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Nats vs. Braves – 3/21/12

Mar 21, 2012, 4:40 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Space Coast Stadium hosts the Braves this afternoon.

VIERA, Fla. — If John Lannan wants to make as strong a case as possible to open the season as the Nationals' No. 5 starter (in place of an injured Chien-Ming Wang), today would represent a golden opportunity. When the left-hander takes the mound shortly at Space Coast Stadium, he'll be facing a pretty good Braves lineup that features Michael Bourn, Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward.

Lannan will have plenty of regulars behind him in the field, with Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth in the Nationals' lineup. No Michael Morse or Adam LaRoche yet, but manager Davey Johnson said both players should be ready to go again beginning Sunday.

It's a cloudy, windy day in Viera with a chance for rain, but this game will start on time. Bob and F.P. have the call on TV, and I'll have updates throughout live from the ballpark…

ATLANTA BRAVES vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: MASN (live), MLB Network (tape delayed at 10 p.m.)
Radio: Braves feed via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 20 mph in from CF

STARTING LINEUPS
NATIONALS
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth

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  1. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 21, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    I predict 1 for 3 and a walk for Ian Desmond…

  2. The Amazing Kreskin - Mar 21, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Too early to predict but no walks and a bunt single.My powers aren't up to snuff. Still working on my follow through.

  3. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    It's the free game of the Day on MLB.TV! Woo Hoo!

  4. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    MASN for me. Woo hoo!

  5. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    MicheleS said… It's the free game of the Day on MLB.TV! Woo Hoo!WoW…Thanks MicheleS

  6. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Giving Chad Tracy every chance to prove he can be that left-hander? He leads the team in RBI but his hitting has been pretty meh … he loses a Bernadina if he picks Tracy and Bernadina has speed and the flexibility to play every outfield position. Can't see that happening at this point.

  7. JaneB - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    FedEx delivered the tickets! I want John to be brilliant today.

  8. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Is it time to panic when Bob and FP are talking about Morse and LaRoche not being ready?Cease: Your welcome on MLBTV! It's awesome!!

  9. Frediemac - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Love watching on my IPAD at work ;)

  10. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    It's a free country, Michele. Feel free to panic anytime, if you think it helps you. I note with approval the pitchers are batting today. C'mon, Long-ball.

  11. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    The Nats FO has a long history of putting a positive spin on serious injuries. There's a long list of them and I think you can add Morse and Laroche to the list.

  12. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Mark, Bourn is too old. They're already saddled with Werth's contract. Let it go Mark. Bourn isn't going to happen … its going to be someone young and preferable with a left-handed bat … THUS Harper, Brown, and perhaps Goodwin? Right? Mark do you see any scary left-handed bats in the Nats lineup that are under 30 and not in decline? NO, you don't now do you?Johnson wants Harper and Brown to succeed because they lack that left-handed hitting component … Brown is a superlative fielder in CF and is younger than Bourn. Harper is learning but could end up in a corner outfield position when all is said and done. And then there's FA BJ Upton who stats indicate he could be about to break out. Bourn ain't happenin' dude.

  13. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Davey says both players should be ready Sunday. Guess we'll see then.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    You might get what you ask for sec3. Lannan is pitching and the Braves will likely eat him alive in the later innings.

  15. Frediemac - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Good job Johnny

  16. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    A couple of pretty close home runs … wind blowing in … uh … me thinks Lannan is again lucky to not be down by 5.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    A few weeks ago, Davey Johnson said Morse could bat but couldn't throw because of his strained lat. Now he's saying Morse can't hit and he can't throw. My point is that the Nats brass is trying to sell tickets. Being forthright about the seriousness of these injuries is inconsistent with that objectve. Add to that, the incompetence of the training staff and you have legitmate reasons to be concerned about any Nationals player who is listed as "day to day".

  18. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Ian got a walk!!!

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Holy Cow! Desmond walked again!

  20. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Loved the Gio interview. Quite a charming young man. FP, flustrated? Umm…

  21. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Are you guys psychic, or what? (Desmond)

  22. Feel Wood - Mar 21, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    A few weeks ago, Davey Johnson said Morse could bat but couldn't throw because of his strained lat. Now he's saying Morse can't hit and he can't throw.No, he's telling him DON'T hit and DON'T throw. Because in order to heal from a muscle strain (which is what this is, as confirmed by MRI) rest is the prescription. And the more rest, the better. Since this is spring training and the games don't count, the prudent course of action is to overdo the rest, which is what's happening. Davey wants Morse to be completely healed before he starts up again, so he won't injure himself again by trying to come back too soon. Again, the fact that there are still two weeks left before Opening Day means there's no reason to rush him back.

  23. Theophilus - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Someone said, "there's FA BJ Upton who stats indicate he could be about to break out."Whose stats have been declining for four years. It's like buying Bank of America stock; can't go nowhere but up. Whatta breakout that will be.

  24. sjm308 - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Feel is right here – the rest is prescribed by both trainers and medical staff and Davey is listening to them and being cautious. Also tells me they have confidence in our depth (unlike JayB) and are not in panic mode. Looks like the DeRosa signing is even more important now. Got to believe Morse is going crazy because it probably feels ok when he is just hanging around the team. Also believe that they are probably running the heck out of him because there is no strain on the lat with that. Run and Stretch with a little massage and electric stim mixed in. Its a rough life.

  25. Schumatrix - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Desmond is so frustrating. He has a great at bat, then goes out and commits an error on a pretty easy ball. Ugh…

  26. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    How can anybody possibly be a fan of Jayson Werth? He is just awful. This signing will continue to haunt this organization for the next 6 years. 4th place here we come…that is, if we can even beat out the Mets!!!

  27. Feel Wood - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Run and Stretch with a little massage and electric stim mixed in. Its a rough life. If the magical Tatiana is still working for the Nats, that could be the best thing that ever happened to him.

  28. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Does anyone know who the fat guy is in the Nats spring training bullpen? He always wears a warm-up jacket so you can't see the name on his uniform. He looks like a much larger John Lannan. I don't think he is a player or coach but he sat in the bullpen during every game last week.Who knows? Please help!

  29. sm13 - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Wow, we got a hit!

  30. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Better yet, we got a run!

  31. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Nilson Robeldo?

  32. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    They're going to rule that a wild pitch because it bounced? Sucks for Hanson, that only got away because McCann was coming up to throw–nice job Zimm to draw that would-be throw, get their attention. (Carp and FP have been ambiguous on what the call actually was, might be a passed ball after all.) And now it costs him a go-ahead run, maybe the game for all we know now. Not that McCann hasn't bailed his staff out a few times.

  33. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Haha. The bullpen catcher, Robledo, looks nothing like Lannan! This is a fat middle-aged white guy who was not participating in any baseball activities. Who is he?

  34. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Craig Heist said WP but Bob said PB. Evidently they use hand signals to indicate the scoring (two fingers for the catcher).

  35. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    The security guard?

  36. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Dozer with a windblown OF chance.

  37. Feel Wood - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    From now on, just call him Steve Lombardzobrist.

  38. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Not a security guard. He is with the Nats (hat, cleats, baseball pants, jacket, chewing seeds, etc.).

  39. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Spin Williams?

  40. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Anonymous said… How can anybody possibly be a fan of Jayson Werth? He is just awful. This signing will continue to haunt this organization for the next 6 years. 4th place here we come…that is, if we can even beat out the Mets!!!wanna bet?

  41. JaneB - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    IAN!!!!

  42. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Standing next to Wonk in my Werth Jersey.

  43. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Oh well.(I thought it looked like you, MicheleS. :-))

  44. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Oh well = was hoping to add a run there.

  45. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Welcome back, Rick.

  46. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Thanks!

  47. sjm308 - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Feel: yes she is!DC Womk – I will join you on that bet – playoffs, here we come

  48. Section 222 - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Cease the Opportunity said… I predict 1 for 3 and a walk for Ian Desmond… March 21, 2012 12:42 PMUm, I think if Desi makes an out the next time up, you called it. Wow.

  49. sjm308 - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Wonk, Womk, whatever.

  50. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Section 222 said… Hope I'm wrong and he gets a hit…

  51. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    I'm wrong!

  52. Cwj - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Interestingly, the 2 likeliest teams to fight for a wild card spot are the Nats and the Braves. These two teams are very close, and their regular season games should be intense.The Marlins are over-rated, and the Mets are bad.The Phillies are getting old and creaky pretty fast, but may have enough pitching to win the division.

  53. Joe Seamhead - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Anon 2:15 go play in traffic somewhere. Wonk, I'm with you. I still think the same about Werth as I did when the trade was announced; He brings Natitude to D.C.

  54. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Me, too, on Werth.

  55. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    That would be Mr. Ankiel. :-)Welcome back, Rick.

  56. Cwj - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Just to clarify, I said "..the 2 likeliest teams to fight for a wild card spot.."I meant in the NL East. The best division :-)

  57. Mark'd - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Lombo in Left

  58. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    I hate my boss. I have a meeting on 4/3 at 9 am. it's going to be questionable if I can get out in time to go to the BoSox game. Just imagine all the expletives that I have been thinking all afternoon long! Geesh don't people know that baseball season is starting!

  59. NatsFanJim - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    I wonder how long Davey will hang with Desmond if his fielding remains suspect. If he was a .300 hitter that would be different; but if he hits his usual — with high k's — how long to make a change. And what would that change look like?

  60. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Perry is a bum.Blown save and Loss for Perry and a Ride to Syracuse

  61. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Anonymous said… Perry is a bum.But Espi's going 0-4 with a DP and leaving 5 men on base is OK? Because, you know, we can pick on the new guy.

  62. NatsFanJim - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    Yawn!! It's the spring –

  63. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    DC Wonk your right. The way Espi and Desi are playing the Mets may get 4th place this season.

  64. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    … and Espi's error in the 10th.(Note to all: I'm not picking on Espi. What I am complaining about is that certain players get all the criticism, and others never get any. And I hate seeing a 25 yr old kid who plays for the good guys, who's trying his best to make the team, after pitching in the playoffs last year, being called a "bum".).

  65. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Anonymous said… DC Wonk your right. The way Espi and Desi are playing the Mets may get 4th place this season.You think the Nats will finish fifth?I'll bet you that the Nats finish higher than fifth. Put your money where your mouth is.

  66. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Pretty good day for Desi at the plate.

  67. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Good game for FP, too. Bringing it with broadcaster ST drills and an Enrico Palazzo reference.

  68. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Not a bad day for Lannan, either. Gotta hate on somebody, right? ;-)

  69. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Er, LannEn.

  70. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Perry hitting for himself. Davey, when we say GYFNG, we didn't mean Go HOME.Absolutely NO CHANCE Perry gets a hit here…

  71. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Are there no players left?

  72. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    All right, tried for the reverse there. Oh well.

  73. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Will somebody please tell Rizzo that a team needs to score runs to win ball games!

  74. Unkyd - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Tomorrow: Desmond goes 4-4, with a walk…. Hits for cycle… Hey…. The earlier predictions paid off, right?

  75. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Anonymous said… Will somebody please tell Rizzo that a team needs to score runs to win ball games!Whoa!! Good point!! How insightful!! Nobody in the front office thought of that before!!

  76. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    The Nationals are qiuckly acquiring a losing culture again the year, just like they do every season. Then, that culture moves right into the regular season.

  77. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    I really don't think they have

  78. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I really don't think they have figured out they need to score runs Wonk

  79. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Carpenter said that La Rosa was the only one left on the list, but that he'd likely gotten all his work in and gone home. (What a bum! :-))A DC Wonk said… Are there no players left? March 21, 2012 4:18 PM

  80. gonatsgo - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    It's spring training – breathe.

  81. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Did I mention that Durbin had a good day as well? And the would-be bench guys?

  82. Steady Eddie - Mar 21, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Really, neganons, chill out.Batting Perry in the 9th is a good example of how Davey's a players' manager. He knows Perry long ago in ST lost whatever microscopic chance he had of making the 25 (after all, he was traded mostly for his option). Perry blew the save and then got the loss because of Espi's boot, and he'll likely be sent down within the week. So letting him bat is saying I'm not Joe Girardi, I don't want you to care about the outcome of these ST games — and Perry, as you're going to be sent down shortly and as a reliever, will never bat in a game that means anything, I want you to go our there and just have a little fun. (Though looking at strike three suggests Perry may not have gotten into the spirit of the thing.)The regulars and marginal players all notice these things. They're going to give more to the team and have more respect for Davey when it counts.

  83. A DC Wonk - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Anonymous said… I really don't think they have figured out they need to score runs I agree with you! Well, at least I agree with the first four words of what you wrote. Then you went off the deep end. It's ok, though, I'm just poking fun at you, because nobody around here who is an actual Nat fan takes what you wrote with even a drop of seriousness.Steady Eddie — you make a great point, and I can completely see it. While Davey may spin the media like a top — he's a big supporter of his own players, and he's straight with them.(I don't know how many are familiar with the anecdote of when Davey managed, I think it was the 2008 USA Baseball team, and he cracked up the players in the first meeting when he concluded with something like, "hell, let's not have any signs" (for steals, sacs, etc.). He wanted them to loosen up and have fun.)

  84. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    I was getting concerned, so I checked the Nats schedule. Much to my relief, today was just a practice game.

  85. JaneB - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Unkyd, I can't wait to laud you for the accurate prediction!But that makes me wonder: if someone DOES hit for the cycle in ST, or pitches a perfect game…does it count? I guess they'd yank the pitcher early, even if he was working on something beautiful. Anyway — what happens to stats like that? I know SOMEONE out there knows.

  86. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Quick ST Question:Were the red carpet rewards cards cards supposed to come in the package? Or does that come separately?

  87. Cwj - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    What Steady Eddie and DC Wonk said :-)Losing culture, Anon? Come on. That wasn't even the case last year when they were 80-81!The Team is upbeat about this year and I am too!No, the lineup wont exactly strike fear into opponents, but the pitching staff sure will.Go Nats!

  88. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    MicheleS said… "Were the red carpet rewards cards cards supposed to come in the package? Or does that come separately?"If you were a STH last year you should already have them.

  89. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    JaneB said… "But that makes me wonder: if someone DOES hit for the cycle in ST, or pitches a perfect game…does it count? I guess they'd yank the pitcher early, even if he was working on something beautiful. Anyway — what happens to stats like that? I know SOMEONE out there knows."Other than floating somewhere in the ethersphere, those records are kept in the same place as the results of all the games you played as a kid.

  90. NatsLady - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    The best example of Davey being a players' manager was the game last fall in Florida when it was raining and miserable and the Marlins' pitcher was retiring, and Davey basically "gave up" on the game so the guys could go home. I think it was the next to last game, and it meant the Nats were not going to have a record above .500 and fans were bleating. Riggs would have put in every relief pitcher and played 17 innings (like the year before). The players will not forget that, and they will play their hearts out for a manager like Davey.

  91. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    New STH this year, so I don't have a rewards card

  92. natsfan1a - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Stuck on the front of mom's fridge? Cool.Other than floating somewhere in the ethersphere, those records are kept in the same place as the results of all the games you played as a kid.

  93. John C. - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    MicheleS, I'm also a new STH (partial plan) (Note: I've been sharing someone else's plan since 2005, finally got my own). I had the same question, and called in. The Red Carpet Rewards cards are being sent out separately, and should be going out in the next couple of weeks. So don't panic. But keep track of your towel :-)

  94. MicheleS - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Thanks John C.Ticket office was closed when I got home today.

  95. Anonymous - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Next year they're supposed to be able to be used in lieu of tickets – like a Metro card, just swipe and go through the turnstile.

  96. NatsFanJim - Mar 21, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Funny to read some folks who already have the Nats finishing fifth and calling on Davey to Score Runs.Great to see the Nats have a passionate fan base; albeit, similar to old Philly fans (say it aint so)But naysayers and handwringers: It's Spring Training — meaningless at his moment. While I'm not one of the crazies (like Davey) guaranteeing a playoff spot, you'd be wrong not think the Nats were much improved. Let's relax and enjoy this better than average team.

  97. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 22, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Unk, you might as well leverage whatever luck you have today. I'm sure Davey would tell you that. Well, as sure as I can be without having asked him, knowing him, or worked with him at any time, or do anything like what he does for a living. Otherwise, I know exactly what he's thinking.

  98. snapback - Mar 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I agree with your point of view. Many have a chance to ask…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
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.
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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