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.

Cards Triple Up Nats, 9-3

St. Louis went to town on Stephen Strasburg with four in the 1st and two in the 2nd and cruised to a 9-3 win over Washington.

Strasburg retired just six of 14 batters faced while giving up a walk and seven hits, which did not include a home run. [Insert obligatory remark about pitching from the stretch, reminder that it’s spring training here.]

Matt Skole, Brian Goodwin, and Pedro Severino were among the starters at 3B, RF, and C, respectively. Skole singled and walked in two PA’s. Goodwin struck out twice and grounded into a double play to lower his spring BA to .059 while Severino singled twice to push his mark to .571.

Here’s a rundown on how the rest of the watchlist players did:
Rhett Wiseman subbed for Adam Lind in LF and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Rafael Bautista followed Michael Taylor in CF and singled in his lone AB.
Andrew Stevenson replaced Goodwin in RF and grounded out to end the 8th.
Raudy Read was the second catcher and whiffed to lead off the 7th.

The loss drops the Nats below .500 at 5-6 for the spring. They return to BotPB today to host the Marlins with A.J. Cole expected to make the start. The game can be heard on MLB Audio (Miami feed).

BoSox Beat Nats, 5-3

A three-run 4th proved to be the difference in this one as Boston beat Washington, 5-3 Tuesday afternoon.

Joe Ross was lit up twice with back-to-back one-out homers in the top of the 1st by Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez before issuing a walk. He settled down to retire six straight before giving up a two-out safety to Betts, who was thrown out stealing to end the 3rd.

Just three watchlist players were used.

Drew Ward pinch-ran for Annthony Rendon in the bottom of the 6th and drew a bases-loaded walk in the 7th.

Brian Goodwin subbed for Chris Heisey in the top of the 6th, walked to lead off the 7th, scored on Ward’s BB, and lined into a unassisted DP at 1B to end the 8th.

Koda Glover struck out the side in the 6th – the second time he’s done that this spring.

The loss drops the Nats to 5-5 on the spring. Stephen Strasburg is expected to make the start today against St. Louis in Jupiter, FL.

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As noted in the comments, Nick Lee’s injury has been revealed as a non-displaced elbow fracture while John Lannan has been signed to minor-league deal, apparently to convert him to a submarine reliever.

Twins Double Up Nats, 4-2

Tanner Roark threw four strong innings early, but the Nats gave up four runs late to drop their fourth game, 4-2 to the Twins.

Roark, who will pitch for the United States in the WBC, allowed just two hits, no walks, and struck out three.

The loss went to Sammy Solis as the 28-y.o. southpaw served up three runs on three hits in the 8th, including a two-run HR. he walked one and struck out two.

Brian Goodwin got another start in LF, but struck out in his only at-bat. With tomorrow being a day off, manager Dusty Baker subbed early and often to make life difficult for the scorekeeper sure as many players got in as possible.

Here’s how the rest of the watchlist players did:
Rafael Bautista was the third RF after Bryce Harper and Chris Heisey and went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Matt Skole spelled Anthony Rendon at 3B and grounded out in his sole at-bat.
Drew Ward followed Skole and was 0-for-2 with a whiff.
Pedro Severino was the third catcher after Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton and had an RBI single in the 7th.
Raudy Read replaced Severino behind the plate but did not bat.
Andrew Stevenson followed Goodwin in LF and rolled one to end the 5th before he was replaced by Brandon Snyder.

The Nats resume play on Tuesday against the Red Sox. It will be broadcast live on MASN only (no radio).

Nats, Cards Play to 1-1 Tie

A 9th inning HR off Nick Lee took away a possible 1-0 win from the Nats, but the longtime Nats farmhand may have suffered another serious elbow injury as he left the game one pitch later.

Taylor Hill put on the game-winning run on with a one-out walk but got a popup and a grounder to prevent the loss.

The Nats mustered just three hits and one walk for the game. They were 0-for-4 with RIP and left on five baserunners.

Washington’s lone run scored in the 3rd as Wilmer Difo led off with a single, took third on an errant pickoff attempt, and scored on a ground out to short stop.

Gio Gonzalez made his second spring start and allowed just two baserunners over three scoreless innings. Brian Goodwin and Pedro Severino were both starters and both went 0-for-2.

Here’s a rundown on how the watchlist players did:
Jimmy Cordero struck out two in the 6th without allowing a baserunner.
Osvaldo Abreu replaced Difo at SS and flew out to RF in his sole at-bat.
Matt Skole took over at 3B from Corban Joseph and went 0-for-1 with a walk.
Andrew Stevenson subbed from Brandon Snyder in RF and singled in two trips to the plate to raise his spring average to .375.
Rafael Bautista followed Michael Taylor in CF and rolled into a 4-6-3 DP to erase Stevenson.
Raudy Read was the second catcher and grounded out to third to end the 7th.
Victor Robles flew out to CF and was not hit by a pitch. He played RF on defense, with Stevenson sliding over to LF.

The Nats return home to host the Twins at BotPB on Sunday afternoon. The game can be heard locally on 106.7FM.

Nats Split with Cards, Marlins

The visitors were the victors in both Nationals games yesterday, as the home Nats lost, 2-1 in 10 innings while the road Nats won, 8-5.

At the BotPB, Stephen Strasburg made his first spring start and tossed two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out three. Journeyman Vance Worley gave the first St. Louis run in the 3rd while Derek Eitel let in the gamewinner in the 10th to take the loss. In between, Oliver Perez, Neil Cotts, Matt Grace, and Enny Romero combined for four perfect innings of relief.

Pedro Severino and Brian Goodwin both were in the starting lineup at home, with the catcher going 1-for-2 with a single and the outfielder walking twice in two PA’s.

Here’s a rundown of how the watchlist players fared in West Palm Beach:
Raudy Read pinch-hit for DH Jayson Werth and grounded out in his only at-bat.
Drew Ward replaced Anthony Rendon at 3B and went 1-for-2 with a single.
Matt Skole followed Ryan Zimmerman at 1B and was hitless in two tripe to the plate.
Jakson Reetz was the third catcher of the game and struck out in the 9th. In the 10th, he completed a strike-’em-out-throw-’em-out DP as St. Louis’s Alberto Rosario committed the, um, cardinal sin of baserunning by making the third out at third.
Blake Perkins subbed for Michael Taylor in CF and went 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout and was also caught stealing.
Telmito Agustin took over for Goodwin in LF but was 0-for-2

In Jupiter, A.J. Cole made his second spring start was got lit up again – four runs on six hits, including another home run, and one no walk and zero strikeouts over three innings.

Austin Voth was the winning pitcher with two scoreless innings pitcher and two whiffs while Koda Glover struck out the side in the 7th while working around a single to earn a hold. Erick Fedde closed out the game with an unearned run given up on two hits over two innings.

Osvaldo Abreu got the start at SS and played the whole game, going 1-for-5 with an RBI. Andrew Stevenson also started (RF) and was 1-for-2.

Here’s how the watchlisters did coming off the bench:
Ian Sagdal played 1B after Adam Lind and was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
Victor Robles took over in LF for Clint Robinson. Shockingly, he was hit by a pitch and scored while finishing the game at 0-for-1.
Kelvin Gutierrez subbed for Barndon Snyder at 3B and had was 2-for-2 with an RBI but also committed an error.
Rafael Bautista replace Stevenson in RF and went 1-for-3

After the first full week of play, the Nats are 5-3. They play the Cardinals again this afternoon, but this time on the road at Roger Dean stadium. The game can be heard over the air locally on WJFK 1580AM and on MLB Audio (both home and away), and seen (St. Louis feed).

Nats Take Third Straight, 13-1

The Washington regulars jumped on Houston starter—and former Nats farmhand—Brad Peacock for four in the 1st and cruised to a 13-1 demolition for their third straight spring win, smacking three HRs (Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon) and collecting 18 hits total.

The Syracuse auditions continued with another eight relievers combining for the nine innings of one-run ball, beginning with Kyle McGowin (a.k.a. the other guy the Nats got from the Angels), who tossed two scoreless innings and gave up three hits and no walks or whiffs. Sammy Solis, Shawn Kelley, and Blake Treinen each put up a goose egg as in their spring debuts.

Rafael Martin lost the shutout in the 9th with a solo HR allowed and a LaLoosh-like line of two walks and three strikeouts.

Just two watchlist players saw game action. [Insert off-color, off-the-field innuendo here]:
• Rafael Bautista subbed for CF Adam Eaton and played right field. He went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
• Andrew Stevenson replaced LF Clint Robinson in left field but was hitless in two at-bats.

Tomorrow is the first of two scheduled split squad days. One contingent will host the Cardinals while the other will visit the Marlins. Both games can be heard on MLB Audio with the away feeds.

Nats Pummel Tigers, 9-1

Raudy Read and Drew Ward smacked back-to-back two-out jacks to cap off a four-run 6th as the Nats pummeled the Tigers, 9-1 for their third spring win in five games.

Joe Ross got the start and tossed two scoreless innings, a feat matched by the law firm of first two relievers, Taylor Hill and Jacob Turner. Braulio Lara ballooned his spring ERA to 21.60 with a run coughed up in the 8th to lose the shutout.

Here’s a rundown of how the watchlist position players did:

• Brian Goodwin (LF) and Matt Skole (3B) both started and both drew a walk but neither collected a hit.
• Andrew Stevenson was Goodwin’s replacement in LF and went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, but also whiffed twice.
• Rafael Bautista spelled Michael Taylor in CF but was 0-for-3.
• Ward, who subbed for Skole, struck out in his second AB.
• Read, who followed Jhonatan Solano at catcher, walked in his second PA.
• Victor Robles made his spring debut as the replacement in RF for Brandon Snyder but was hitless in two at-bats.
• Osvaldo Abreu singled in two at-bats as the second DH behind Spencer Kieboom.

The Nats return “home” but will be the visiting team when they play the Astros on Thursday. It can heard on MLB Radio and (Houston broadcasts).

Taylor Walks off Nats, 4-3 in ST Home Opener

H/T, Courtesy of @PowerBoater69

Michael Taylor, a favorite here during his meteoric rise from High-A to MLB in 2013-2014, gave the fans at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches a thrill as he drilled a two-out solo HR in the bottom of the 9th for a 4-3 walkoff over the Houston Astros.

Jeremy Guthrie got the GCL start with two scoreless innings pitched. He led a parade of eight relievers over nine innings, including watchlister Koda Glover, who struck out one and walked none in a single inning of work.

Derek Norris also homered as the Nationals broke into double digits in the hit column again with ten hits for the second time in as many games.

Rafael Bautista, Andrew Stevenson, and Brian Goodwin were the only watchlist position players to appear in the game. Bautista subbed for Adam Eaton in CF and went hitless in two AB’s. Goodwin replaced Adam Lind in LF and struck out twice in two PA’s. Steven pinch-ran for Jose Lobaton but did not score a run.

The win evened up the Nats at 2-2 for the spring. They’re back on the road on Wednesday to face the Tigers in Lakeland before rematching with Houston as the visiting team on Thursday.

Nats Cough Up Four in the 8th, Lose 5-4

This time, the Nats gave up four runs late rather than early to turn a 4-1 lead into a 5-4 defeat in Game 3 of 2017 Spring Training.

Tanner Roark got the start and dealt three scoreless innings to the Cards, with no walks and two hits allowed while striking out four.

The Nats scored single runs in the 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 8th innings while collecting 10 hits on the afternoon. They left on just seven runners while going 2-for-6 with RISP.

Here’s a rundown on how the watchlist players did:
• Rafael Bautista followed Bryce Harper in RF and went 0-for-2 with a groundout and a strikeout
• Drew Ward subbed for Anthony Rendon at 3B and grounded out in his sole at-bat in the 7th
• Matt Skole was the second 1B and rolled a 4-3 grounder to lead off the 8th
• Andrew Stevenson raised his spring BA to .429 with a pair of singles and stole a base as the replacement for Adam Eaton in CF
• Raudy Read drew a walk and popped out to second while spelling Jhonatan Solano at catcher. He did not allow a passed ball.

The Nats play their first home spring training game tomorrow, which will be broadcast live on MASN and WJFK (1580AM) at 1 p.m. and rebroadcast at 7 p.m. on MASN tomorrow night.