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Nats vs. Cardinals – 3/7/12

Mar 7, 2012, 5:30 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats host the Cardinals today at Space Coast Stadium.

It's still early — the Nationals have played only five of 34 total exhibition games this spring — but Ian Desmond's struggles both at the plate and in the field have not gone unnoticed. The third-year shortstop enters today 0-for-9 with three strikeouts and three errors in three games played, and Davey Johnson has a theory for shortstop's struggles.

"He's so driven," the manager said after yesterday's game against the Braves. "A lot like [Danny Espinosa], they're very driven. They try to overachieve. He sometimes, I think, might take his at-bats to the field. Especially down here. You're concentrating on getting your timing. But I thought he swung the bat better today. I'm not that concerned with it right now."

Desmond is back in the lineup today, facing top Cardinals pitching prospect Shelby Miller. He's one of the only regulars starting this game, though Adam LaRoche got at-bats this morning in a minor-league intrasquad game and is now slated to make his Grapefruit League debut Saturday.

I'm no longer with the team down in Florida. Per CSNwashington.com's coverage plan, I've returned home for a little while. I'll head back down there March 20 to cover the final portion of camp. So no in-game updates for the time being, but please continue the discussion as always…

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 20 LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
SS Ian Desmond
2B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Rick Ankiel
1B Chad Tracy

Read more »

145 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Mark – do you know which games will have TV/Radio coverage for the rest of spring (and will be available via MLB.tv for those of us out-of-market)?Thanks!

  2. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    The broadcast schedule is here:http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/schedule/broadcast/index.jsp?c_id=was

  3. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Yay, Mark is still in Viera! Looking forward to reading the game updates.

  4. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Oh, wait. Never mind (after reading). Thanks for your updates until now, Mark, and hope that the kid still recognizes you. :-)

  5. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    To all Nats Insiders, especially Nats Jack. I have one ticket for Nats-Yanks ST game Friday March 16 that I can't use. Great seat: third row, field level behind third base. $40 face. All I want is that. If anyone can use, let me know at jdschulz50@aol.com

  6. SCNatsFan - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Now playing SS for your world champion Cards, Alex Cora.

  7. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Is there any other blog/website that would have live thread from the game for us who can't watch or listen to the game at work?Thanks

  8. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Erik Komatsu for the Cardinals. Wasn't that the Rule 5 guy scooped up from the Nats?

  9. Drew - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    "I'm not too concerned right now," Johnson said, "but Ian did a poor job of steering the Exxon Valdez."

  10. SCNatsFan - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Steve M – it is. My Cards friend says he has a reasonable shot of making the team.

  11. Sunderland - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    live thread – mlb.com gameday

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Sunshine Bobby, I seriously recommend you not put your email address online unless you plan to delete it very soon, like, tomorrow. You can still delete the comment you posted.FYI.

  13. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    SCNatsFan, thanks. That will be interesting to watch on Komatsu as to how he does and what the Cardinals do with him.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Sunshine Bobby, I seriously recommend you not put your email address online unless you plan to delete it very soon, like, tomorrow. You can still delete the comment you posted.No he can't. He's screwed. But then again, he has an aol.com email, so he was already screwed anyway.

  15. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Nice, Desmond rips a double!

  16. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Quick 1st inning for JZim. Desmond with a double and scores on the Michaels single. Nice!

  17. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Also at Nationals Journal (see link at left), and posted only because Mark isn't doing one.

  18. NatsNut - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Dear CSN,Just so you know, I and all my page views and clicks will be headed over to the Post. Grudgingly, though. I'd prefer it if you'd just send Mark back.ThanksNN

  19. MicheleS - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Nats Nut.. I second that!

  20. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Thanks MJR

  21. Sunderland - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Bernadina, outfield assist for a DP!

  22. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Roger Bernadina with a nice defensive play with a double play at 2nd.

  23. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Desmond rips a double off of some kid who'll be in A ball and he's cured?

  24. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Did anyone suggest he was cured or are you just being annoying on purpose?

  25. alexva - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Don't look now but Anon is talking to itself again!

  26. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Johnson's trying to make excuses for Desmond's lack of ability is a waste of time. One has only to look at his minor league years. Except for a fluke partial season at Syacuse, he never hit well and his fielding was always erratic. Batting him at the top of the order and batting Espinosa second is not going to work. If Johnson and Rizzo do not come up with a top of the batting order remedy real soon, it will be another run starved season for the Nationals.

  27. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I am guessing Anon number 2 is N. Cog. He's easily annoyed.I am not Anon number 1, by the way.

  28. jd - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Shelby Miller is the Cardinals No. 1 prospect and he was 9-3 at AA last year so he's not a kid who will be in A ball.

  29. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Right, he's a kid who will be in AA ball.

  30. jd - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Steve M. I think we got Komatsu for Hairston. Right? I looked him up and at 24 he looks like a middling prospect at best.

  31. jd - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Anon @ 1:46. The point is he is a good pitcher not a scrub.

  32. Sunderland - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Zimmermann finished his 3 innings, no runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 3 K's.

  33. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    It's on Gameday-better than nothing.AD

  34. MicheleS - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Thanks Sunderland… Kilgore isn't updating as fast as you are!

  35. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Miller's a huge talent but he's not a MLB pitcher. Desmond needs a lot of doubles this Spring before I am convinced that it is reasonable to rely on him to hit a decent share of them in MLB when it counts.

  36. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    jd, yes, he came over from Brewers for Hairston and I was suprised the Brewers gave him up given that he had progressed well through A ball and then we learned that he was up for Rule 5 and needed to be put on the 40 man.Could project as a 4th outfielder. He did take JZim into LF for a single. He started hot last year in AA and fizzled out so he could be a quick start type of guy.Let the Cardinals carry him and see what happens. Its the least they can do after the Nats helped them with Brian Broderick.

  37. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    jd said… Shelby Miller is the Cardinals No. 1 prospect and he was 9-3 at AA last year so he's not a kid who will be in A ball. March 07, 2012 1:44 PM Laughable isn't it. The collective brainpower of some of these Anon's and their disdain for Ian Desmond is a sad commentary.

  38. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    We have now seen all 5 Nats starters or some may say all 6 with Wang pitching on the other field. I would say Gio, Stras and JZim all did very well. EJax did good w/ some struggles against Houston and Lannan had a couple errant pitches.All in all. A good first 5 days in ST.

  39. MLB Gameday - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Kevin Siegrist, last year in A Ball, got a 1 – 2 – 3 3rd for the Cards. Matt Purke coming on to pitch the 4th for the Nats.

  40. waddu eye no - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    according to kilgore – 29 of his 44 pitches for strikeslove that for a first time out.

  41. jeeves - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    There's one anon whose sole purpose for posting is to make a negative comment about Desi–at least two or three times every new posting by Mark. It's so pathetic and tedious. And another reason why posting with some name other than anon is a better way to identify onesself. (how does one spell onesself? That just doesn't look right.) Most anons out there are as reasonable as the rest of us so it would be nice to know who is who. Sure many of you have aliases but I can identify with you just as well as I could if I knew your real name. But I have a hard time telling some of you anons apart, except, of course, the Desmond hater.

  42. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Some pitcher named Kevin Siegrest (no relations to Ryan Secrest) just shut the Nats down in the 3rd.

  43. MLB Gameday - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    And Hoffpaiur in for Desmond, who raised his spring average 91 points today.

  44. Bowdenball - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Someone seriously referred to Shelby Miller as just "some kid who will be in A ball"?That might be my favorite anonymous Nats Insider post ever. Bless your anonymous heart, mystery person.

  45. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Jeeves, well said. Whoever it is, the person has to get a life. Such a shame.

  46. MLB Gameday - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Purke gave up a groundball single and a line drive singlearound a fly out, pop out and gropund out, and gave up no runs. Maybe back for another inning?

  47. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Purke escaped a 2 single inning unscathed on the scoreboard. I wonder how his pitches and velo is today. I watched him against Georgetown and he was low to mid 90's with good movement. Just needs more consistency on his release point. Cora got him for a hit which tells me when he is facing veteran hitters they have a good idea of what he is throwing as he is telegraphing his pitches. All stuff he can work on. I think Purke is going to be a very good pitcher.

  48. jd - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    I think it's time to stop taking the bait re Desmond. He is gonna be on the team regardless of what this moron thinks and I for one am pulling for him.

  49. Gardner - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Radio: NoneTV: NoneFeels bush league.

  50. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I don't get the hate for Desmond, either. But I also can't get myself excited for him. He makes me feel the same way Lannan does. Usually does a good enough job, but I just don't FEEL it when they come up. Now Morse and Espinosa, you just KNOW that something special is going to happen soon.

  51. MLB Gameday - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Jason Motte got through his inning against the Nats allowing just a BB. Looks like Purke is staying in.I gotta leave the PC, someone else take over?

  52. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Descalso just homered off Purke

  53. Mike Hall - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    According to Gameday, the way you can follow the game "live" from the National's site, it indicates that Purke threw only five pitches (to five hitters) in the fifth. Can anyone confirm if that is accurate? I don't think I've ever seen that before.

  54. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    and there goes the shutout.

  55. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Mike, it counts 3 pitches for a strikeout and I think 1 for a hit ball. Its not actual pitch count unless a coincidence.

  56. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Jay Ks for 2nd out, Adams 1B to CF

  57. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Game is on the iPAD app MLB at BAT 12

  58. SonnyG10 - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Score 1-1, bottom 5th

  59. SonnyG10 - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    I have at BAT 12 on Android.

  60. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Greene K looking. JFlo up against Jenkins

  61. SayNoToClint - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Well, the "flagship station" would much rather drum up stupid twitter tags than actually give the Nats any airtime. I'm sure Lavar and Dukes are talking at this very moment about who will be the Redskins' third string long snapper.Gardner said… Radio: None TV: None Feels bush league.

  62. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    JFlo P4Brown F9Hoffpauir F9

  63. MGG - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    I don't get anything about the Nationals media coverage.On the "flagship" station all I hear about is the terrible pointy ball team. I hear lots of commercials and from the Junkies this morning a lot of begging for free stuff. I see them on TV occasionally.And as for the internet beyond this site there is much that's good and MASN continually downplays them Nationals by giving us beat reporters first from the Orioles and now from the Ravens?! I really hope Angelos gives it all away and the Nationals can start their own network with their own reporters, this is getting ridiculous.

  64. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Mattheus in to pitch for PurkeCox KAnderson 1B to CF

  65. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Trying to follow this game at work on WAPO,here, and gameday. Sheesh. This is frustrating. And as for our "flagship station" it should be renamed the nfl station because that's all they care about. It's a joke. Today I am longing for Bob and FP, Charlie and Dave. Anybody actually at the game who can give an eyeball account of how Jordan looked? I know the pitchers are working on things and so the play by play doesn't really mean much. Not so productive this afternoon – I really need to step it up. I have spent most of my time clicking among sites. Addicted most surely.

  66. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Rendon is playing SS, they moved Hoffpauir to 2BTwo FC at 2B and out of the inning

  67. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    @Swami – All the more reason why I cannot wait until next week when I am in the FLA to see us at the Braves, and NYY, MIA and HOU at Space Coast!

  68. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    jealous!!!!!

  69. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Paul in for Lombo, Swings and misses 3 times, but advances to 1B on wild pitchRivero in for Ankiel, he also strikes out, but Paul steals 2B.Moore in for Tracy and HE strikes out.Anyone heard of this Ottovino guy?Maldonado in for Michaels with a BBRendon is up….

  70. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Wild pitch from Ottovino and runners both advance

  71. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Rendon down on three called strikes. So much for the RISP.That's it for me, the "work" day is over, time to listen on the radio in the car, if I can find it…

  72. Squiffy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    One more….Lidge in to pitch the seventh

  73. MASNH8TER - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Here's how bad MASN is: last night they ran a Nationals Classic that the Nationals LOST! I don't care if Strasburg pitched 5 nice innings–no team ever makes a LOSS one of their TV classics!

  74. NatinBeantown - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Squiffy said… (paraphrasing): 3 swings and misses, wild pitch, K/SB, K, BB, runners advance on wild pitch Ugly, ugly, ugly. I'm as excited as everyone else about the return of baseball and our Nats, but there is a reason why coverage is thin and these games are exhibitions. It's generally terrible baseball.If the radio stations are still talking Redskins once April rolls around than it's time to get a little peeved. The good thing is that WJFK and others could care less about the 'Skins. They only care about ratings. When listeners start asking for Nats coverage, they'll come around.BTW, thanks for the updates, Squiffy!

  75. DWS - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    As a long time Expos and now Nats fan, the Angelos/MASN thing I can get my head around…..but no radio?I could be wrong but I thought the Expos had radio broadcasts in ST, if not in English, French which I could follow. Is there a reason for lack of radio coverage?Got the Baseballswami blues.

  76. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I am the Demsond-hating Anon. Sorry to annoy the Nats Insider population so much by pointing out that the Shortstop is not wearing clothes, but Desmond's just not good enough to be the Nats SS in 2012, folks. It's obvious. Johnson's giving him a chance and Ian's blowing it.Lombo is capable in MI right now, they added Blanco and Derosa for a reason too. But the big thing is that Rendon is close to MLB ready now and he's going to be learning 2B, so Espi and his better SS glove than Ian's, much better bat and comparable speed is going to slide over to SS. The world sees this coming.Desmond is dead man walking as a Nat – it's just a matter of time.

  77. Les in NC - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Don't worry, you didn't really want to hear how Lidge and the boys gave up the lead in the 7th. (After CSN had made a nice video piece on how good the Bullpen is)I'm not sayin…, I'm just sayin…. ;)

  78. Bowdenball - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Desmond-hating Anon:I appreciate your thoughts and even think your concerns are sort of valid, but you'll forgive me for not lending much weight to the baseball opinions of a guy who considers Shelby Miller to be just another single-A pitcher. Plus I think March 8 is a little too early to draw any conclusions, don't you?

  79. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    i'm still happy with desmond over guzman. but agree that desmond has less and less time to solidify his hold on the job. that's a good thing! i like him but there only a few places to easily upgrade this team now. and shortstop is one of them.

  80. SayNoToClint - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Don't worry, they'll still be talking about the Redskins in April. And May and June and July. And I realize that the ratings drive what they talk about. I just wish they'd stop insulting my intelligence by advertising that they're the "Flagship Nationals station" while they talk about the Redskins 12 months a year, 24 hours a day. Heck, last year the Flagship station wasn't willing to preempt their afternoon Redskins talk during an NFL lockout to broadcast any of the 1:00 games.NatinBeantown said… If the radio stations are still talking Redskins once April rolls around than it's time to get a little peeved. The good thing is that WJFK and others could care less about the 'Skins. They only care about ratings. When listeners start asking for Nats coverage, they'll come around.

  81. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    Bowdenball said… Desmond-hating Anon:I appreciate your thoughts and even think your concerns are sort of valid, but you'll forgive me for not lending much weight to the baseball opinions of a guy who considers Shelby Miller to be just another single-A pitcher. Plus I think March 8 is a little too early to draw any conclusions, don't you? March 07, 2012 3:15 PM Sorry, those aren't really thoughts, they are rants. When some hatred is over-riding any true baseball observations or scouting, its worthless.5 games into ST and he sees Lombo penciled in above Desmond. It is the start of ST. You would have had Storen cut last year if you used ST as the barometer for his success. Lombo needs to worry about just making the 25 man roster. So far he has done nothing in the MLB or ST to show anyone he is ready for a starting role.Best 23 go North + 2 others

  82. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Agreed Steve. These aren't thoughts, they are worthless rants over and over and over again. Like a Desmond stalker. Get a life doofus!

  83. Positively Half St. - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    I see that the Cardinals had 11 hits through 7, while the Nats had 2. That doesn't bode well for the collection of bench types that filled the lineup today.+1/2St.

  84. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Bowdenball, I, the Not So Great nor Powerful Desmond-hating Anon, did not post anything on Shelby Miller, there must be other haters! My coclusons are based on the totality of Desmond's career to date, not his few games this Spring (and not the last 4 weeks of last season either).Objectively, from pretty much any standard you want to employ, Ian's not been good overall for the 2 years he's been the starting SS, for more than 1,000 AB's and double that amount of innings. On the good side, he has plus speed, good range and arm, but he also has bad hands and he makes lousy decisions in the field. Routine plays give him real trouble and they always have. Offensively, that speed is nice, but he can’t steal first; his approach at the plate is pitcher-like. His pitch recognition has been as bad as any position player in the bigs, and he swings and misses at balls in the strike zone a ton, especially for a guy with maybe 15 HR power. He does not hit for average or power and he does not take walks. If he was sterling with the glove he could get away with hot hitting much, but he’s nothing close to sterling with the glove; any metric you want puts him at the bottom part of the SS defensive pile. That’s Ian Desmond. He's just not good. Espi's a better choice, and by a country mile.

  85. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    How is saying that Rendon is close and will play 2B and that Espi's a better choice at SS "rants" much less worthless ones? Not sure what "true baseball observations" might be, but what observations have I missed that make Ian Desmond something other than what his career stat-line at every level says he is?

  86. Bowdenball - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Steve M:I obviously agree with you. I just meant that his concern about Desmond was valid. His conclusions are obviously just a tiny little bit premature.

  87. Bowdenball - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Desmond-hater:If that wasn't you posting at 1:35 and 1:46, I apologize, but it sure seems like it was. Maybe you could be less anonymous to clear things up?

  88. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Anonymous said… 3:31 PMI don't have any problem with anyone's criticism of any player. I believe you are right. I think most people see Desmond for who he is. Basically my criticism is not of Desmond but management. I know Desmond is a stand-up guy, a leader on the field and in the dugout from all reports. Always and sometimes the only guy signing autographs before games at Nationals Park. I get it from this standpoint. What do you think management sees in Desmond? I'll hang up and listen to your answer…

  89. Tcostant - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    This happen last year too, I'd much rather have Mark in Florida during games. If it is to much to say the whole 6 weeks, how ablout just showing up on March 2nd or the date when games start and stay their the whole time. I live for the weekday game updates during the spring and miss it already.

  90. NatinBeantown - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    SayNotoClint – Understood. And since I'm out of market and only listen to DC radio when it's on MLB At Bat, I trust that you are correct.Vote with your ears, don't listen!

  91. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    To help clear things up, I hereby reveal that I am a Desmond-hater hater.

  92. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Anon @ 3:38, are you in Viera watching in person? Are you a scout or at least someone who can make an informed decision like someone who has played or coached at a high level?Ian Desmond is the starter. You need to accept it and move on to something constructive.I was in Florida for some practices and games. I made a few observations and sat with some scouts behind homeplate and picked some brains. We talked Rendon, Purke, Harper and Lombo for the prospects. The scouts love these guys but nobody sees Lombo as a starter on this team–sorry to tell you that. Maybe next year.We can have some real discussions in a couple of weeks when there is more data and scouting to go by.

  93. ehay2k - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Maldonado homers to tie it up!

  94. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    What just happened – the score went to 3-3?

  95. Nattydread - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    When Carlos Maldonado hits a home run, you know its spring training.

  96. Les in NC - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Maldonado with a dinger to tie it up! That, my friends, is how you pinch hit!

  97. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Oh -thanks, I think.

  98. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    Steve M. said… Did you make a rum run to Bimini? I'll hang up and listen…

  99. McR - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Maldonado two-run dinger in the bottom of the 9th. 3-3 with 1 out.

  100. McR - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    darn my slow fingers. ;) I was late.

  101. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    That's ok – I am getting mixed attitudes about it anyway.

  102. Nattydread - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Do we play extra innings in spring training?

  103. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Cease the Opportunity said… Steve M. said… Did you make a rum run to Bimini? I'll hang up and listen…See now, you said you would do that before. But you clearly didn't.

  104. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    On Rendon, one scout sees him as a player who needs 250 at-bats to prove himself to be MLB ready. Problem is he is a man without a position. Issues he saw was his size and durability.

  105. Big Cat - Mar 7, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Is my boy HRod in camp?

  106. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Do we play extra innings in spring training?Sometimes. Sometimes not. I think both teams have to agree to it. Miller Time is Miller Time, after all, and it only comes but once a day.

  107. McR - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    @Natty, I think generally no extra innings. most guys want to leave. Gameday has it as a Final (tied) now.

  108. bdrube - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    I gotta hand it to Mark for know what topic would keep people coming back to this post even though he wouldn't be able to do live updates. Mentioning Desi's struggles was a surefire conversation starter.Well played, sir! :)

  109. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Cease the Opportunity said… Steve M. said… Did you make a rum run to Bimini? I'll hang up and listen… March 07, 2012 3:53 PM We had most of the time about 7 to 15 guys who went on this trip or met up with us. No Bimini but we were tempted to head to Paradise Island for some gambling but instead hit the Hard Rock in N. Miami where they have blackjack and bacarrat. Most days ended in either Miami, Palm Beach or Orlando with lots of Tequila, no rum. We were able to take in some basketball games and the Honda Classic Golf and lots of baseball. It was basically baseball or golf during the day and basketball or other fun at night. Our problem was the group got larger and larger and we didn't have the transportation in place to take everybody so the older guys and married guys generally stayed behind. ;)At the games, I tend to sit by myself as the other guys talk too much. NatsJack draws the big crowds as he is the folk hero in Florida! We were passing our scouting reports thru text messages on Detwiler and Harper.The vibe this year is much different. You can just feel the positive energy. I thought that maybe Phil Jackson was coaching the Nats with all the good Zen and then saw it was this Davey Johnson guy!

  110. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    I am not a Demsond hater so much as I am a serious doubter. But, this SS issue is really about Davey and Mike. I’d like Mike Rizzo or Davey Johnson to explain why they think the club can afford to throw a 25 error SS and .300 OBP leadoff man out there and hope to make the playoffs. I mean, come on. I know they love Demsond, everyone loves him, but he needs to produce. The guys who prove they deserve the spots should get them. It's one thing to say that Demsond's the best guy they have (and maybe he is), but that is not what I am hearing. I am hearing — he's the starter, no matter what, get used to it. Desmond should not be annointed the starter at SS just because he's been the starter at SS. It's not like he has some great track record and is coming off of a tough year (a la Werth). Desmond should win his spot on the lineup card just like everyone else, no? Best 25 go North!dfh21

  111. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Game ends in a 3-3 tie.

  112. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Cease, I have no idea what management sees in Desmond. But they are clearly believers in him. I don't discount the brain trust’s talent evaluation capability so much as their psychology maybe. I have a wild theory – dare I throw it out to have it labeled a worthless rant, here it is – I think that management sees Desmond as a guy with great tools, who is just a step away from getting his head straight to be something close to a star; a player that they could have moved coming in to last year when he had good value, but they did not make a deal to send him packing because of his great upside potential, and then when they had a another chance they did not move him at the deadline because his value was then depressed (rumors had him as part of a package to Minn for Span), and now after he still has not really broken out (the last 5 weeks of the season were solid but not spectacular for Desmond) they are hoping (beyond reason in my opinion) that he can make them look good for keeping him by playing well. And once he plays well, they can then trade him for something they need, because Espinosa really is the SS of the future in Nats Town and it is pretty much a given. Unless people see Rizzo trading a younger, 20+ HR power, switch hitter to keep Ian’s questionable skill set. I don’t see Rizzo doing that.I would love to hear what management really says about their talent behind closed doors. Maybe Desmond will be the player for us that they think he’ll be, but if he's playing badly are they willing to sacrifice the club’s record in the first year that they have a chance in order to keep giving Desmond chances? Two years in not enough of a sample size?

  113. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    dfh21, I think Desi's numbers will get better this year and the debate will continue. If the Nats find their leadoff outfielder than maybe Desi can slide down in the order. Give it time. Let's see how it all shapes up!

  114. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Steve M. Well see. I hope that Desmond plays well this Spring and puts the fan base, haters and all, at ease.dfh21

  115. Steve M. - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    dfh21, Desi has to see more pitches and work some walks and get on base and score runs. Thats his job at lead-off. Anything above a .330 OBP will be great. I think Desi can be a .320 guy consistently. I hope he can get above .330. If he does, that gives good odds that the meat of the order will have some RBI opportunities.

  116. Cwj - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Just to jump in real quick, 2 years is not enough of a sample size to make Desmond out to be a bad player.How many players do we see each year figure it all out in their 3rd or 4th season in the majors?I think Desmond deserves another full season before I jump on the Desi-hater bandwagon.

  117. sec 3 my sofa - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Watching Cleveland-AZ @ Duffy's. Stop by if you're near U St.

  118. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Oh, yeah. I think I'd set the DVR for that MLB Network broadcast – the one where there will be live audio from players and managers, if memory serves?

  119. DHamm - Mar 7, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    I've got some news for Anon…I've been here watching every game so far, and yes Desmond has not looked good. But here's the news: Rendon looks like a Single A kid right now. So while Desmond may not be the guy, it sure isn't going to be Rendon for a while either.

  120. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    I think patience is going to be the answer yet again – darn. I hate having to be patient.

  121. ehay2k - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    @DhammWhat about Rendon needs work? At the plate, or his learning of SS and 2b positions? Or both?And, I have to laugh: You ran our ticket draft from ST? I had no clue. And I was in Paris. Ahh technology.

  122. Cwj - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Can anyone find a box score of today's game?

  123. jd - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Steve M. Rendon has a position; 3rd base. Unfortunately someone else is manning that position for the foreseeable future. I think the 250 at bats is optimistic and I think starting at AA is too high. I think that in the best interest of the club to start him in high 'A' let him have some success and then move him to 'AA' all the while play a position he is good at. Ultimately his value to the Nats may see him playing for someone else. I think putting him in a position where he is likely to fail will mess up his career and diminish his value to the team.

  124. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Cwj:The Nats tied with the Cardinals 3-3.

  125. Cwj - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Thanks Anon. I know the score, but was trying to find the stats for today's game.

  126. Mark'd - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    I just got back from Florida. Very fun week! Rendon has been out of baseball for a while so this is like rehab for him. I love how some people think he and Lombo are ready to start and others are thinking more seasoning in the Minors.I tend to think Minors for both.

  127. Cwj - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Which pitchers gave up the 3 runs?

  128. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Box is here, Cwj.

  129. Cwj - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Nevermind :) Looks like Purke and Lidge.Apparently Mattheus, Clippard and Storen also pitched.Good to hear that Zimmermann got 3 innings of work in.

  130. Anonymous - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    "How many players do we see each year figure it all out in their 3rd or 4th season in the majors?"What SS stinks it up to Desmond's levels with the glove and suddenly gets much better in his 3rd or 4th year? Bats come around, the glove should be there by now. It ain't. In 2009 when he was called up he made 4 errors in 17 games at SS. In 2010 the excuse for his bad glove was because it was his rookie year. In 2011 it was because he was a new dad. This Spring it's because he's taking his bad AB's with him to the field. He has NEVER gloved well. It could happen, sure, and I could win PowerBall too.

  131. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Oh, wait. Here's one that you don't have to scroll all over to read.

  132. Cwj - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    Thanks Natsfan!Not sure how I missed looking there :-)

  133. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    You're welcome, Cwj. It's not as easy to find them as during the regular season. I also found that the Florida Today site has pics from the game. Wonder whether we know any of the fans dodging the foul ball in the second pic?

  134. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    dfh21 said . . . "I’d like Mike Rizzo or Davey Johnson to explain why they think the club can afford to throw a 25 error SS and .300 OBP leadoff man out there and hope to make the playoffs."That sums it up for me. Mark, if you get the chance, please ask them and tell us what they say! Go Nats!

  135. Tom in AR - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Come on. There's no tying in baseball! There's no tying in baseball!

  136. realdealnats - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    I seem to be living at odd hours from everyone else and here I am again at the end of a thread, but if anyone is out there with an opinion or some knowledge: Can Rendon play short? I know Espi plays it well. But he plays 2B well too. And if Rendon is used to the left side of the IF might he move to SS next year? Or is it really not that big a deal moving him to 2B with the different foot work required? He's rusty, and he's not ready yet, but when he comes around, watch out. By 2014 he and Harper should be making themselves felt offensively.

  137. Unkyd - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    RDN: I'm starting gbto see Rendon at SS, too. I've seen opinions that his arm might not be up to it, but he's a third baseman, right? He's had ankle issues, so it'd prolly be good to keep him away from the constant leaping pivots and getting slud into, as a 2B, and as much as I like Desi, he's unlikely to ever hit like the book says AR will. I see him at SS in '14, prolly sooner. Zim, Rendon, Espy, and The Beast…. A fairly productive infield, no?

  138. realdealnats - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Works for me, Unkyd. Assuming so many professional sets of eyes are right about projecting Rendon, you gotta wonder how long it'll take him to be ready. Some say as soon as September. But we're talking at least 2013 aren't we? Or are we talking as far away as 2014? I know we just have to wait and see how it plays out, but it would be great to see him ready in roughly the same time frame as Stras and Harper. Ok bedtime…say goodnight Gracie…

  139. Unkyd - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    Goodnight, Gracie…

  140. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    I wouldn't place Rendon at shortstop. He's at third, second or first just like Zim. As for Desmond his replacement is clearly Espinosa not Lombo. However, Lombo gets a shot if Desmond is swapped with Espy.IMO, they probably need them all. Injuries happen and let's face it, the jury is still definitely out on all of the infield except for Zim. They are all still very recent starters. Desmond could end up swapping with Lombo and becoming the utility guy if he slumps or has an injury. Its who things go … Patience with youth pays huge dividends if there is talent. And there is talent. Let's just wait and let the chips fall where they may as the offense will likely not be any great shakes this year anyway mostly for that very reason.The Bold anonymous. Keep scrolling natsfan1a you are raising my hypocrite scorecard.

  141. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  142. realdealnats - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Bold Anon:What are your reasons for Rendon NOT playing SS, but the other 3 IF positions? If I may be so bold to ask.

  143. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    My reference being to my earlier link to another boxscore, which featured a scroll bar, but whatevs.natsfan1a said… Oh, wait. Here's one that you don't have to scroll all over to read. March 07, 2012 6:36 PM

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (3) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.0
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
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.

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