Skip to content

Nats vs. Astros – 3/23/12

Mar 23, 2012, 4:15 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Osceola County Stadium hosts the Nationals this afternoon.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Nationals' weak offensive numbers so far this spring are probably a product of the lack of regulars getting playing time than anything, but that's going to change soon. Beginning Sunday, manager Davey Johnson plans to start using all his regulars for most of the remainder of camp.

Several of those guys actually made the trip today to Kissimmee to face the Astros, including Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. They'll be going up against Houston No. 2 starter Bud Norris. (FYI: Livan Hernandez is expected to open the season as the Astros' No. 3 man.)

Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound for the Nationals on the heels of a strong, four-scoreless-inning start against the Marlins. Johnson will hope to get five innings out of the young right-hander today, at which point he'll turn the game over to relievers Craig Stammen, Tyler Clippard and Brad Lidge.

Plenty of updates to come live from the ballpark…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. HOUSTON ASTROS
Where: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: None
Radio: Astros radio via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees, Wind 8 mph RF to LF

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

Read more ยป

128 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. m20832 - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Can we hope for a little bit more offense today? Please?

  2. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I'd be happy if the Nationals scored 2 runs today…

  3. MicheleS - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Mark is this the Astros everyday lineup? Just wondering to see if it is a test for JZ.

  4. erocks33 - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Yeesh, I start to read one post and two more pop up! I wanted to respond to an earlier post regarding the lack of offense and the continuing bashing of Desmond. Do I think Desi is the long-term answer at short or leading off? No, of course not. But do I think that Desi has taken to heart everything that Davey has been teaching him since Davey took over last year? Absotively! Just look at how Desi ended the season last year with DJ at the helm. Pre All-Star:.223 / .264 / .308 with 17 BB and 83 SO in 81 GSPost All-Star:.289 / .338 / .417 with 18 BB and 56 SO in 65 GSHis walks were up, his strikeouts were down and he was getting more hits with DJ at the helm.Now with this season's ST, Desi started off poorly in his first couple of games (0-9 with 3 SO's). It was reported that he had tinkered with his swing during the off-season and DJ and crew let him try it out at first and once they realized that his new approach stunk, they worked with him on getting back to what was working. Now, since that bad start, he's starting to come back aroundOverall ST:.268 / .302 / .366 with 2 BB and 11 SO in 41 ABTake away those first couple of games when he was using the bad approach, and here's what he's done since:.344 / .382 / .469 with 2 BB and 8 SO in 32 ABLooks to me that Desi is doing everything that you'd want a ballplayer to do during spring training. Start off cold, maybe because of a new approach, then listen to your coaches and fix whatever the problem is and finish the spring on a roll.The $1,000,000 question of course is can he sustain this for most of the regular season?? I dunno, but if anyone can straighten him out and make Desi a more consistent player it's Davey.Just my two cents.

  5. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    What happens if Bixler does better than Desmond? Livo is the #3 starter and Bixler looks like a 25-man guy for Houston? Still think Livo is a better #3,#4.#5 than Lannan.

  6. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Desmond and Espinosa both have to know their jobs are on the line. With Lombardozzi, Rendon, AND former 2nd round pick Kobernus very close? Espinosa has the advantage of a platoon power bat, range and an almost flawless glove. Desmond has the better range if not glove. So, as Ladson would put it the Nats do have options for MI and lead-off and its why Davey isn't worried.BUT, middle of the order bats? Especially a left-handed or even a platoon bat? They are in deep trouble there because the depth in the minors outside of Tyler Moore just isn't there. Nady might help but no one knows. I expect both Werth and LaRoche to continue their mid-30's decline. Then its down to Zim and Morse. Can Ramos step up as he did toward the end last year? Is Flores a bat that needs to be in the lineup regularly? Can Espinosa improve his ISO and OBP? Too many ifs.

  7. Scooter - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    You know what's nice? All this daytime ball.

  8. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    cosign, Scooter.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I don't think there would be near the excitement and praise without the luck of getting Harper, Stras, and Rendon in the draft.Luck Erik? How did Rizzo and the FO get into the position to draft these players? Throw in Meyer and Purke? Purke looks like a steal right now? You aren't looking at the minors either, clearly. Player development has improved dramatically. A guy named Jeff Kobernus stole over 50 bases in Potomac last year. Do you know who he is? And all of those prospects traded for Gio were really developed (oh and what about AJ Cole Erik? No one thought Rizzo could sign him and Robbie Ray given their slots? But Rizzo convinced the owners to pay way over slot?) Erik its not just Rizzo its who he hired. If you criticize what Rizzo has done then you have to criticize Roy Clark a guy who helped build the Atlanta farm system through their drafts. If there are any problems they are with the ownership and its steering committee which often blocks the FO from making moves, such as trading Dunn. And I suspect they may be responsible for Jayson Werth … far more than Rizzo. He just doesn't fit the Rizzo/Clark model. But Boras sold a bill of goods to the owners so …

  10. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Day games are good. West Coast games are best. 7:05 games I miss the whole game…

  11. Todd Van Poppel - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    For the record, I was also a consensus obvious #1 pick. Braves took Chipper Jones instead, because I didn't want to play for those losers.

  12. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    Things I didn't know: Carlos Lee has a brother named Carlos, in the Brewers minor league system. Srsly.

  13. bdrube - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    anon – "Still think Livo is a better #3,#4.#5 than Lannan."I've got their respective WARs from last year (0.9 to 0.1) that sez you're wrong.

  14. Wally - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Article on the big guy, in the Onion fashion. Headline essentially captures the whole thing.http://www.fangraphs.com/not/index.php/report-adam-dunn-to-bat-off-tee-in-2012/

  15. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    So it looks like the Nats lineup is about 75% regulars. Though no doubt Tracy has earned 1B if LaRoche can't go in April. But if Morse can't start the season, well that's why Michaels is playing LF :-)

  16. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    Well, that's what happens when you walk guys who aren't hitting their weight. Bogusevic is hitting about <.150, but worked a walk, stole second, and advanced on two fly balls to give the 'Stros the lead.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Well Astros Lead 1-0 and that's your ballgame folks. No expectations of this team being able to score even 1 run at this point. Has Desi struck out yet?

  18. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Altuve fails to clear the pitcher, looking at strike 3 to end the inning. 1-0, Houston, middle 2.

  19. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    …too see what Michaels can do :)BTW, Jordan Zimmermann is going to break out with a sub 3.00 ERA this year.Very underrated pitcher. I like J. Zimm

  20. Sunderland - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    erocks, thanks for taking the time to run the Ian Desmond numbers. I ain't hopeful, but you offer a nice perspective.

  21. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    I'm gonna call in the Bat Whisperer…

  22. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    All of our Bats whiper ;)

  23. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Whisper

  24. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Erocks- I appreciate all that info re: Desmond.Well done.Usually when I post statistics everyone leaves :-)

  25. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    er…

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Bernadina just got pulled. Trade maybe?

  27. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    NatsJack: No, looks like Bernadina hurt himself making that catch against the fence in the 2nd inning. Walked off with trainer Mike McGowan.

  28. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Really???

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Bernadina gets pulled in the 3rd. Trade myabe?

  30. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Wish Bernadina the best. Hopefully nothing serious.

  31. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    I hesitate to bring it up, but Desmond fouled a ball into the dugout, off Zimmerman's leg, as Ryan waited to hit, in the hole. I guess he'll get an MRI, a shot for tetanus, and a malaria net. Just to be safe.

  32. Erik - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Anon 1:08,When 1 or 2 games out of 162 determine whether you get Harper and Strasburg in the draft, or neither, yes I do think it is luck. Like I said before in the other post, I wouldn't trade Rizzo for most any other GM in the league. He has put together a great scouting department, starting with his own abilities as a scout. However, I am hoping his best days are ahead of him and not the other way around. Paying 3x over slot for Purke, Ray and Cole to me is not some great GM move. Cheating the system, and I don't even know if you can call it that, is a pretty easy way to sign people like those listed above. Not much skill involved in that. The minor league system has shown drastic improvement, as has player development, but that system is still being carried by a few top prospects. Still needs more depth. Hopefully some of the players picked in the latter rounds by this new scouting department will develop the way Millone and Peacock did. Kobernus is definitely a good sign of that development, however, I am willing to bet that most organizations have guys like Kobernus. The key is to have about 10 of them. Like I said, I am completely on board with Rizzo and Co. Just playing devil's advocate with some past decisions because this team really doesn't seem ready for a playoff run.

  33. bdrube - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    @Section 3, My SofaThen if he's not in the lineup tomorrow they'll tell us he has a mild case of beriberi.

  34. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Nothing from Espinosa, Zim, or Werth there. Mid-4, still 1-0.

  35. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Speaking of injuries, I'm day to day with a bad back.Seriously, I'm not kidding at all. I woke up and could barely make it to the car. I must have slept wrong last night or something. I'm only in my mid-30s! No joke, my back really hurts right now :-(

  36. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    For Houston, Norris only pitched the first three, on a pitch count, evidently to hear the Astros radio guys tell it. Lucas Harrel pitched the fourth.

  37. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Is there such a thing as hittersitis or scorelessitis? With all the great pitching it will be difficult to win games: 0-2, 0-1, etc…

  38. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Okay, got the ether radio on and have read Mark's updates and the comments. Guess I'm ready to come off the bench, coach. Wait, better take a few warmup hacks. There. Okay, I'm good to go.Hey, their audio production guy is making with the musical allusions. Nice.

  39. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Punchlessitis?

  40. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Keep it warm and relaxed, CWJ.

  41. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Erik- You mention mostly minor league guys, but fail to mention the Nats potent ML pitching.That, and possibly that alone, will get the Nats into the playoff hunt this year.Obviously base running, fielding, and luck will play a factor as well.However, I'm still inclined to a 87-75 record this year. Dominant in 2013, though. We'll see what happens.

  42. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    And maybe some anti-inflammatory meds.ha-ha, the broadcaster said no-no.

  43. DWS - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Astros announcers not bad. A no hitter against be a panic time?

  44. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Thanks Section 3! :)

  45. Sectioni 215, Row A - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    I guess he'll get an MRI, a shot for tetanus, and a malaria net. Just to be safe. ~ Sec. 3Nothing's too good for the Jordanaires.

  46. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    A Pahuta sighting!

  47. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Stras and Harper were certainly luck. Luck to be the worst team back to back and luck to have those kind of once in a generation talents available there each time. Rendon falling to 6th was also some luck. What was skill and will was Purke, in particular.

  48. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Wait, Bixler goes deep?

  49. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Bixler???? A homerun? His second of the spring??

  50. Exposremains - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Its a problem when the opposing broadcasters say there's must be something wrong with the Nats implying that their pitchers are not that good

  51. sm13 - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Not a week filled with good news or good baseball. TGIF!

  52. Erik - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    CWJ,Say the Nats have the 5th best pitching staff in baseball this year(which will be no easy task considering the other staffs around baseball). If they have the 26th best offense again, how will they possibly win 87 games??? Not going to happen in the NL East. If they only had 1 or 2 more hitters in that lineup, with all of the close games they are likely to play, what a difference it would make. An extra run a game would probably equal about 10 extra wins on this team.

  53. DWS - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Agree on the tunes 1a..Houston in the Series. Deep breath….spring training…spring training…

  54. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    Anon 2:17- There is a lot of luck in baseball.Exposremains- I'm not listening to this game, but actually I've heard mostly praise for the Nats by the other teams' broadcasters in the games I've seen.

  55. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    I'm thinking about a product that you push when all calm is lost and total chaos rains cats and dogs. Two words, usually red. What is it?

  56. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Upon reflection, I believe that would be no-hitteritis.Cease the Opportunity said… Is there such a thing as hittersitis or scorelessitis? With all the great pitching it will be difficult to win games: 0-2, 0-1, etc… March 23, 2012 2:09 PM

  57. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Does it by any chance taste great?Cease the Opportunity said… I'm thinking about a product that you push when all calm is lost and total chaos rains cats and dogs. Two words, usually red. What is it? March 23, 2012 2:27 PM

  58. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Kevin who now?

  59. Diz - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    No-hit thru 5???At this rate, Davy, we won' peak until November.

  60. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Who are these people? Kevin Keyes? Are they just dragging in A-ball types to pinch hit?

  61. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    I looked at the standings the other day and the Nats were undefeated and in first place. Am I missing something?

  62. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    And Clip gives up a dinger on the first pitch. Oh, well.

  63. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Oh, that's probably because I went for a snack and didn't stay in my seat. Oh wait, that's when *our* pitcher is throwing a no-no.

  64. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Erik- But I am not expecting the offense to be as bad as last year.For this season: #3 pitching (NL). #11 hitting (NL). And lets say average defense.87-75 is my ceiling. But I do not see them as a sub .500 team unless the entire pitching staff is injured in a plane crash.:-)

  65. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Uh-oh, big power on deck in Bixler.

  66. Natcho Cheese - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    As we're being no-hit through 6 innings, it's so nice to be able to visit my friends at NI, and be reassured that Spring Training doesn't mean anything, and that our offense will come around when all are regulars are in there.It's just so comforting to read these nice things.

  67. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    I predicted two no-hitters against the Nationals last season. I was wrong. Hope they get this out of the way right now. This is only a scrimmage…

  68. Kurtz - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    The horror, the horror…

  69. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Natcho- It means nothing…repeat that phrase and wait for opening day of the real season :-)By Zeus, unless you are fighting for a job ST games do not mean anything. Babe Ruth was partying in Cuba during March. Roy Oswalt has skipped it altogether.

  70. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    It's not the no-hitter only today but the anemic at bats all spring that is a concern.

  71. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Maybe they are not really playing? Just trying to give the pitchers their work and not get injured?

  72. DWS - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    A hit!

  73. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Awesome, a seeing-eye single.

  74. MicheleS - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    thank god my boy Werth came thru with a hit!

  75. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    People do pay for this don't they, spring or no spring?

  76. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    I wonder what Davey thinks about the approach his guys are taking today?

  77. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    That takes care of the no-no. Now for the shutout.

  78. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Werth got the first hit? Thank heavens. Even I was worried about a no-hitter. Not because it would mean anything, but because it would be all over the baseball press.:D

  79. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Maybe they need to change the way they address the ball.

  80. Jim Webster - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    So for this we came to Florida for two weeks? Good to hear Davey plans to use the regulars for our second week anyway.

  81. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    So, no hand from the fans for Lidge? Maybe it was during the commercial break.

  82. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Instead of a Bat Whisper, they need an Approach Whisper…

  83. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Uh, anybody got a pitch pipe?

  84. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Also, announce their presence with authority.Section 3, My Sofa said… Maybe they need to change the way they address the ball. March 23, 2012 2:55 PM

  85. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    1a, I think I saw somebody in a Phillies cap holding up one hand for Lidge.

  86. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    But no sound, right?

  87. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Well, he wasn't clapping. Most of the fingers were curled up into a fist.

  88. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    badabing!

  89. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    That shutout is gone! Thanks, Jason!

  90. MicheleS - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    And our long nightmare is over!

  91. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Was he holding a battery?Section 3, My Sofa said… Well, he wasn't clapping. Most of the fingers were curled up into a fist. March 23, 2012 3:02 PM

  92. Section 222 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Can we hope for a little bit more offense today? Please??We can hope, but….

  93. MicheleS - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    I wonder if Mark left the press box?

  94. Get Some Players - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Does anyone think Desmond and Espinosa will ever become good hitters? I can't see it. And they strike out way too frequently. The bench players the Nats signed over the winter—Carroll and Co.— are horrible.

  95. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    No hit for you. No hit for you. No hit for you. etc. Wait, your name is Ja(y)son? Okay, you get a hit. Where was I? No hit for you. No hit for you.

  96. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    I'm pretty sure he was holding, just from his eyes.

  97. NatinBeantown - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    THAT was Abad pitch.

  98. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Davey figures spring training is too long.

  99. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    *rimshot*NatinBeantown said… THAT was Abad pitch. March 23, 2012 3:06 PM

  100. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    Maybe people will get off of Werth's back now. The guy continues to get big hits.

  101. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    The Astros are looking for insurance? They must not have seen our offensive stats.

  102. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    You Must be a baseball Player———————————– Cwj said… Speaking of injuries, I'm day to day with a bad back.Seriously, I'm not kidding at all. I woke up and could barely make it to the car. I must have slept wrong last night or something. I'm only in my mid-30s! No joke, my back really hurts right now :-(

  103. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Well we got our 1 run for the day. Goodnight see you guys tomorrow.

  104. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    This announce is too excited about the Astros maybe winning a Spring Training game. Guess you have to get it when you can.

  105. Who Needs Offense? - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    I wonder how many people on this board believe the Nats FO is as sanguine about our offense as NI posters are. In public it's all DJ's reassurance and who cares about ST…but I guarantee you the FO is deadly worried about the problem of our offense. I bet they are more worried, in fact, than any NI poster on the topic.

  106. Mark'd - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Too neganon here today. Catch you all later.

  107. NatsLady - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Er, announcer.

  108. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Okay, I'm confused now. A Nats pitching change from Stammen, I guess.

  109. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Okay, the announcer was getting caught up, I guess.

  110. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Or I'm getting caught up and it's the 9th. Or something.

  111. natsfan1a - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    ohnevermind, game over.

  112. m20832 - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    3hits, 1 run, 10 K's, 10 (or more) groundouts. Good thing it's ST, huh?

  113. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Pathetic again! Growing more concerned everyday

  114. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Anon 3:10- That was funny!(though my back really does hurt. It's frustrating, weird and painful). Mark'D- Come on. Just counter the negatives with facts, like me :-)

  115. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Yep, nothing worse than losing a practice game (sarcasm).We go through all of this every spring. Fans of other teams do as well.Cheer up! Opening day is not far off.Strasburg will dominate the Cubs lineup.

  116. Knoxville Nat - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Stammen handles the bat pretty well, do you all think he could give the Nats a lift by making a change to the outfield?Yes, I'm grasping for solutions!!!

  117. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Who will be this year's Stairs among Carroll, Tracy, Blanco, and Michaels?I understand sending Harper down for financial reasons and for his development, but I guarantee he would hit better than these clowns. So he slumped after being injured, but he was just about to get going based on his typical pattern of slow starts. If the offense sucks this bad come the begginning of May, we better see Haper over Ankiel or Bernadina.

  118. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Anon- Unlike Stairs, the bench this year should be able to hit and field.

  119. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    The pitching is heading south and we all know there is no offense. Regardless of how bad the hitting is, you can bet Eckstein won't get fired.

  120. Bups - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    This team reminds me of the Wizards.

  121. Section 222 - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    In public it's all DJ's reassurance and who cares about ST…but I guarantee you the FO is deadly worried about the problem of our offense. I bet they are more worried, in fact, than any NI poster on the topic.I tend to agree with you, which is why DJ's reassurances are so annoying. Don't treat us like idiots. It's like, who do you believe, DJ or your lying eyes? I actually don't care a whit about ST games. The most important thing is our pitchers getting stretched out and ready. Nonetheless, 3 hits and 10 Ks against a mediocre group of Astros pitchers is pretty pathetic.

  122. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Desmond reeks of Jim Bowden. All tools which he will never harness. He is at his peak now. I don't expect much better from him. Same with Bernadina. Time to move on from them.

  123. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Trying to think of something to say.Oh yeah, if anyone lives near the WV panhandle and isn't afraid of driving up mountainous terrain, I'll be having an opening day cookout.Burgers and Brats.Everyone is invited :-)

  124. Cwj - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Anon- Agree about Bernadina.

  125. lls45 - Mar 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    I don't know if Stammen really will be the victim of the numbers game. He's impressed this spring and has performed better than Mattheus and Perry. He's certainly performed leaps and bounds above Gorzelanny, who I'm hoping they'll designate for assignment.

  126. Unkyd - Mar 23, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    cwj!!! How far are you from Frederick, MD?! I LOVE Burgers and Brats!!! April 5th, or the home opener? Can I bring my Dog?y blogger profile has my email….

  127. Cwj - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Unkyd- About an hour from Frederick I think.Email heading your way…

  128. Unkyd - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    WOOHOO!!!! I was Greatly Bummed, over not being able to make it to Duffys, but now there's a genuine, imaginary friend within a half hour, with whom i can count Ks with, as Stras mows domn those poor Cubbies….Thanks, cwj!!!

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 (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 6.5 --
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 0.5
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's early 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.

*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