
   ●   Gutierrez started at 3B and was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
   ●   Taylor Gushue followed Severino at catcher and lined out in his only AB.
   ●   Rafael Bautista subbed for Robles in CF and reached on a throwing error in his sole PA.
   ●   Daniel Johnson took over in RF for Goodwin and struck out in the 8th.
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu pinch-ran and played for 2B Brignac and lined out in the 9th.

The Nats head to Port St. Lucie with Max Scherzer making his second start of the spring. There is no TV or radio broadcast today.

Nats Unable to Overcome Errors, Lose Again, 3-1

Three errors rendered all three Marlins runs unearned in a 3-1 win over the Nationals.

Tanner Roark retired the side in the 1st and worked around a leadoff Robles HBP with a double play before giving up a two-out double. Back-to-back errors by Anthony Rendon extended the inning and led to two unearned runs.

Roark would suffer the loss and needed 43 pitches to get through the two innings.

Victor Robles and Jose Marmolejos got the start in place of Bryce Harper (ingrown toenail) and Ryan Zimmerman (“soreness”) in right field and first base, respectively. The two combined to go 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Here’s how the Watchlist players did:
   ●   Kelvin Gutierrez pinch-hit for the starting DH (Wilmer Difo) and walked, singled, and scored the only Nats run.
   ●   Andrew Stevenson subbed for Robles in RF and went 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout.
   ●   Rafael Bautista followed Michael Taylor in CF and was 1-for-2 with a whiff.
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu took over 2B from Howie Kendrick but was hitless in two AB’s.
   ●   Jefry Rodriguez walked two and struck out one while pitching a scoreless 6th.

Gutierrez’s and Bautista’s singles were the first hit of the spring for both players. Robles and Marmolejos are tied with Moises Alou for the most hits this spring with four (4).

The Nats return to the House of Mouse to take on the Bra ves (split squad). A.J. Cole is scheduled to pitch. The game can be heard on MLB Audio, Atlanta feed.

Nats and Marlins Tie, 2-2

The Nats got single runs in the 4th and 6th to build a 2-0 lead but gave them back in the 8th and couldn’t score in their final two trips to the plate for a 2-2 kiss-your-sister tie.

Gio Gonzalez tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut, allowing a hit and a walk while fanning two. Matt Grace blew the save with two runs (one earned) let in on three hits in the 8th.

The Watchlist players all came off the bench or out of the bullpen:
   ●   Osvaldo Abreu subbed for Trea Turner at SS and lined out to end the 7th.
   ●   Jose Marmolejos replaced Bryce Harper in RF and singled once in two trips to the plate.
   ●   Kelvin Gutierrez followed Anthony Rendon at 3B but went 0-for-2.
   ●   Rafael Bautista took over CF from Michael Taylor but was also 0-for-2.
   ●   Wander Suero pitched around a hit and a walk in the 9th but did not allow the go-ahead run to score in his single inning pitched.

Once again, the two teams switch venues with Tanner Roark, who had been reported to pitch yesterday, expect to make his second start. The game can be heard (again) on MLB Audio with Marlins’ feed. (Get used to it: the next radio broadcast isn’t until Sunday).