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Nats vs. Mets – 3/20/12

Mar 20, 2012, 9:30 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg faces the Mets tonight at DigitalDomain Park.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Stephen Strasburg is going to see plenty of the Mets over the course of this season and future ones, so might as well get used to facing New York's lineup here in spring training. Tonight, the presumptive ace of the Nationals' staff gets a chance to go up against Jason Bay, Ike Davis and others as the NL East rivals meet in Port St. Lucie. Strasburg wasn't great his last time out, getting hit around a bit by the Braves, so you would imagine he'll be motivated to put forth a strong outing tonight.

The Nationals' lineup features an interesting twist, something we could see from time to time this season: Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa all starting, batting 1-through-3 in manager Davey Johnson's lineup. Johnson believes he can get Lombardozzi 300 at-bats over the full season if he plays multiple positions, and one of those positions will be third base (with Ryan Zimmerman getting the occasional day off).

Johnson also acknowledged today he has considered giving Lombardozzi some time in the outfield. He hasn't spoken to the rookie infielder yet about it, but Johnson likens Lombardozzi to Ben Zobrist, the Rays' super utilityman who came up as a middle infielder but has seen considerable time in the outfield so far in his career. Certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward…

If you've got the online package, you can watch tonight's game live. If you've got the urge to stay up until 3 a.m., you watch it tape delayed on MLB Network. Everyone else can just check back right here as I provide updates throughout live from DigitalDomain Park…

Where: DigitalDomain Park, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 6:05 p.m.
TV: (live), MLB Network (tape delayed at 3 a.m.)
Radio: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 16 mph in from RF

3B Steve Lombardozzi
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Mark DeRosa

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  1. JaneB - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Oh, how sweet to have Mark live blogging it for us once more! Thanks, Mark!Lombo, make your mark! Ian, get on base however you can. Nats, beat Dillon Gee!

  2. JaneB - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    (little game time error there, but it's still ST)

  3. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Thanks, JaneB. Obviously tonight's game starts at 6:05 p.m., not 1:05 p.m.Like most players who miss game action for two weeks down here, I need a little time to get back to 100 percent!

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Hey Mark….with David Wrights injury aren't we looking at the 2012 Mets starting line up?

  5. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Espinosa in the clesnup slot–what a joke!

  6. Oldguy - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    From the Post: "The Nationals’ plans to flee their spring training home in Viera for Florida’s west coast are gaining traction, with a move to Fort Myers growing more likely."That would be City of Palms Park, just vacated by the Red Sox for their new park, "Fenway South," also in Fort Myers. COP Park has capacity of 7,000, while JetBlue (FS) has 11,000 (still sells out every game.)The Twins are also in Fort Myers, and the Rays, O's and Pirates are fairly close.Fort Myers is a beautiful city, but everything there would be more expensive than in Melbourne/Viera.Serious negotiations are underway, the Post says. I was at JetBlue last Monday and there was a lot of talk about the Nats coming.

  7. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Oh, I stand corrected–it's DeRosa. Now I feel much better.

  8. NatsLady - Mar 20, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Got the email for my tickets– scheduled for delivery March 26…. Will be holding my breath! (OK, maybe not holding it for six days.)

  9. David - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    could Lombo play CF. i know from time to time this exact scenario has been brought up. but i forget what the consensus is? he is a great athlete. i think his instincts would be good enough for CF, reading the ball correctly etc. maybe that's how Lombo will reach 300 at bats?

  10. Unkyd - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Wow. Total audio blackout… Not even the Mets feed, on MLB…

  11. Hondo69 - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Just a reminder to everyone: tonight's game is on SNY live at 6pm. If you can't watch it live or get SNY (Ch. 639 on DirecTV), it is also being tape-delayed at 3am on MLB Network.

  12. Unkyd - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Weird, tonite…. I don't see a comment, since 6:13…. Wonder if a dozen will pop up, when I publish this…..

  13. P. Cole - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Does anybody know the probably starting pitchers for the rest of the week, especially Saturday @ the Orioles?

  14. LoveDaNats - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    And Strassie's the one with the hit?

  15. David - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    and Strasburg gets his first hit of the spring….

  16. Sunderland - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    I don't know what has been announced, but it looks to me like they are lining them up, Stras, Gio, Zinn, Ejax and so perhaps Lannan Saturday.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Very conncerned with team not improving. Espinosa K's AGAIN!

  18. Exposremains - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    I know its still spring but I haven't seen anything that tells me that this team will be better offensively. Can anybody give something so I feel more optimistic.

  19. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Exposremains:Matt Stairs is gone.That's the best I can do for optimism.The "new" left-handed Espinosa looks a lot like last year's model.

  20. HHover - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    ExposremainBaseball Prospectus projects the Nats to score 704 runs this season, vs 624 last season.Don't know how much that'll do for you, but it's something, I guess.

  21. LoveDaNats - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    We need guys who hit.

  22. m20832 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Morse isn't healthy, RZimm isn't playing. Werth isn't in the lineup. There's your offense. Don't want to beat a dead horse, but Fielder would have come to Washington.Oh…well…GYFNG!!!

  23. Dead Horse - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Don't want to beat a dead horse, but Fielder would have come to Washington.Stop beating me!!!

  24. sjm308 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    85 pitches! He is ready right now and we still have two weeks. Can't wait to hear the negative spin on this one. My half full glass just got a little more ice in it!!

  25. Exposremains - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    sjm308The negative spin is that the Nats couldn't score for him, he's in line for a loss

  26. Anonymous - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    At this rate it's 1970's record all over again. Way to many holes in this lineup.

  27. A DC Wonk - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    OK — I have no facts, or even specific recollections to back this up — just a vague recollection (you know, it comes with the territory of getting older 😉 — but:Doesn't it seem familiar for Stras (or, perhaps another of the younger pitchers, or both?) the the ump misses a called strike three, th epitcher gets distracted and/or loses concentration, and on the next pitch, the batter does damage?Am I remembering right?(If so, it's a good spring training lesson for Stras)

  28. A DC Wonk - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    At this rate it's 1970's record all over again. Way to many holes in this lineup.Wanna bet?

  29. Dead Horse's Wife - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    He's gonna beat you off all night

  30. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Another Loss, Should Davey Just quit now? LOL

  31. David - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    C Brown will get a hit that leads to a run, and maybe we can get Stras a no decision…. Just a prediction :-)

  32. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    You guys are the typical fans. Love them until they lose. I have seen fans from many teams thru the years on blog sites. You hate all the older players. You can only talk about Harper. Who? You most likely sat the bench in school. For once back your team.

  33. Unkyd - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    GO TEAM!!!!(boy… Some mouth on that dead horse's wife, huh?)

  34. SBrent - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    Thanks Hondo! Your timely reminder has me watching my first baseball game of the spring in hi-def on SNY. Benefit for being up here in NYC.

  35. Wally - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Just tuned in to to see HRod pitch the 7th (already was 1 out). Walked a guy, then got a DP. He faced some guy named Johnson, first pitch FB, then a slider which had the guy so locked up and scared it was a FB coming at him it made me laugh.Of course I say that, but there is no way that I would get in the box against him. They also mentioned that HRod had the highest FB average velocity in the majors last season 98 mph).Looking forward to the regular season.

  36. Wally - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Hey SteveM – are you out there? Can you share the Lannan rumor that you had, now that a few days have passed?

  37. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Oh, I'd leave her mouth out of it before this blog gets an R rating!

  38. gonatsgo - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    Wow – just got in and the game is about over already. I checked gameday and I have no idea who some of these players are that are apparently on our team. Glad to see Stammen get an inning – always had a soft spot for him.

  39. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Well – no offense tonight, but no errors either and Ian drew a walk. How much koolaid is in your glass tonight?

  40. LoveDaNats - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    @anon at 8:16You can still love a team and be disappointed with the offense on any given night.Stammen looked decent.

  41. sjm308 - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Not only do I love the team, I love the game of baseball and the fact that it can be 1-0 one night and 8-7 the next. Its 162 games and you never know what you are going to see. All this angst and yet its DC, we have a team that has improved each year for the last 3 and I am thinking this will be a great season.Lots of people will go to bed with their glass half empty tonight with the lack of offense but I look at SS, HRod, Desmond with a hit and a walk and my glass stays half full. Go Nats!!(and our tickets arrived but my guy didn't call until tonight!) Life is good!!

  42. Natalicious - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    Man we had some pathetic guys on the field at the end of this game. Pathetic. Are we really this shallow as a team?

  43. C.Cohen - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    Relax people, no need to panic yet. I'm not going to pretend that desmond and espi at the top of the order couldn't cause problems, or that ankiel and bernadina could be a real liability when we face a team with decent left handed pitching.But as for tonight… Granted no offense. But if you take the 3-4-5 hitters out of the lineup for almost any team in the league, they are probably going to struggle to score runs (see: no zimmerman, no morse, no laroche).In the mean time, it's good to see the guys work on fundamentals and different approaches on the mound and at the plate.

  44. LoveDaNats - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    Some of those guys were A and AA guys.

  45. JaneB - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Desi did well tonight, you guys, He did.NatsLady, our tickets were to be delivered on March 26, but they went a lot faster and we should have them tomorrow, I think. SO keep an eye on the tracking. I love baseball.

  46. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 21, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    It's an L. Go get 'em tomorrow.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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