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Nats vs. Cardinals – 3/25/11

Mar 25, 2011, 8:00 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Tom Gorzelanny faces the Cardinals' "A" lineup tonight at Space Coast Stadium.

VIERA, Fla. — Tom Gorzelanny has essentially locked up the fifth starter's job, so his standing probably isn't going to change based on how he pitches tonight. Still, the Nationals would like to see the lefty have some success against a Cardinals lineup full of regulars.

Tony LaRussa brought his "A" team with him to Viera, including Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Jim Riggleman counters with Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, but a lot of backups as well.

Nyjer Morgan leads off for the second straight night and is in center field. There's every reason to believe at this point that Rick Ankiel will be out there on Opening Day, but until something is officially done, Morgan will continue to get opportunities to state his case.

MASN has the broadcast with Bob and F.P., and Charlie and Dave also have the call on the radio. So settle in for a Friday night of some spring training baseball…

CARDINALS at NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 6:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM)
Weather: Sunny, 77 degrees, Wind 7 mph LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
C Wilson Ramos

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  1. Tcostant - Mar 25, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Ramos batting cleanup, that is just odd.

  2. Anonymous - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    I guess we don't we have an "A" team

  3. Harper_ROY_2012 - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    I forsee Ramos hitting higher in the order maybe not 4th but maybe 6th in the next couple years.

  4. Rob Dibble's Ghost - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Why is it that with less than one week until the season begins, our lineup only has two likely opening day starters (Zimmerman and Werth, plus maybe Ramos) in it?

  5. phil dunn - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    And the Cardinals are playing their first string. Riggleman never makes any sense.

  6. Sec314 - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Is anyone else having trouble getting an audio signal via the MLB site?

  7. Anonymous - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    When the Nationals hire a real manager, I will get bullish on this team

  8. David - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Most of our starters have gotten a lot of AB's. I think this is a good time to NOT show the Cardinals our every day lineup. We've played them so much already, we don't want them getting too familiar with our lineup.

  9. Wally - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Anyone else think the MASN radar gun is off? Lohse jumped between 88-93 with no visible difference that I can see. Gorzy hasn't broken 86, yet seems to be throwing harder. I know looks can be deceiving but this looks off.Mark or anyone at the game, is there a gun at the stadium and if yes, are these readings consistent?

  10. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Unfortunately, the radar gun here at the stadium is not turned on, and we don't have monitors in the press box showing the MASN broadcast. So I really have no idea what these guys are throwing.

  11. Wally - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    By the way, on the lineup, I don't mind not playing all the regulars if Riggs feels like they have had enough to get ready for the season. But Cora at 1b? Why not use whoever the back up guy is to give him some field reps. Morse, Stairs, even Ankiel? That, I don't get.

  12. Mr. Doggett - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    Considering the conversation from a couple days ago…about what it says about your organization if Gorz is guaranteed a spot in the rotation, yada yada yada…I think it's hilarious that F.P. just referred to Gorz as possibly the best 5th starter in baseball."Sadly, this remains the state of the Nationals organization. When Livan Hernandez is your Opening Day starter and Tom Gorzelanny is guaranteed a spot in the rotation regardless of how he performs in spring training, you're left scrounging the trash heap."

  13. Wally - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    The guy has pitched extremely well tonight (and I think FP was referring to a scout's comment about the 5th starter thing). what puzzles me is that the gun was showing him at 84 virtually all night, where I just don't think someone can be effective. Maybe his delivery creates deception that makes him look faster, but judging by what I was watching and how hitters reacted, I would have put him low 90's. If this is who he is, i take it all year long.This is the first MASN game I have watched, and my reaction to the broadcast team is not good. They just don't seem to have anything in common. It is like my Uncle Charlie sitting next to a college sophomore at a dinner. The young kid doesn't want to say anything to offend Uncle Charlie, and really just wants the dinner to end so he can meet up with his friends. And Uncle Charlie is justrambling through whatever topics amuse him, since he has reached that point in life where he doesn't feel the need to do anything that he really doesn't want to do.

  14. Mr. Doggett - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    hahahahahahahaha Wally that is SPOT ON!

  15. Mr. Doggett - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Here is the conflict though…Bob has always been solid. Not my favorite ever, but solid. I wouldn't want to just replace him with some random donk broadcaster. But I really like the newness that F.P. brings to the table. He's not rallying as if he's part of the team (Dibble) and he just sounds like he's being himself, which I like. So they are both good, but just don't go together. That conversation with Uncle Charlie? AWKWARD!!!!!

  16. Wally - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    Riggs had to dip down to Boomer Whiting to find someone who could actually get down a sacrifice bunt. It looked like Alberto Gonzalez just kind of said no, I would rather hit away with 2 strikes, so I'll just fake it. Whiting (who literally looked like a high school kid who won a promotion to appear in a Nats spring training game) did a great job. And FP made me smile with his description of Whiting before the at bat.

  17. Wally - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    Mr. D, I kind of agree with you. I can handle Carp in the right circumstances. And FP takes a little adjustment following after Dibble. He is so much more understated compared to Dibble's outspokenness, but seems to have some good observations if you listen for it. I liked the way he went after Gonzalez by saying 'you are sent up to bunt and you get an 88mph fastball down the middle of the plate, you have to get that done'. It was said in such an understated way that it took me a moment to realize that he was calling him out, which was spot on.But whoever thought the two fit together, well ….

  18. Andrew - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    That is why you need Roger Bernadina on your 25 man roster. What a Web Gem in the 8th!

  19. Andrew - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    7:57 p.m. — Wow, what a catch by Roger Bernadina to save the tying run from scoring in the top of the eighth. Compete full-extension, all-out dive to snag a sinking liner and preserve the Nats' 3-2 lead. Is this guy really not going to make the team? I know he's got options, but there's a lot of stuff he can do to help the Nats on a nightly basis, even if he's coming off the bench. Is this guy really not going to make the team?Well said Mark. Stairs and Nix over Bernadina? Rizzo said more athletic and you can put Bernadina at the top of that list!

  20. Mr. Doggett - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    Bernadina is a great guy to root for. He has to be one of the best pure athletes on the roster. That's gotta count for something…

  21. Wally - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    Great effort by Storen

  22. Anonymous8 - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:14 AM

    Storen? OK, let's give him props. He has solidified his spot on the rotation which puts Coffey, Balester, and Broderick on the ropes.

  23. Anonymous - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    NO, pray for Zimmermann and Gorzelanny to keep building on what they've started this spring and become the #1, #2 starters for this team. Its the only desperate hope for a .500 season barring another critical trade.Bernadina over Stairs and Nix absolutely. Over Ankiel? Hell yeah, why not use the homegrown talent Riggleman? WTF Ankiel can't hit his way out of a paper bag, Stairs can't run anymore … Nix is really the only interesting guy in that mix. And honestly, Alberto Gonzalez should be on this team as well. Not Hairston or Cora.

  24. Mark'd - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    Bernadina reads the papers and has to have seen the rumors of his demise and he saved the game and had the game winning RBI and Storen has gone from horrible to good.Nice win!

  25. Tim - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:42 AM

    Mark,It would seem that Nyger is shooting his mouth off about being on the trading block and not fitting in in DC. That's a story MLB.com has running.It's hard for me to believe that Ankiel will be the starting CF. Bernie has done the best of the three and still gets no respect. I don't understand.Lil help?

  26. Anonymous8 - Mar 26, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    If Bernadina doesn't read the papers I am sure his agent and friends and family does. It has to suck reading that your next locker will be in Syracuse.If your starting outfield is Werth, Morse, and Ankiel and your choice for backups is Hairston, Nix, Stairs or Bernadina I have to take Bernadina just based on defense and athleticism and Hairston for all the flexibility he gives you. I still probably take Nix next over an extra infielder as Hairston can also play infield.

  27. Anonymous8 - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110325&content_id=17116370&notebook_id=17116368&vkey=notebook_was&c_id=wasIn Ladson's article he wrote this: The Nationals were hoping that he would play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but Morgan declined.I wasn't aware that Nyjer declined Winter Ball. Its a shame and this quote is sad when a player says this: I just think this place isn't for me.

  28. BinM - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    Great performance from what looked like an "away game" lineup tonight. Gorzelanny pretty much locked his spot on the 25-man roster tonight, and Storen took another step forward. Morgan, Bernadina, & Ankiel look like they're going to push the CF/4th OF decision to the last day, regardless of what the pundits (& fans) are saying; Rizzo & Riggleman will have the final call. The same could be said for AGonz, Cora, & Bixler for the bench IF spots. There are some hard choices to be made in the next 5-6 days.

  29. Anonymous - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Morgan, Bernadina, & Ankiel look like they're going to push the CF/4th OF decision to the last day, regardless of what the pundits (& fans) are saying; Rizzo & Riggleman will have the final call. The same could be said for AGonz, Cora, & Bixler for the bench IF spots. There are some hard choices to be made in the next 5-6 days.Yes, certainly the "home grown" talent of Bernadina and Gonzalez continue to shine? Why not give them dibs? Do they really need a Stairs who can't run or field over Nix? They aren't going to win the division are they?As for the pitching I still expect Coffey to be released. Riggleman has finally defined his "committee of closers" to be Sean Burnett and Drew Storen. With Clippard, Balester, Gaudin, and Broderick on the right side and Slaten on the left there doesn't seem to be space for another right hander who appears to be in far worst athletic shape than any other pitcher? Just saying that was one of the criteria Rizzo stressed in the preseason. And he clearly lost in the competition. It surely is time for Riggleman/Rizzo to "walk the talk".

  30. Theophilus - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    W/out investing a lot of effort in analyzing all of his stats, Bixler's minor league record seems to say he's not a defensive whiz. Bat is nice, however, which makes him a good call up if they stash him at Syracuse.

  31. Theophilus - Mar 26, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Morgan certainly seems to be trying to talk his way out of town. "I just think this isn't the place for me" hardly speaks for accountability (which doesn't make him unique among professional athletes). And it isn't going to make Rizzo and/or Riggleman all teary-eyed when it comes time to spring the trap door. I still can't think of a player who has turned off a whole city so quickly, and in fact turned a significant part of the fan base against the team because they've stuck with him this far. Accepting some of the responsibility — several months ago — and showing a little gratitude to his employers and teammates could have allowed him to focus on competing for his job/position (e.g., by playing winter ball) instead of acting like he was the one being punked. So he played semi-decently tonight. After that act, who cares?

  32. Anonymous - Mar 26, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Apparently our "B" team is better than the Cards' "A" team. And our manager (per Zuckerman) is better than LaRussa. Just wanted to make that point for all of the people who won't after their critique of Riggleman and tonight's lineup.

  33. Anonymous - Mar 26, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    I wasn't aware that Nyjer declined Winter Ball. Its a shame and this quote is sad when a player says this: I just think this place isn't for me.Declining to play winter ball is probably what got Nyjer in trouble. Its what really put Dukes in a bad place with Rizzo making it relatively easy for Riggleman to ask for his release. If you really love baseball and really want to play. Why would you say no to winter ball unless you were injured?

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