A seven-run 9th fattened some meaningless spring training stats, but wasn’t enough to overcome the earlier mistakes as the Nats lost 16-10 to the Cards yesterday afternoon.
Jordan Zimmermann was lit up for eight runs on nine hits and two weeks, the bulk of the damage coming in a six-run 3rd inning. The proverbial “dead arm” was cited for his troubles.
More concerning, however, was the beating that Nathan Karns took two innings later. While just one of the seven runs he allowed were earned — thanks to an error by Anthony Rendon to the first batter he faced. In the space of eight batters Karns walked two, gave up a pair of singles, a double, and was lifted after a grand slam to journeyman Shane Robinson. He struck out one and got a flyball out.
As noted on Twitter, Karns’s command was noticeably amiss, with pitches sailing up in the zone. He fell behind nearly every batter, enabling them to sit on the get-it-over fastball, which was a bit slower than usual (low-90s/high-80s, when you consider that Zimmermann had similar readings on the MASN telecast and was reportedly hitting 92-94).
After the game, beat writers Nathan Fenno and Dan Kolko reported that Karns had been battling tightness in his right (push-off) leg and will be seeking further medical attention. Coincidentally (or ironically, if you believe in curses), Byron Kerr’s feature story yesterday was on the health of the 25-year-old Texan.
Back to the debacle in Viera… after falling behind 16-3, the Nats struck seven times on six hits in the final frame. Left fielder Micah Owings (1-3, R, RBI) and shortstop Zach Walters (1-3, R, 2RBI) both homered while first baseman Chris Marrero (1-3, R, 2K) had an RBI double and DH Matt Skole (1-1, R, BB) drove in two with a single.
A rundown of the notable minor-leaguers:
• RF Carlos Rivero 0-2, K
• CF Corey Brown 1-3, R
• C Jhonatan Solano 2-3, R
• 3B Anthony Rendon 0-2, R, HBP
• RHP Cole Kimball ⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• LHP Pat McCoy 2IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, K
The Nats stay on the Space Coast for another tilt today against the Marlins. There is no broadcast, home or away.