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Nats vs. Yankees – 3/16/12

Mar 16, 2012, 3:42 PM EST

US Presswire photo
The Nationals are at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa this afternoon.

One day after hosting the Yankees (er, a couple of actual Yankees) in Viera, the Nationals return the favor today by making the long trek west to Tampa. Er, I should say a couple of actual Nationals.

Truth be told, Davey Johnson put more major leaguers on the bus this morning than Joe Girardi did yesterday. Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos technically may be the only guaranteed lineup regulars starting today, but Steve Lombardozzi, Mark DeRosa and Jesus Flores should all make the Opening Day bench. And either Jason Michaels or Brett Carroll has a good chance to make it as well.

Then there's Bryce Harper, who has cooled off considerably since returning from a minor calf injury. The 19-year-old is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his first two games back, and he did not look comfortable at the plate yesterday. He'll start in right field today, but his opportunities to crack the Opening Day roster are running out.

Gio Gonzalez takes the hill against CC Sabathia in a matchup of All-Star left-handers. (How cool is it to be able to say that?). Enjoy the game and the conversation as always…

Where: Steinbrenner Field, Tampa
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from RF

SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
1B Mark DeRosa
DH Wilson Ramos


  1. Dave - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    If Gio can look as good as he has been, against that lineup, and with that defense, then he definitely has my vote for opening day starter.Go Nats!

  2. Steady Eddie - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Dave — Agreed. If Opening Day starter means "most proven" in the rotation, then Gio is it. Between two All-Star appearances and the way he looked last Sunday against the Cards' A lineup — relative to Stras and JZimm's ST performances — right now Gio is da man.

  3. Steady Eddie - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    But let's also see how he does today. That is one big time lineup he'll be facing.

  4. A DC Wonk - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Fourth!(just practicing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    What is Gio's record against the Yanks? As an AL pitcher did he face them?

  6. TimDz - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I think it makes sense to have Znn as the number one this year and Stras as the three. This way, you slide Gio in the two slot. A power lefty between two power righties.Since Stras is going to be on an innings limit and the opening day game will be in a (most likely) chilly Chicago, let the kid from Wisconsin start the season. Regardless, I don't think we could go wrong with any of the three.Opening day cannot get here soon enough…

  7. JaneB - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Mark, what's the word on Wang? I thought there were going to announce something this morning…

  8. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Look left at the links. Kilgore and Amanda have "two weeks." Still possible for him to make his first start approx. April 11. Davey adamant he will not announce Opening Day starter.

  9. hondo69 - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Today's game is televised on the YES Network live. I have DirecTV and YES is on Ch. 631. As far as I know, only Dish Network doesn't carry YES.

  10. Avar - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Agree totally w/ TimDz.Not to nitpick SteadyEddy but the Yankees lineup today is only big time through Jones. Ibanez were horrible last year. His WAR was negative. Wow. I don't think anyone fears pitching to Cervelli, Hall and Bernier. But, yeah 1-6 are tough.

  11. MicheleS - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    JaneB.. So far they say it's a strain and that he will be out a couple of weeks Here is a link to Amanada's article

  12. Avar - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    miscounted, 1-5 are tough.

  13. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    MASN saying Wang may be out for a month. Sounds encouraging if there is no structural damage.

  14. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    desmond leading off with a hit. amazing….

  15. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    I hope Ian hits well enough to get moved. Baseball takes great concentration, he's never gonna have it.

  16. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    on another note, we don't have a single walk between Espinosa and Desmond this spring. so far combined they have an OBP of about .217. awful. i think we need to put Werth back at #2.

  17. sm13 - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I guess that's as good as we could have hoped with CMW. We can be sure they are extra cautious so he doesn't mess up his mechanics and set his shoulder back.

  18. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Pettite inks back with Yanks at a potentil $2.5M — I think that we just learned two things: 1. Yanks are not potential trade partners for Lannan, if he's still on the block post Wang's hammy problem; and 2. Lannan's value is likely a lot less than $5M for other clubs so he's not likely going to be traded for something great, if he gets moved. We'll see.dfh21

  19. Tcostant - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    I'm surprised that Mark didn't mention what I sure Tampa is buzzing about; Andy Pettitte is coming back to the Yankees. days indeed.

  20. natsfan1a - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    fwiw, I've seen out a couple of weeks, rather than a month, reported elsewhere for CMW.

  21. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Ramos hits a DP ball with the bases loaded and no outs, scoring one. Then Flores hits a double scoring Lombo from third. 2-0 Nats in the first. Flores is raking this spring….

  22. natsfan1a - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Ooh, Nats scored two in the first. Yay!

  23. natsfan1a - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Obviously, I was typing while David was typing. :-)

  24. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    and just like that it's 1-0, back to back hits for the yanks to start off.

  25. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    i mean 2-1

  26. Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Harper having his difficulties now is a good thing. It makes it easier to send him down to Harrisburg/Syracuse which, probably, was always going to happen.

  27. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    S'ok David, it's spring for us, too. DCWonk, you missed a chance to yell "FORE!" there.

  28. natsfan1a - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    he's a jolly good fellow (whose birthday is it?)

  29. Exposremains - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    it seems to me that Harper gets pitched tougher than any other Nats player.

  30. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Expos–I'm sure that's true. With all the publicity, would you want to be the pitcher giving up a dinger to Bryce?

  31. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Lombo is tearing it up. Making his case, that's for sure. But I think Ryan would have gotten that play in the first innning.

  32. Exposremains - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I know it's an ego thing from the pitchers, I'm just surprised it gets to them

  33. Cease the Oppornuity - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    PAY TO PLAY said… MASN saying Wang may be out for a month. Sounds encouraging if there is no structural damage.Kilgore Trout, WAPO says two weeks and can possibly still make his first scheduled start…

  34. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Lombo homers. 2 for 2 today. 3-1 Nationals

  35. lesatcsc - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Gio gets my vote for OD starter. 2 time all-star, 16 game winner last year, 200+ inning guy! Have Znn and Stras won 16 between them in their entire careers? Don't get me wrong, they're both great and may very earn the OD start as soon as next year, but give the vet his due. Besides, if CMW ends up in the 5th slot once healthy, Gio would still be slotted between two RHs

  36. Les in NC - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    3rd is not Lombo's position NatsLady. Didn't he win an MILB gold glove for his play at SS? I think we as a team of Nats fans should really start wondering how good Lombardozzi would look manning that position for our team instead of the "wizard of ID".

  37. DWS - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Never mind the fifth starter, should be a competition for middle infield. Lombo's got my vote.

  38. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    I am SO BORED with Andy Pettite.

  39. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Les, 100% agree on Lombo not being in his natural position, wasn't trying to be critical. Just observing that Davey has him moving all around the infield. That says to me he will be up at least as utility infielder, and maybe more.

  40. HHover - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    LesLombo played 2B almost exclusively in the minors–400 games at 2B, only 20 at SS.If anyone takes over at SS for Desmond, it will be Espi.

  41. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Yikes — nearly a 2nd Wang injury right there.

  42. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    What??? I wasn't watching and they were just jabbering about Pettite.

  43. Les in NC - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Great job by Stammen to get out of the inning!

  44. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Why didn't the Nationals send only their double A players to play the Yankees today, thus paying back the Yankees for their good deed of yesterday?

  45. JaneB - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Anon at 2:34: because we have more integrity than they do.And maybe younger players who need to get the work in…

  46. Exposremains - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Girardi raving about Lombo. "Is he young? Is that a guy I'll have to worry about for a while"

  47. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    NatsLady – nasty foul tip off Flores's cup, but it looked like he shook it off.

  48. Les in NC - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    …and the Yankees do what they do and tie the game at 3 with a homer from A-rod.

  49. Mark'd - Mar 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    SteveM said Mar 16, 2012 11:02 AM :. "I actually have more faith in Craig Stammen but just don't want to think about going back to the future. Been there, seen it, done it, and it makes me nervous but Stammen has been impressive."You called it. Good reason to be nervous.

  50. Mark'd - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Bryce Harper with another ground ball hit.

  51. RPrecupjr - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I'll take a ground ball hit over a fly ball out any day

  52. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    i dont think Lombo will be a utility guy. Lombo has to be playing his way to 2nd base… with Espi moving back to SS.

  53. NatsLady - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Is there a baseball game occurring? Sheesh.

  54. JaneB - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Do we think Lombo is doing so much better now than in September because a) some winter ball really helped him get better, b) this is ST and the pitching isn't yet as good, c) It's ST so he isn't as nervous as he might have been in September? Probably a bit of all of the above. I'm trying to get a feel for if he is really better, and if this is something we can expect to see from him if he stays up?

  55. David - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    for hitters like Zimmerman, ST pitching is a breeze, but not all MLB quality batters crush ST pitching. i think it's a good sign for Lombo, and for Flores.

  56. MicheleS - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    JaneB.. Didn't Lombo spend a chunk of the off season at Nats Park with RZ and Werth? Maybe he picking their brains.

  57. Les in NC - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    JaneB, IMO they his (Lombo's) stats have been pretty consistent over his minor league career. I would say he is going to be somewhat similar to those stats or just a little under….. maybe somewhere around .280/.340 with a little power. We could definitely use him on the team as a regular in the lineup.

  58. NatsNut - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    1. I can't remember now where I read it (Amanda? Kilgore?), but regarding CMW, with off days, the 5th starter could be pushed back to April 11 before their first start, which Johnson says is "about a month" from now.2. re: Pettitte. It actually made me laugh reading he wants to come back. I visualized him sitting on the couch, looking around, and going, "Holy Crap. What am I gonna do now?" Then…"please let me back in. I'll go minor league if I have to, just let me back in…"

  59. gonatsgo - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Only gameday today – hate having no eyes on and no Charlie and Dave. But – it sounds like lombardozzi is tearing it up. He also has some much- needed speed and is a switch hitter. Is he wasted in Syracuse where he has nothing left to prove? Can he really get enough playing time up here so that his development won't be stunted? He sounds like he has a great attitude and will play anywhere, anytime. I hate to seem him be this young and be labeled just a utility guy. Trade? What to do, what to do? It's not only the pitching rotation that is up in the air.

  60. A DC Wonk - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Sec 3 His Sofa reminded me:DCWonk, you missed a chance to yell "FORE!" there.Doh! Thanks. Good one. Well, like I said, I was practicing.As we've all be saying: that's what ST is for!(That's what ST is fore? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  61. The Fox - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Jane,Lombo has exceeded all his expectation since he was drafted in the 19th round in 2008. I'm not sure if you saw any of the Showtime TV show "The Franchise" last year when they followed the S.F. Giants. It did give the regular fan a look behind the scenes. One of the most memorable shows to me was when the manager Bruce Bochy told a kid he had made the "Show" and the kid just broke down and cried and it took him awhile to compose himself.Star draft picks like Strasburg or Harper expect to make it, guys drafted in the 19th round its just a dream that they hope will come true. I'm sure Lombo thinks he can be a major leaguer but it was also probably a pretty overwhelming experience for him when he came up in September. Now he feels a little more comfortable and he can relax a little more. As to how good a ballplayer he will end up being my best guess is he will be similar to his father who had 3 good years in Minnesota. Maybe he will even get a WS ring like his dad.

  62. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Another Loss, But what worries me is what is up with SToren. Has not pitched in 9 days, 10 tomorrow. Is he hurt?

  63. gonatsgo - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Anon- Saw an extensive interview with Drew the other night during a game. They asked him when he would pitch again and he said he thought it would be this weekend but had not been told. He said relievers don't need to be stretched out as much and he would get more work in when there were less people in camp for the organization to look at. He seemed fine with where he is for now. I do think it's time for him to get in another game, though.

  64. rmoore446 - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Likes like Justine Maxwell may make the Yankees roster. I was in Florida a week ago and saw the the Yankees against the Braves. Maxwell batted eighth and came up in the first inning after the pitcher had gone 2-0 0r 3-0 for the seven batters in front of him, Maxwell hacks at the first three pitches he sees and strikes out. I thought, same old Maxwell. But his next time up, he walked, stole a base and scored. He followed that up with an RBI single. And he looked good today. I'd love to see him go north with the Yankees.

  65. Steady Eddie - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Losses in the late innings of ST games really don't matter unless a MLB pitcher gets bombed (which wasn't the case here — Perry is going to Syracuse and was getting in a second inning just to see what happened). Lannan losing yesterday was a little more bothersome.This non-pitching (what, has he appeared like once?) from Storen is probably more his personal reaction to last year, where he tried a lot of stuff in ST that ended up giving him an ERA of about 10.50. Given that none of that showed up in the regular season, he probably has figured "why do I need this BS to mess with my head?"But you would hope he'd get an inning a couple of times a week. Maybe now that more marginal players are getting sent down?

  66. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    gonatsgo thanks for the Storen Update.

  67. Steady Eddie - Mar 16, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    OK, so it was the Emperor who did the 10th inning and not a second inning from Perry. So much the better (Severino's not getting anywhere near Nats Park before September, if then).

  68. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    The way Lombo is going have to figure Desmond might end up part-time and then the bench if he doesn't hit. Lombardozzi's switch hitting adds a a valuable bat for Johnson … added to Espinosa. Looks to me like Teahen is among the next cuts. Lombardozzi fields and hits better. Blanco's fielding is what's keeping him in the mix. Finally, everyone here forgets what Wang managed to do to get back to where he was before this recent injury. Its completely unheard of and unique in the annals of baseball. You can almost bet Wang will be back by opening day with his work ethic. I'm not sure whether he'll last an entire season as a starter without having to be shutdown … at least in the first year but you have to give the buy his props … and it sure sounds like Johnson is planning on having him in the rotation.

  69. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    HHover, Lombardozzi actually played 33 games at shortstop and 1 game at third base in the minors. But you are right in your contention that the major proportion of his games were at second base.

  70. HHover - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Anon @ 5:05Curious where you got those numbers. I took the numbers I gave from baseballreference (rounding off the # at 2B); just checked and they give the same.Not that the difference bwn 30 and 22 really matters, over 100s of milb games–just curious about where the different #s come from.

  71. gonatsgo - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Lombo just has so much to offer the team. He has speed, switch -hits and makes a lot of contact, can play in several places. Just seems like he is of great value here. Not a Desi hater but do you think he hears footsteps behind him?

  72. sjm308 - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Have not checked the box score but I get a pretty good idea that Lombo had a nice game. Also seems like Pettite is back which is very surprising to me. Not noted here and maybe it will be in NatsProspects is what that does to the chances we will be getting our Prop 5 kid back. I realize he is more of a long reliever but the addition of another pitcher for the Yankees can't help his chances.I guarantee you they will not rush Wang and the great thing is, as a veteran who has been through some rough stuff before, he will not rush as well.Again, LannEn to AAA, Detwiler can fill the #5 spot and also handle long relief with the many early days off and we can take another relief pitcher with us, until Wang is ready, when we head North to win the NL EAST!

  73. JaneB - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Fox, I did see the Franchise, and when that kid broke down, so did I. It was one of the most memorable moments I've ever seen on TV. Thanks, all, for the Lombo assessment. He sure looked good today (stat wise — I didn't spring for the TV part of the MLB app, so just had Gameday). I am a Desi fan (my dogs get "Ian Desmond cookies" when he does something good, for example). But I'm starting to hear the footsteps myself. And count me as one who would LOVE for JMax to go North with the Yankees. I really would.

  74. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    I am a Desi hater — his game has holes you could drive farm equipment through. Davey Johnson wants to win? Having a leadoff man is badly suited for the gig as Desmond makes that very hard. Having a SS with such eratic D as Desmond brings makes it that much harder. He's bad. People need to see him for what he is — I scrub. Talent? Yes. Execution? NO.The Espi to SS and Lombo to 2B combo cannot have downside compared to the Desmond at SS and Espi at 2B model. You get better D and better O with Lombo in there. Desmond should go back to the farm out of ST and drive some of that farm equipment around AAA for a while before he's even on the roster, much less the annointed starter for the Nats at SS for a third failing year.

  75. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    People need to see him for what he is — I scrub.No, we don't. We can see him amy way we like.

  76. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    You can see Desmond as Robin Yount or as Ernie Banks or as some other grand or even not so grand performer in-wating all you want. He's objectively bad, and he has never been very good. Ever. Desmond's glove has been lead at every level. And over his 1,000 AB's in MLB he's not done well by any standard you want to employ. Sure, nice speed, and the tools are there. But he has no clue how to perate the tools and he's not getting better. If you want the club to win, if you want the club to chase a playoff spot, then you can't rationally think that Ian Desmond is your best bet. See him for what he is, not "I scrub", but simply a scrub. he's not a MLB caliber staring player much less a qulaity leadoff man. He needs to go.

  77. ehay2k - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Interesting comment on Nationals Prospects: "Bryce Harper got his first hit since returning from a calf injury, going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts on the afternoon while playing CF. He had no defensive chances, but once again strayed too far afield on the gameโ€™s final play, and arguably distracting RF Brett Carroll, whose throw was well up the 1B line."What is that last line referring to? Did anyone see the play in question?Also, Desi is NOT a scrub. He is just wildly inconsistent. I believe he will improve under Davey. The one thing you can't argue with is his cannon of an arm. Lombo couldn't make a throw yesterday that Desi routinely makes to beat the runner at first. Of course, Desi has to catch the ball first, but when he is on, he is better than Lombo at SS.My 2 cents, and since it's Friday, and St. Patrick's day is tomorrow, the weekend will be a marathon, not a sprint. Add to that, I just bought 1 case (6 four packs) of Guinness plus one can at a store just south of me, meaning I just brought the best 25 north.Happy Friday all! (Will repost that last bit on the next thread – lookout!)

  78. gonatsgo - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Fox and JaneB — also saw "The Franchise" and agree that it was a great moment. I also enjoyed the Buster Posey inside look. They did a great job with it – isn't it going to be the marlins this year? ugh. Although, come to think of it, both teams that have done the series have been a little bit jinxed. hmmmmmm.

  79. gonatsgo - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    ehay2k — saw the play in question on Mid-Atlantic snooze fest, which I watched only so that I could see highlights of the game – they were paltry. The commentators suggested that Bryce ran too far over into right field and startled Carroll, causing him to make a bad throw. The Nats outfield coordinator, Tarrasco said on the air that, while he had not yet seen the play, the fact that Bryce had the instincts and peripheral vision to pull off shows that he is indeed learning the outfield well. On the replay, it did not look like a near miss to me, it looked like he pulled off when he saw Carroll coming on. He feels that Bryce has learned a lot in the last year and is comfortable with him out there. They also discussed Bernadina and all of the outfield prospects. It was actually quite interesting.

  80. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    It would appear that everyone else is posting in the new and improved post.

  81. Gardner - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Getting back to the Space Coast now from the Bronx South. What an insane stadium the Yankees have. Major observations.1.). Lombardozzi looks ready2.) Bryce doesn't (although he has faced some tough pitchers the last 2 days – buts that's the bigs right?)3.). Gio looks real good

  82. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    "Also, Desi is NOT a scrub. He is just wildly inconsistent. I believe he will improve under Davey."Desi cannot get worse! And how many playoff teams have wildly incondidtent defensive SSs?? NONE. He's got to go.

  83. ehay2k - Mar 17, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    Thanks gonatsgo for the info on the play. Harper is under such a microscope that I take any criticism with a lot of salt. Anon @7:19, you appear to have been following the drinking phrases, and probably are in the best shape of your life now. :-)

  84. JaneB - Mar 17, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    gonatsgo…said:also saw "The Franchise" and agree that it was a great moment. I also enjoyed the Buster Posey inside look. They did a great job with it – isn't it going to be the marlins this year? ugh. Although, come to think of it, both teams that have done the series have been a little bit jinxed. hmmmmmm.I'm trying to see where the problem is here. And I can't.Next year, they should profile the PHILLIES. And never the Nats.



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