Shifting Gears

Shifting-GearsLike two years ago, I’m not making this call based on a set of cuts or circumstances. It’s just time for me to stop covering the spring training games and wait for the minor-league seasons to begin.

It’s pretty clear from the playing time that Brian Goodwin, Rafael Bautista, and Pedro Severino will be the first position player to be recalled from Syracuse if/when needed.

Yesterday’s loss not withstanding, I’m fairly confident Koda Glover will make the club, though I doubt he’ll be pitching in the 9th inning at the outset.

Conversely, A.J. Cole appears to have pitched himself back to upstate New York, even if the Nats brass finally decides he may be better suited to relief (as I wrote in the player reports before spring training started).

Simply put, there’s just not enough of an excuse to continue writing every day – I’ve gotten back into the rhythm, shaken off the rust, etc. It’s an indulgence anyway for a minor-league site to write this much about the big club anyway.

I’ll be ready to go in a couple weeks, and look forward to Season 8 of covering, lamenting, celebrating, and kvetching about the Washington Nationals’ minor leagues.

Astros Edge Nats, 5-4

Houston took an early 3-0 lead, Washington rallied to tie it at 4-4, but the Astros pushed across a run in the 9th against Koda Glover to take this one, 5-4.

Glover gave up a leadoff double and a one-out single to wear “L.” It was the first run he had given up in seven appearances this spring.

Joe Ross got the start and pitched into the 5th, letting in the first four runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk. He struck out three.

Brian Goodwin got yet another start, this time in CF, and went hitless yet again, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

You can already probably guess the next two watchlist players to appear:
Rafael Bautista pinch-hit for Bryce Harper in the 7th and was 0-for-2.
Pedro Severino pinch-hit for DH Chris Heisey and was also 0-for-2.

The Nats fall below .500 again at 8-9-4 and make a return trip to Jupiter, FL to visit the Marlins. Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to pitch while the game can be heard locally on 1580AM again. Rinse.Lather.Repeat.

Nats Don’t Lose, 5-5

The Nats rallied for four in the 7th to tie, and loaded the bases in the 8th, but couldn’t push across the go-ahead run as they tied the Marlins, 5-5 on Friday afternoon – the fourth tie in 20 spring training games.

It also took Erick Fedde off the hook for the “L,” as Miami shredded him (would that be con-Fedde?) for five runs over an inning and 2/3rds on four hit and three walks. The big blow was an Earl Weaver special off the bat of Marcell Ozuna after a hit by pitch with two out in the 2nd.

Brian Goodwin got the start in RF and went 0-for-2 with a walk. Rafael Bautista, who was optioned along with Austin Adams prior to the game, took over for Goodwin and was 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored.

Pedro Severino was the only other watchlist player to appear in the gam. He struck out and walked in his two plate appearances after he replaced starting catcher Spencer Kieboom.

Washington returns to West Palm Beach to play Houston as the home team at the BotPB this afternoon. Joe Ross is expected to get the start for the Nats. The game will be broadcast locally on 1580AM.

Nats Pull Back Even with 3-1 Win over Mets

Harper Homers Again

Let the comeback-player stories begin as Bryce Harper launched a solo shot in the 1st against Zack Wheeler to get the Nats on the board early in a 3-1 Washington win over New York.

The 24-y.o. former N.L. MVP is 9-for-29 with six HR and nine RBI thus far in 2017 spring training.

Meanwhile, the mercurial Gio Gonzalez walked just one batter over five no-hit innings to lower his spring ERA to 0.75 and get credit for the win. In four outings, the FL native has let in one run on five hits and three walks over 12 innings.

Three watchlist position players got into the game, and they’re the usual suspects:
Pedro Severino got the start behind the plate and went 1-for-3.
Brian Goodwin subbed for Harper in RF on defense in the 7th but did not come to bat.
Rafael Bautista replaced Adam Eaton in CF and doubled in his only AB. He also committed an error, which led to the Mets’ run.

Koda Glover pitched the 9th and struck out two of three batters faced to earn the save.

The win evens up Washington’s ST record at 8-8 with three ties. Erick Fedde is expected to make the start on Friday as the Nats visit the Marlins. The game can be heard on MLB Audio (Miami feed).

Astros Blast Nats, 8-2

A five-run 3rd, lowlighted by a three-run HR, did in A.J. Cole and the Nats for an 8-2 loss.

Cole was also stung for a solo home run in the 1st and was charged with seven runs total during his three and 2/3rds innings pitched. In four outings, he’s given up 15 runs on 16 hits (four HRs) and six walks with four strikeouts over 12⅓ innings.

Three watchlist players came off the bench:
Rafael Bautista struck out while pinch-hitting then replacing Adam Eaton in CF.
Brian Goodwin followed Bryce Harper in RF and led off the 8th with a flyout.
Pedro Severino subbed for C Matt Wietersand whiffed to start the 9th.

The loss drops Washington to 7-8-3 for the spring.

The Nats switch dugouts at the BotPB to host the Mets on Thursday. Gio Gonzalez is scheduled to pitch for the Nats. The game will not be broadcast on TV, radio, or Obama’s wiretap of the Trump Towers.

Nats Tie Again, 3-3

Washington’s subs rallied for three in the 8th to salvage a 3-3 tie in 10 innings against Detroit.

The rally took Stephen Strasburg off the hook, as he had given up two runs on three hits over four innings. He walked none and struck out five.

Koda Glover was the sole watchlist reliever to appear. He worked around a walk in the 9th and struck out one.

No watchlist players were in the starting lineup, and just three appeared off the bench:
Brian Goodwin spelled Jayson Werth in LF and went 1-for-3 with and RBI double and a run scored.
Rafael Bautista pinch-ran for Spencer Kieboom in the 9th but did not score.
Pedro Severino replaced Kieboom as the third catcher and caught the 10th.

Prior to the game, the Nationals announced that Jimmy Cordero (Syracuse), Austin Voth (Syracuse), Matt Skole (Syracuse) and Raudy Read (Harrisburg) had been optioned while Andrew Stevenson and Drew Ward were among six players who had been reassigned to minor-league camp. On Friday, six pitchers were sent to the backfields – all FAs signed over the winter except for Wander Suero.

Tomorrow is the second and final scheduled off day of the 2017 Spring Training.

Ward, Stevenson Combine for Walkoff Win, 5-4

Drew Ward tied the game with a solo shot in the 8th while Andrew Stevenson plated the gamewinner with an opposite-field single in the 9th to give the Nats a 5-4 win over the Astros on Sunday afternoon.

Joe Ross got the start and looked sharp in four scoreless innings, with two hits and a walk allowed and four strikeouts. Bryce Harper homered for the fifth time while Adam Esaton went deep for the first time to lead the ten-hit attack.

Stevenson, who subbed for Eaton in CF in the 7th, finished the day at 1-for-2 as did Ward, who pinch-hit for Anthony Rendon and finished the game at 3B.

Here’s how the rest of the watchlisters fared:
Rafael Bautista took over for Harper in the 7th but popped out to 1B in his only at-bat.
Matt Skole replaced Ryan Zimmerman at 1B and flew out to CF in the 8th for an 0-for-1 game.
Pedro Severino , singled in his second trip to the plate as the second catcher behind the plate (after Matt Wieters, who was 0-for-2 in his Nats debut) and was pinch-run for by Wilmer Difo, who scored on Stevenson’s single.

With the win, Washington returns to .500 at 7-7-2. The Nats remain at “home” with a matchup against the Tigers. Stephen Strasburg is expected to start, with the Nats radio team calling the game on MLB audio and 1580AM.

Nats Stop Winless Streak, Blank Mets, 6-0

A three-run 6th broke open a 1-0 game as the Nats won for the first time in more than a week with a 6-0 shutout of the Mets on Saturday afernoon.

Erick Fedde got the start and did nothing to contradict his status as Washington’s top pitching prospect with three scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and one walk and struck out one.

Austin Voth also impressed in his second outing, fanning three of seven batters faced though he did give up two hits.

Brian Goodwin and Matt Skole were both in the starting lineup at RF and 3B respectively. The OF drove in one with a sac fly and went 1-for-2 overall. The IF was 0-for-2 with a whiff.

Here’s a rundown on the rest of the watchlist players to appear:
Rafael Bautista pinch-hit and took over for CF Michael Taylor in the 7th and connected for an RBI single. He rep;He grounded into in double play to end the 9th to finish 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Andrew Stevenson replaced Chris Heisey in LF after lining out as a pinch-hitter for the second out of the 7th.
Blake Perkins pinch-hit and took over for Goodwin in RF. He reached base on an error in the 7th.
Raudy Read was the second DH but was 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Drew Ward subbed for Skole at 3B and went 0-for-1 with a walk.

The Nats return to BotPB for a rematch against the Astros. Joe Ross is expected to start and the game, which can be seen on MASN and heard on 106.7FM

Cards Deck the Nats, 7-1

St. Louis’s five-run 4th broke open a 1-0 game as they beat the Nats yet again, 7-1. The one Nats run came on a Bryce Harper home run, his fourth of the spring.

Gio Gonzalez was charged with the loss, though he wasn’t ineffective with one run let in on four hits and a walk over three innings.

Trevor Gott didn’t have what it took, as he retired just one of five batters faced and gave up three hits and a walk to the other four. Matt Grace got out of the inning but allowed both inherited runners to score.

Jimmy Cordero and Koda Glover were among the parade of five relievers that followed. Cordero was touched for a run on a triple and two walks in his inning of work while Glover got a popup, groundout, and a flyout in the 9th.

Here’s a rundown of how the watchlist players did:
Pedro Severino started at catcher and went 0-for-1.
Andrew Stevenson subbed for Jayson Weth in LF and was 0-for-2.
Rafael Bautista followed Harper in RF and had the second Washington hit in his first AB; he struck out to end the game in the 9th.
Raudy Read was the third backstop (Spencer Kieboom was the second) and struck out in his lone at-bat.

Erick Fedde is scheduled to take the hill this afternoon against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. The game can heard locally on 106.7FM.

Cole Tosses Four No-Hit Innings in 2-2 Tie

After getting hammered in his first two spring starts, A.J. Cole was nearly perfect yesterday in West Palm Beach, as the Nats and Marlins played to a 2-2 tie.

Cole retired 12 of 13 batters faced, issuing a leadoff walk in the 3rd and striking out two over four no-hit innings – quite the contrast the to the four-run, six-hit beating Miami gave him over three innings a week ago.

Joe Nathan followed Cole and was touched for the two Marlins runs in the 5th. Solo shot by Bryce Harper (6th) and Derek Norris (7th) staved off another Washington loss and masked another poor outing by the Nats bats.

Adam Eaton rounded out the hit column with a leadoff single in the 4th. Trea Turner drew two walks, Anthony Rendon and Zimmerman each walked once to account for the seven (7) baserunners.

Drew Ward was the sole watchlist player to get into the game. He replaced Rendon at 3B and grounded out to first in the 6th and tapped back to the mound in the 8th.

The Nats remain “home” at the BotPB with Gio Gonzalez scheduled to pitch (3 or 4 innings… on purpose). The game can be heard on MLB Audio with the St. Louis feed.