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Nats vs. Cardinals (ss) — 3/19/10

Mar 19, 2010, 6:34 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Space Coast Stadium will be packed again tonight for Stephen Strasburg's outing.

VIERA, Fla. — And we're back to baseball at Space Coast Stadium. Following yesterday's off-day and a free morning today, the Nationals return to action this evening against a split-squad group from St. Louis that looks more like a regular squad from Class AAA Memphis.

No Albert Pujols. No Matt Holliday. No Yadier Molina. No Colby Rasmus. No Chris Carpenter. Not even Felipe Lopez. All of those guys stayed back in Jupiter, with all but Holliday in the lineup against the Marlins.

Instead, we get to see the likes of David Freese, Allen Craig and Nick Stavinoha take their cuts against Stephen Strasburg. I have a hunch Strasburg will win that battle, but I suppose we'll see.

Check back here throughout the afternoon and evening for updates, and check back on the home page for non-game-related news…

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: No TV/WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Sunny, 64 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF

RF Willie Harris
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. HabsProf - Mar 19, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Wow! Except for the absence of Morgan in the outfield (and Strasburg, of course), this is potentially our opening day lineup. This should (heavy emphasis on should) be a win.

  2. Ronald - Mar 19, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Mark: What's the real story on Nyjer Morgan? Seems to be something other (or in addition) to a tweaked hamstring.

  3. Natsochist - Mar 19, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Hey Mark, please be sure to let us know how Baby Jesus looks at the plate. This is his first time getting to swing in ST so far, right?

  4. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    @HabsProf If Willy Tavares is our starting LF on Opening Day, I might throw myself off the Key Bridge.

  5. HabsProf - Mar 19, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Yeah, missed that. Thought Willingham was in.

  6. Anonymous - Mar 19, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    Willingham has a stiff neck.

  7. Jeff Wang - Mar 19, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    He looks down the nose at us plebes too.

  8. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    Two HR by guys who will not be in the majors for the Cardinals shows us all that Stephen is not ready for the majors, but I like the 2Ks per inning tonight, don't worry kid, it won't be the 1st or last pair of homers you will give up, although you better help yourself out and get into shape and run it out when you hit the ball.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    On Twitter, you said that Strasburg has a 13-1 Groundout:Flyout ratio, but it is actually 14-1. If you combine that with his marvelous AFL performance of 25-5, that is a combined 39-6 (6.5-1) Groundout:Flyout ratio. To put that into perspective, the leader in the big leagues in that category (Joel Pineiro) had a 1.53 GO:FO ratio. Strasburg's professional career has more than quadrupled that.

  10. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2010 at 12:54 AM

    Souldrummer says-Mark, any take on the chemistry differences between having Pudge catch and Nieves catch. Were there more shakeoffs or trips to the mound? What was the issue with the first pitch? Is it possible Pudge calls for a get me over heater for the first pitch and some AAA guy gets lucky and hits paydirt?If anything the two homeruns may have been misleading, with the 2nd possibly wind aided.On the other hand the willingness to respond to those homeruns by mixing speeds and pounding the strikezone while not giving up fly ball outs is very, very impressive and I agree with you that this may have been his most impressive outing of the spring and not evidence that he'll benefit from minor league batters. Minor league routine, maybe but not minor league batters. If it weren't for contractual issues, I think that he'd be in the majors on the same schedule as Zimmermann was last year. Start out in the minors but take the fifth starter's turn in the rotation.

  11. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 20, 2010 at 1:03 AM

    Souldrummer: I didn't see any shake-offs from Strasburg, but I wasn't watching that close every time, so it's possible he did it once or twice. The two seemed to work together just fine. Lot of offspeed stuff tonight, more than his previous starts.As for the No. 5 starter/Zimmermann idea, that won't work this year. The Nats have only one off-day the first week of the season, and they'll need their No. 5 starter on April 11. Last year, I think Zimmermann's spot didn't come up til April 20.

  12. Spike94wl - Mar 20, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Mark,Are the Nats still toying with the idea of putting Storen on the opening day roster? Seems like a better idea to move him up with Stras to me.

  13. Kim - Mar 20, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    Mr. Z, Appreciate the game commentary. While I don't comment much, I do check your blog every day (at least twice). Hope you haven't regretted your decision to cover S.T. Thanks again.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2010 at 3:02 AM

    Wow once again we hit the ball against minor league talent, aren't we great..UGH! It is going to be a long season.





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