Skip to content

Nats vs. Marlins (ss) – 3/17/12

Mar 17, 2012, 4:01 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
The Nationals host the Marlins today at Space Coast Stadium.

We're smack dab in the middle of that nebulous period of spring training. It's still too far from Opening Day to make any rash conclusions, but it's just close enough to start wondering about a few things … especially when it comes to nagging injuries.

The Nationals are dealing with several of them right now, highlighted by Michael Morse (lat), Adam LaRoche (ankle) and Rick Ankiel (quad). All are out of the lineup again today, though they were expected to get at-bats in a minor-league game. The Morse injury is particularly curious, because while he's fine swinging a bat, it still hampers his throwing. He's yet to play in left field this spring. Sooner or later, he's got to be able to do that.

As for the biggest injury of camp so far, Chien-Ming Wang is reportedly feeling much better after straining his hamstring on that awkward play Thursday. The club (ie. Davey Johnson) continues to downplay the severity of it, but I still don't see how Wang could be ready to make his first start of the season. Even if the hamstring is healed in the next 2-3 weeks as expected, he'll still need to make at least a couple more spring training or rehab starts before he's ready. Remember, he hasn't even thrown three innings in a game yet. The Nats won't put him out there in a real game until he's established he can go five innings.

Back to today's game, Jordan Zimmermann is on the mound against a Marlins split-squad lineup that will have pitcher Tom Koehler bat even though the Nats are using a DH. Ah, the quirks of spring training. Enjoy the game and the discussion…

MIAMI MARLINS (ss) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Mostly sunny, 80 degrees, Wind 9 mph LF to RF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
DH Mark DeRosa

Read more »

  1. Mark'd - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Bryce Harper is going to flush Koehler today. By the way, who is Koehler?

  2. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Hmmmmm. Nagging injuries in spring training. Where have I heard about that before? Oh, that's right, coming out of every Nats spring training. It's deja vu all over again.

  3. Unkyd - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    …and every other teams spring training …déjà vu, and de rigueur…

  4. Mr. Doggett - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    @Mark'dIf it were Bryce himself talking, he's probably say he's going to s***t all over Koehler.

  5. Mark'd - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Mr. Doggett, hilarious! Hope he does!

  6. Unkyd - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Rats. Can't make it to Duffy's. Wife won't be home, which means I need to be home (up past Frederick) right after work, for some pooch love… I was getting excited to meet a few of y'all. Guess I'll have to wait for a convenient home game… :(

  7. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Toilet jokes?? If it don't fit, don't faucet.

  8. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    TMI, unk. But yanno, we can get you a pooch down here, if it's that crucial.

  9. Section 222 - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Off topic, but I'm still making my way through the condensed games on MLB.com from last season and saw something curious that I had completely forgotten. Thurs. Sept. 8 vs. the Dodgers (the Nats were going to play a doubleheader that day because of the rainout the day before, but the second game was rained out and never made up), bottom of the 5th, one out, score tied at 4, Morse on 1st. Werth crushed a ball to the right field wall, and the Dodger right fielder made what appeared to be a fine leaping catch. Morse retreated to first. The replay showed clearly that the ball actually hit the scoreboard and caromed into the right fielder's glove. No doubt about it, as DJ would say. Werth argued, but not too vociferously (he probably couldn't see it that well). And play resumed. Anyone remember that? What would have happened if the umpires got together and others had seen the carom from a better angle. Morse had gone back to 1st. Would they give Werth a single? A double? If there were instant replay, how would that work?BTW, the Nats lost the game 7-4 when Storen gave up 3 runs in the 9th. He had to be pulled for Colin Balestar to get the last out. Guess we're not going to see that any more.

  10. waddu eye no - Mar 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    don't know about harper and koehler, but id gladly flush the deja vu anonymi. and love the bad puns. but then i'm incorrigible that way.so don't incorrage me.gyfng

  11. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Does anybody have the STraining schedule for tha Harrisburg and Potomac games? I was able to find the schedule for Syracuse. Help please. Thanks.

  12. Unkyd - Mar 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Section 3, My Sofa said…TMI, unk. But yanno, we can get you a pooch down here, if it's that crucial…………………………..Yanno, Sofa… I specifically altered the phrasing, from "I have to be home, to love the pooch", hoping to avoid one of your excellent double-entendres, but, alas, I didn't make it a far enough reach….;-)

  13. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    don't know about harper and koehler, but id gladly flush the deja vu anonymi. LIke to cut the hypocritical typing fingers off of anonymi who like to name themselves waddu eye no? Who the fubar is waddu eye no. Some reprobate from Elijah Dukes land perhaps?

  14. Unkyd - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Humph…. 4 SO innings for Zim…. Where is everybody?

  15. MicheleS - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Unk.. "Where is everybody"Yard work..at least we get to listen to Charlie/Dave

  16. JaneB - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    I'm arriving late to the party…busy Saturday…and am disappointed I won't get to meet you at Duffy's Unkyd.mi think we are the only two members of the Ian Desmond fan club, and it would have been nice to have a face for your name. By I am fine with your pooch love excuse, and will look forward to another opportunity.

  17. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    JaneB said… Hey,wait a minute. I've defended Ian like he was my son…Aliases UNTERP

  18. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Flores is looking extremely good … have to wonder if the Rays might yet accept a package of players including Flores for Upton … but they are like the O's when it comes to making trades with Rizzo.

  19. jeeves - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    JaneB, I have put up quite a few comments supporting Desi. They were generally ignored as are most of my comments–sigh. I even went so far as to study all his splits and wrote that 80% of his major league career, Desmond has been quite solid offensively. Wasn't ignored that time, just shot down by a Desi hater or two who said that stats could be manipulated to show anything. I never was sure what part of 80% they didn't get. And the same people jump all over his errors (granted there are too many) convienently ignoring his outstanding range and great arm, not to mention that he dropped said errors by a third in one year.Oh, I'm also a Detwiler fan and believe he will be very good.

  20. St. Patrick's Ghost - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    You Nats fans should be out drinking and wearing green!

  21. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Like it not JaneB Desmond got together with his high school baseball coach and changed everything eroding all the progress he made at the end of last season. Fortunately for him, Espinosa's spring hitting hasn't frightened the opposition. Meanwhile Lombardozzi looks more and more like a lead-off hitter without a position.

  22. waddu eye no? no more - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    ohhh. just playing. but rather than risk dismemberment, no more flush talk from me.

  23. Unkyd - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Still loving Desi, but Lombo is certainly making a case….

  24. NatsLady - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Waddu eye no is a singer. That's all the qualifications he/she needs to be a top baseball analyst. 'Nuff said.

  25. jeeves - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Agreed, Unkyd. Even I would trade Desi and a couple more for that elusive center fielder.

  26. Guiness is best - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Looks to me like some of the NRI/potential bench players are falling off the radar. Teahen and Tracy don't seem to have it any more and Michaels, with an uncharacteristic couple of errors, may be wearing out their welcome. DeRosa on the other hand appears to be a shoe-in. Should be interesting to see which of the young-uns stays up.

  27. Unkyd - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Yay!!! Scary MPHRod makes an appearance!! Batters need to be reminded, once in awhile….hehe…..

  28. Section 222 - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    I'm a Desi doubter, and I'm afraid that his appearance on the CSN special the other night where he disputed that Werth had had a bad season in 2011 and gave him credit for the Nats becoming a .500 team didn't improve my opinion of him. (Bad hitter plus either clueless analyst or full of BS is not an appealing combination.) I'm sorry he'll be on a long leash this year. If Lombardozzi is for real, perhaps that might encourage DJ to give Plan B a try. I fear, however, that Lombo's September might be a better predictor of his ability than his Spring Training. Hoping for the best though. And for Morse to get healthy.

  29. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Section 222 said… LOL…

  30. Mark'd - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Bryce Harper with all line drives today.

  31. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    I'm sorry he'll be on a long leash this year. If Lombardozzi is for real, perhaps that might encourage DJ to give Plan B a try. I'll go out on a limb section 222 and say his high school baseball coach experiment lasts through April. If he is hitting below .200 with almost as low an OBP you'll see Lombardozzi inserted into games in key situations eventually starting. Desmond doesn't get the UTIL job I suspect Rizzo sends him back to Syracuse since he has options to work on his hitting and brings someone in who can provide offense.Because let's face it … this spring is a harbinger of what is to come … low scoring close games won on pitching and defense. Davey isn't going to be happy with silent bats.

  32. NatsLady - Mar 17, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Because let's face it … this spring is a harbinger of what is to come … low scoring close games won on pitching and defense.Or tied.

  33. Cwj - Mar 17, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Wow, Ryan Braun just got majorly booed in a game against the Angels.Lots of uh, words, were directed at him by the fans during his at bat. You could here most of them because of the small stadium.

  34. sm13 - Mar 17, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    I'm starting to get seriously worried about Morse. We don't really have a plan B for LF. Roger cannot be the plan.

  35. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 17, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    cue Mr. Applegate in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  36. lesatcsc - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Did anyone notice that Pudge apparently just turned down an invitation to the Royals camp? According to MLB Trade Rumours, he told them he still wants to play at some point but …

  37. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Still no production from the top of the batting order–Desmond and Espinosa Off of what I have seen this spring, I suspect it is going to be another difficult year offensively. If Morse can't play, this team is in deep doo-doo.

  38. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Did anyone notice that Pudge apparently just turned down an invitation to the Royals camp? He may be waiting for the Nats … and catching Strasburg. A propitious trade of Flores along with a package other players could turn up that CF … but Harper is not a potential fixture in center … … so since KC wants a catcher … and since KC has a good bevy of prospects? Perhaps Lannan plus Flores plus ??? for close-to-major league ready prospects … You never know?I'm starting to get seriously worried about Morse. We don't really have a plan B for LF. Roger cannot be the plan.Hmmm I think Morse will be there and so will Bernadina … right now the backup appears to be Corey Brown followed by Hood and Perez.

  39. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    but Harper is not a potential fixture in center … but Harper is now a potential fixture in center field …

  40. Bups - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    The sad truth is that neither Desmond nor Espinosa can hit major league pitching. Both are strikeout machines. Batting them at the top of the order is lethal. Worse yet, there isn't another option.

  41. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    I'm starting to get seriously worried about Morse. We don't really have a plan B for LF. Roger cannot be the plan.Nats management including Davey are very much inclined to go young. Except in special cases (Werth being the only one … perhaps Lidge). We're just going to have to be patient.As I said above I expect to see a trade to provide more prospects to replace the many lost in the offseason. Also expect JayB's international signing. Its a lot of work for Rizzo convincing the other teams and the Lerner's plus Steering committee. Its going to require our patience …

  42. Cue Crabby Appleton .... - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    err Section 3 My Sofa …cue Mr. Applegate in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  43. Traveler8 - Mar 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    @lesatcsc, thanks for the update on Pudge – I have been wondering where he would land (or not). I read Chris Coste's book, the 33 Year Old Rookie, (back when he was briefly a Nat) and that made it clear how much catchers are needed at spring training, because there are so many pitchers who need to get in form. My sense on Pudge is that he does not just go anywhere, but waits until the end of spring training by which time someone's catcher or backup catcher will be injured, and they really need and want someone like him. He is so good at staying in shape he does not need spring training like a lot of players.

  44. natsfan1a - Mar 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    We were at the DC Travel and Adventure show.MicheleS said… Unk.. "Where is everybody" Yard work..at least we get to listen to Charlie/Dave March 17, 2012 2:26 PM

  45. Sunderland - Mar 17, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    And if Pudge has an options, more than one team extending an offer / invite, he is going to go where he senses he might get the most PT and AB's. And in my thinking, that is not likely to be in DC. Only with both trade and injury. But even if we have an injury at C, he would still be a once a week player behind Flores or Ramos. Don't hold your breath on Pudge signing in DC. Can't see it happening.

  46. fast eddie - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    To jeeves/JaneB/Unkyd:I'm a neutral observer re: Desi–If you were Davey, how long would you give him this year before replacing him at SS and/or lead-off?

  47. Unkyd - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Eddie…. Interesting question. I guess that's why it keeps getting asked. I think I've been of the "give him til ASB to work it out" school, since mid summer, last year. I reckon I'd still like to see that, but this high school coach business, after Davy seemed to have him headed in the right direction, the last few weeks of last year, well… He didn't do himself any favors, there. Last year, the anti crowd wanted h gone, even though there wasn't an obvious replacent. Now Lombo looks like someone who can get on base…which is the biggest hole on this club, right now. Add to that that Rendon seems like hell be knocking on the door this time next year, well, I seems to me that Desi needs to crank it up, NOW… If he wants to make the decision to go with Lombo a hard one, he prolly needs to be on base, every game, and nearly flawless, on D… cause we now have other guys who can get it done… Still rooting for him, if nothing else, I'd like to see him become desirable to other teams…. We'll see….

  48. NatsLady - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Our Rule 5 guy, Eric Komatsu, playing for the Cards is on the MLB.tv archive for today's game if you are curious to see him play. Getting some love from the announcers. Went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.

  49. JaneB - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    A shout out to Jeeves…I had forgotten that you were the source of the Desi numbers. And Cease…you are also UNTERP.!? I love Desi and am falling in like with Lombo. What I do know is either Desi will start to get it again, or he will not be with us and Lombo will be. I missed the news that it was the high school coach who messed up his swing…I was wondering how it got "remade" — guess I'm not as big of a Desi fan as I thought, to have missed it.In other news, I love love love Pudge, but I know if he is with us, it means Flores or Wilson is injured. So I'd rather see him with another team.

  50. gonatsgo - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Been gone all day and expected to do some catching up on news from the game today, only to find that the discussions during the game were about Desi ( again) and Pudge and not about the actual game. Sounds like ZNN was solid and Harper got an XBH. That all? Anything else worth noting? I am guessing that we did not have anyone posting directly from the game today.

  51. jeeves - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Good question, Fast eddie. Don't have a good answer, but I'd have a short leash for him in the lead off position, no more than three weeks to a month. If the errors continued at a high rate, and the hitting was also poor, it would be tempting to start making a major move inside six weeks. And no, even then I don't believe he would take the nats out of contention single handed in that time.

  52. sjm308 - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    Fast Eddie – that is a good question and only Davey will honestly know the answer. I will say that Davey will give him a month if he is struggling and no more.JaneB – don't go blaming the HS coach. I am pretty sure I read that Desmond came to him and the fact that he is not hitting doesn't mean anyone but Desmond "messed up". I have liked Desmond and will not be giving up on him at this point but the reality is, Lombo has worked hard to get to this point and has earned his shot. Will they move Espinosa to SS or play Lombo there if Desmond does fail?

  53. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 18, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    Crabby Appleton (rotten to the core), please tell me I don't need to explain that.

  54. lesatcsc - Mar 18, 2012 at 5:17 AM

    "Will they move Espinosa to SS or play Lombo there if Desmond does fail?"Goodness, I hope so! Desmond has been a big time failure so far. I know everyone loves his attitude and potential, and more to the point, I know Rizzo and others have put huge credibility points on the line in Desi's defence, but at the end of the day he has for two full years steadfastly refused to deliver that potential. Some guys never do. Desmond increasingly looks like one of them.Don't get me wrong, I would love to see him suddenly become a guy that gets on base, hits for average has some pop and fields well, but then I would be happy if the popcorn vendor suddenly emerged as that "guy". I just see nothing that indicates that Desmond is that guy. Two weeks is what I would give him, then it is time to experiment with an Espi/Lombo duo. Let's face it, without a third OF, if Desmond lays an egg, this team is going nowhere, fabulous pitching notwithstanding.

  55. Oldguy - Mar 18, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    I've seen five games in Florida and more on TV before I came down here. Tigers today, then long drive home. Been following this game a long time–waited over 60 years for my other team to win the series. Then they won two in four years. Now I'm Nats all the way. (I did catch one game at Fenway South; the Sox will always be my other team. How long have I been doing this?–I remember the year Ted hit .406.)So far, here's my thinking. We should see 85 wins as a goal; but above .500 is a minimum. Probably unrealistic to think playoffs this year, but there are reasons to hope. Solid pitching and defense. Lots of hustle on the field. If the offense kicks in, then maybe.Desi made a hell of a play yesterday and hit the ball hit for a line drive out to left. Lombo looks great, but he's a rookie. Danny can hit, but will he? Not much else in the system to beef offense so far, but we'll see what happens at Syracuse, Harrisburg and Potomac.I'm in here every day but say little. Lots of wisdom, some foolishness, but I enjoy it. Patience, my friends. Waiting is hard, but when you get there, the longer it took, the sweeter it is.

  56. natsfan1a - Mar 18, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    If so, we may have to revoke a DC baseball fan card. :-)Section 3, My Sofa said… Crabby Appleton (rotten to the core), please tell me I don't need to explain that. March 18, 2012 12:01 AM

  57. natsfan1a - Mar 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Sorry you can't make it, Unk, but I understand pet care issues. Unkyd said… Rats. Can't make it to Duffy's. Wife won't be home, which means I need to be home (up past Frederick) right after work, for some pooch love… I was getting excited to meet a few of y'all. Guess I'll have to wait for a convenient home game… :( March 17, 2012 12:44 PM

  58. natsfan1a - Mar 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Thanks for your post, Oldguy.Speaking of, um, age-related matters, Bos has a piece about the aging Phillies. It's a cheery top-of-the-morning-to-you read well, unless you're a Phillies Phan, but then why would you be reading here of you were, anyway, so never mind). :-)

  59. natsfan1a - Mar 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Oh, I was supposed to have this "(" after "read," but evidently I dropped it. Yeah, and that should have been "if you were." Um, where's my coffee and why aren't the proofreaders on the job yet??

  60. Constant Reader - Mar 18, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    My season ticket brunch is this morning. It is the day my Nats flag goes back out on the front porch. I wrote this for my seatmates. 12 questions for '12. I thought I'd share it with my friends here as you enjoy your Sunday morning.1. How many games will the Nats win? Our franchise high since coming to DC is 81 in 2005. DC baseball best is 99 in 1933. Average1933 attendance = 5,719; BTW, the pre-2005 top attendance was 13,254 in 1946. 2. Will the Nats play post season baseball? Our franchise last appeared in the post season in 1981; DC’s last post-season baseball was 1933.3. Who will lead the Nats in hitting (average for qualifying hitters)?Last year’s leader was Michael Morse; previous leaders include Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young.4. Who will leader the Nats in HRs?Last year’s leader was Michael Morse; previous leaders include Jose Guillen and Lastings Milledge.5. Who will lead the Nats in wins? Last year’s leader was John Lannan; previous leaders include Ramon Ortiz, Jon Rauch and Tyler Clippard.6. Who will lead the Nats in strikeouts?Last year’s leader was J Zimmermann; previous leaders include John Patterson, Matt Chico and Tim Redding.7. On what day will Bryce Harper make his major league debut? 8. Which Nat(s) will make the All-Star team? Last year’s All-Star was Tyler Clippard.9. What player(s) on the opening day roster will be traded during the season (you can answer ‘none’)?10. Will Jayson Werth topic his career average (.264/.464/.824) in two of those three categories? Last year’s numbers for Werth were .232/.389/.718.11. Which Nat will get the most Cy Young votes (you can answer ‘none’)?Last year’s none of the Nats pitchers received votes. 12. Which Nat will get the most MVP votes (you can answer ‘none’)?Last year’s Michal Morse finished 19th in NL voting.

  61. fast eddie - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    To Unkyd/jeeves/sjm308/JaneB:From reading these posts, it sounds like you're the last remaining members of the Desi fan club, and having some doubts.I know ST stats are supposed to be meaningless, but I have a concern–Desi: .188BA AND .188OBP.That tells me no walks in 14 games–not a hopeful sign for a lead-off guy.

  62. natsfan1a - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Fast eddie, the fact that four people expressed positive thoughts in this thread doesn't mean that they're the only fans who are in Desi's corner.

  63. fast eddie - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    To natsfan1a:OK, you're #5 in the Desi fan club.Hey, I agree with lesatcsc: find somebody, anybody (including the popcorn guy) who can get on base at least equal to the MLB avg. of .340 vs. Desi's career OBP of .304.

  64. natsfan1a - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Actually, I'm rooting for all the Nats. My point was that a small number of posts don't necessarily represent the entire fanbase, or even all of those fans who post here.In other news, was looking at Tweeter pages and noticed this revised Yanks lineup as posted by Dan Kolko (in light of Pettite's comeback). LOL at the first ump on the list. :-)http://twitter.com/#!/DanKolko/status/180791482817585152/photo/1

  65. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Question (because I don't know where to find the answer): does Desmond have any options left?

  66. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Was Mort on t.v. yesterday — He looks like the pudgy nerd ball who couldnt make the baseball team in high school but settled for team manager: "Uh, come get your shower towels, guys."Not that he doesn't know his baseball, but what A Super Geek! I bet he got his ass kicked each and every day when he was a kid. I know I surely would have kicked it (for fun) many times.

  67. Anonymous - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Nats signed Xavier Nady. Morse must be more seriously injured than they are letting on.

  68. JaneB - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Wow! Gulp. But not in a Gulp! BANG! way.

  69. Joe Seamhead - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    I've been a luke warm Desi supporter, but though still rooting for him, he's looking pretty suspect. The Phiily blogs seem to be more pessimistic then ever today. Howard is looking less and less likely for a return before mid-summer at best. Utley's knees are questionable. They might depend on Mayberry at first, and Polanco sprained a finger to add to his body parts breaking down, Rollins is not quite the lead off guy he used to be, Nix may end up the primary LF [and he will love the RF porch when he's batting], Halliday is looking pretty rough, and they cut Dontrelle Willis. Ty Wiggington and Jim Thome are the primary bench players. I'm telling you, Philly will not even make the playoffs.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 56 --
ATLANTA 68 64 7.5
MIAMI 65 66 10.0
NEW YORK 62 70 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 60 72 15.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:35 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
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.
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.

Follow us on Twitter