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Nats vs. Tigers — 3/9/10

Mar 9, 2010, 4:00 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Though there was a threat of rain this morning, today's game shouldn't be disrupted.

VIERA, Fla. — The crowd is beginning to file into Space Coast Stadium. The media throng is trying to get the wireless internet to work in the press box. And down in the clubhouse, Stephen Strasburg is making final preparations for the most-hyped two innings in the history of the Grapefruit League.

No, this isn't your ordinary, run-of-the-mill Tuesday in Viera.

Check back throughout the afternoon for updates from Strasburgmania…

TIGERS AT NATIONALS
Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: MASN/MLB Network/WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Cloudy, 71 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Josh Willingham

Read more »

  1. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    I wish I was there. Tell us about the "buzz" later.

  2. Steven J. Berke - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    And the big story today is…Ian Desmond getting the start in RF!!!…Obviously not, but you might spend a couple of minutes explaining the thinking behind it.

  3. markfd - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Looking forward to the updates Mark! Who is pitching following SS?I am excited to see what happens in the 1st two innings, once again Riggleman is putting out a soild lineup behind the starter. I know space Coast Stadium has never seen anything like this, seats that have probably never been occupied will have posteriors in them today.

  4. court - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Desmond's played in the outfield every game he's been in, I believe. The Rigglemonster is auditioning him as an Upton-esque SuperUtility guy. If the organization does not see him as the SS of the future (Espinosa maybe?), then why not? So far he's outplayed Dukes for what it's worth.

  5. Nats fan in NJ - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    I don't think anybody has impressed more than Desmond. If they can get him out there 4 days a week, OF or SS, I say keep him up at the Majors. Then, next year, when Guzman is gone, he's the full time SS.

  6. Dave Nichols - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    it's ludicrous that Desmond is getting so much OF time. if the reason he isn't the starting shortstop is because he still has trouble with some of the throw from short, how's he going to correct that playing OF. poor decision-making by the Nats, IMO.

  7. e - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    the reason Desmond hasn't been getting much time at SS is because Guzman needs to get some time in as well. Guz is coming off an injured shoulder (and don't forget the bunions!) and he needs to prove that he's healthy enough to be there. If he's not, then I'm sure we'll be seeing Desmond in there lickity-split. I, for one, have no problem with moving Desmond around right now. He very well may become our very own Chone Figgins (who moved all over the field his first three years in Anaheim).

  8. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    I would think the first 2 innings would be the real starters in their real positions behind the starter.Reminds me of an Acta move with Lannan on the mound in 2008 and you have LoDuca in LF, FLop at 2nd, and Belliard at 1st.It doesn't give a first-time pitcher 100% confidence when he says the 7 guys behind him playing new positions.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    I cannot express my excitement for the G-triple S-TD!

  10. Jeeves - Mar 9, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    I'm not sure I understand why Demond's defense is such an issue. He has great range, soft hands, and one of the strongest arms in the system. Yes, he throws too many balls away. So did Zimmerman at one point last year. Given the chance, I think, as a shortstop, Desmond could be not only good, but outstanding defensively.

  11. Tigerlily - Mar 9, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Mark, I think Miguel is playing first base for the Tigers though Magglio could use some help once in a while:)

  12. estoppel.08 - Mar 9, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    I've just gotten up at 3 am here in Tokyo!!I am so exited!!

  13. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Three up, three down, three ground balls.He looks a little nervous, but I'm impressed thus far.I'm surprised that the MASN folks didn't bother to tell us how fast he was throwing.I would guss that's an important stat right now.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    So happy to hear that we have a guy who can get groundball outs, instead of 1st pitch HRs like the rest of the guys in camp!!!

  15. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    Gave up two singles in the 2nd off of fastballs, but after going 3-0 to the last better in the inning, came back with two fastballs for strikes and threw an absolutely filthy breaking ball — buckled the guys knees and he was called out looking.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K

  16. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    ESPN blog said in the first inning no fastball dipped under 96 mph, topped out at 98.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    first inning nothing under 96, topped out at 98 according to ESPN twitter

  18. bdrube - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    That's what Charlie and Dave reported on the radio broadcast–all fastballs were 96-98. And the change came in at 81!

  19. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    bdrube: That 81 mph pitch was his breaking ball. Change-up was 91!

  20. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    2IP – 27 pitches 15 strike 2 hits allowed and at least one strike out.

  21. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 9, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Final line was: 2 ip, 2 h, 0 er, 0 bb, 2 k. 27 pitches, 15 strikes. Four groundouts, two strikeouts.

  22. greg - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    i think that changeup is what can make him ungodly. yeah, the heater is hot. the breaking ball is filthy. but when you're dropping 5-10mph and still at 91 with the same motion… having both the breaking ball and the change as high quality pitches to keep guys from sitting fastball. that's the difference.

  23. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    How was the breaking ball traditional Uncle Charlie 12 to 6???He needs to take more off of his change, it is too much like a fastball at 91 MPH, great pitchers (not good ones) have about a 9-10 mph difference between fastball and changeup, if he could slow it down to about 86-88 and keep his breaking ball about 80-81 then he is what we have been waiting for a great pitcher!

  24. Nats fan in NJ - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    As for Desmond – only playing OF because of Guzman. Don't think there is too much concern over his defense, in as much as Guz can't play anywhere else. Unfortunately, for $8M, we can't ship him anywhere either.On a side note, please allow me a few minutes to day dream of Strasburg and Chapman in the same rotation. Ah, pleasant thoughts…

  25. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Breaking ball is a "slurve," breaks down and away from a right-handed hitter, 10 o'clock to 4 o'clock. Looks a lot like Kerry Wood's (not to worry everyone).

  26. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Who IS Brent Dlugach? I'm a Nats and Tigers fan, and NEVER heard of him until this spring, and he seems to be the big bat in each game!

  27. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Oh – LIKE the socks as well!

  28. greg - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    anon, if he's throwing a 98 FB and a 90-91 change, that's enough difference there. from jason stark's twitter: "One scout's instant review of Strasburg: "Makes Porcello look like he's playing catch with his sister.""

  29. Wally - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Re: Desmond – big mistake to divert any time away from learning the SS position. They should not be distracting him with learning anything else while there is even a modicum of hope that he can become a full time, major league SS. Even if they want to trade him, his value is highest if he is an everyday SS, not a super sub.

  30. Positively Half St. - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Tyler Walker-You are supposed to be a good pitcher, whether you play for a playoff team or for the worst team in the majors. Please wake up and do your job.

  31. Joe - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    I disagree with most of the comments here about Ian Desmond. If we're really committed to getting him at bats, and we all know Guzman needs the fielding help too, I see no problem with putting him in RF when it's Kennedy's turn at 2nd. No one knows what Dukes will look like in April, May, and beyond, and I, for one, wouldn't hate seeing Desmond in the outfield if he can prove capable of the task while Guzman and Kennedy are playing the middle infield.

  32. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    The bullpen is a disaster. Get me Joe Beimel's agent on the phone. I'm not kidding, this guy pitched well for us last year and could help us big time. Make the call Rizzo!

  33. HabsProf - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Re: Desmond in the outfield. My question is what do the other outfielders think of this? I'm thinking in particular of guys like Maxwell and Bernardina (sp?). Aren't they supposed to be competing for the fourth outfielder spot? What does someone like Harris think? Isn't he supposed to be the utilityman who gets 300AB a year?

  34. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    Mark, any clue why they wasted a line up spot on Whitesell? He has no chance to make the team. We need to see more of Maxwell/Morse/Bernadina.Sec314

  35. Steve M. - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    A disappointing display by 80% of the team.

  36. JMW4th - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    Tyler Walker is not going to make this team, pitching like that.

  37. PDowdy83 - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    Mark, do you have any thoughts on Aaron Thompson? He has only allowed 2 runners in 4 innings so far this spring, does he look sharp or is it him not facing any really strong hitters?

  38. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 9, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    PDowdy: You know, I honestly haven't been able to watch Thompson much at all. Seems like he's been pitching around the fifth/sixth inning every time, and that's when I'm usually in the clubhouse interviewing the starter. But the little I've seen has looked impressive, and I've heard good things from team execs. He's still pretty inexperienced, never pitched above Class AA, so that leaves him lower on the depth chart. But I would not be surprised at all to see him in the majors sometime late this season.

  39. PDowdy83 - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    I appreciate the response Mark. Definitely looking like he has some potential and should hopefully make some of those people who were unhappy with the Nick Johnson trade last year feel a little better.

  40. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    I think by this time next week we will see some pitchers either releasd from the organization or sent to minor league camp..the bleeding has to stop, especially by Tyler Walker!

  41. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    Another plus about Thompson is that mullet. Seriously.

  42. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    I'd also give Nyjer a gold star for the way he bunts for a hit and for those pop-up slides. (You know who had a really pretty pop-up slide? Jamey Carroll, that's who.)

  43. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    And the more I see of Desmond, the more I like him. He just looks like a gamer, as does Adam Kennedy (but, geez, could you have any more tobacco stains on the uni, dude? ;-))Can you tell I'm a little spun up after watching my first Nats game in ages?

  44. JMW4th - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    Nats are 12th in Baseball Prospectus' Organizational Rankings. that's up from 29th last year.

  45. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    Joe,I think the problem is that the Nationals should be more concerned with getting him changes at SS rather than ABs. Desmond is not a great defensive SS, but has made consistent progress and one would think he is only going to get better by playing more.Plus, while I wouldn't "hate" seeing Desmond in the OF, I wouldn't love it either. He's not exactly the prototypical RFer. I'd rather see the Gnats give some other guys the ABs.Of course, the answer to all of this is that Guzman has no business in the lineup. If you are going to rebuild (or build in the first place), do it.

  46. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    Apologies if this was already stated, but for those who missed it live, MASN is supposed to replay the game at 7 tonight.

  47. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    Well, that was fun. Though I usually root for the Tigers (they have won their share this spring) I was hoping the Nats could pull this one out. I do notice Riggleman leaves the youngins' in to sink or swim. Leyland will pull his to save them loss of complete confidence. I am chalking it up to having to sort through alot more chaff to find the wheat. Didn't care for Dibble and his cohort dumping on Magglio for his power outage last year. Suppose they didn't know his wife was suffering from thyroid cancer. Once, she was on the road to recovery his stats picked up.

  48. Pelric - Mar 9, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    As I suspepcted another coup by Rizzo. Thompson, Strasblerg, now imagine Chapman. You wait JD, Holder, Karns …Pericles

  49. NatsGirl - Mar 10, 2010 at 12:12 AM

    You know what, I don't care how bad the Nats are, how many runs they gave up, or how bad they looked in the field. Make fun all you like, but it was just SO great to come home, turn on MASN and see Nats baseball on TV! Woohoo! It's springtime!

  50. natsfan1a - Mar 10, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    No mocking here, NatsGirl. I was glad to see the team, too, as always.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 76 57 --
ATLANTA 71 64 6.0
MIAMI 65 68 11.0
NEW YORK 63 72 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 61 73 15.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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