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Nats vs. Astros – 3/7/13

Mar 7, 2013, 4:34 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Osceola County Stadium houses the Houston Astros for spring training.

After yesterday's fireworks in Clearwater — seriously, Roy Halladay, you're going to throw behind Tyler Moore's back because Stephen Strasburg hit Chase Utley in the ankle of a spring training game? — things should be calmer this afternoon in Kissimmee as the Nationals visit the Astros. Given the affinity between Davey Johnson and Bo Porter, I can't imagine any bad blood ever brewing between these two teams.

So the focus will return to baseball, and specifically Gio Gonzalez, who makes his final Grapefruit League start before leaving camp for the second round of the World Baseball Classic next week (that's assuming, of course, Team USA advances past the first round). Because Gonzalez is only allowed to throw 65 pitches in the WBC, he'll be restricted to 50 pitches today, though he may get some extra work in the bullpen after he departs the game.

Wilson Ramos is back in the lineup and will serve as DH and cleanup hitter. He's got several regulars around him in the Nats' lineup, including Denard Span, Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Kurt Suzuki. You can watch the game live on MLB.tv (if you have a subscription) or if you've got nothing better to do at 2 a.m. you can watch the replay on MLB Network. Enjoy…

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. HOUSTON ASTROS
Where: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
TV: MLB.tv (live), MLB Network (delayed at 2 a.m.)
Radio: Astros radio via MLB Gameday Audio
Weather: Sunny, 65 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF

NATIONALS
CF Denard Span
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Bryce Harper
DH Wilson Ramos

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  1. Diz - Mar 7, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    I hope Span gets his bat going a little. I'll need to check to see if he has always been a slow starter in the spring.

  2. CB - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Seriously, Strasburg? You're going to plunk Utley in a spring training game?

  3. Unknown - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    P fans actually jeered the ball girl yesterday. Team no worse than its fans.

  4. Unknown - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Unknown - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Unknown - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    Diz, I still can't get my eyes on what Span is because I just haven't seen him enough. He seems to be suffering a bit from unlucky BABIP but the sample sizes are so small. If he can get back to where he was in 2008 to 2009, he could possibly be the best CF in the NL.That is what Eckstein is trying to get him back to what he did in 2009.

  8. CB - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. CB - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I was new to this blog, but I can't even comment that maybe Strasburg threw at Utley? Nevermind, I'll get my Nats news elsewhere. You can say the Phils threw at us, Zuckerman, but I can't suggest we started it????

  10. Rabbit34 - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Hallady, throwing behind Moore's back suggests to me that the Philthies are a very insecure team. Their manager reminds me of that nothing manager who was with the Marlins. Probably why Hallady threw behind Moore (managers request?). But, note, Hallady didn't hit him.

  11. Rabbit34 - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    CB, if I was throwing a ball at you, I wouldn't aim for your ankle!! Sure, you can suggest we started it. Heck, you can suggest anything.

  12. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    CB, who says you can't comment?By the way, Utley has led the NL in HBPs from 2007 to 2009 because he crowds the plate and many times won't try to avoid the contact. He's led the Majors in HBP/AB for 5 of the last 7 years. He's very adept at taking pitches off of his right elbow body armour and it doesn't even seem he feels anything on contact.I don't believe Strasburg was trying to drill him. If he was, I would expect a shot to his back.

  13. BigCat - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Yeah CB….get your Nats news elsewhere. You probably got a Manuel poster on your wall.

  14. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Utley is notorious for crowding the plate. And then we get the wounded virgin routine when he gets hit. Puh-lese. Danny got hit a lot, too. I think some of the posters are on to something, though. The Phils seem insecure and defensive – very touchy. I am hearing it from the fans. Sometimes us vs. them gives motivation, sometimes it's distracting. Any time they want to give us free base runners I am ok with it.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    This is just getting way too much press. Stop crowding the plate as Roger Clemens used to say!http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/scott-miller/21826178/fightin-phils-tiring-of-watching-their-hitters-get-drilled

  16. EmDash - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Sounds like the hitting is still a little sluggish from most of our regulars so far – only hit today was a double by Corey Brown. Still too early to get too concerned, though, I think, especially since Davey seems to preach the slow start to avoid injury approach even more than most managers.Also, here's a fun article about the Nats' team camaraderie.

  17. sm13 - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    Good to see Gio rounding into form . I hope he keeps emotions in check and doesnt yry to do too much in the WBC.

  18. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    BigCat, it's hard for me to believe that anyone who has followed the game and especially has watched Utley for years and Strasburg would think Strasburg was aiming to plunk Utley.

  19. sm13 - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Thanks for tje link emdash . I'm proud that this is my team.

  20. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    This is interesting if Bryce Harper plays 100 games or more in the 3 hole:http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/07/bryce-harper-batting-third-for-nationals-would-make-history/

  21. NatsLady - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:02 PM

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  22. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    This is just getting way too much press.Hear, hear.I was new to this blog, but I can't even comment that maybe Strasburg threw at Utley?Hmmm. I wonder what the story was behind that. Did anybody remember to tell him about the spam monster that eats random posts? The Phils seem insecure and defensive – very touchy. Maybe. But do remember they are used to being the bullies of the NL East for a while now. It might just be habit.

  23. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Italia v. Mexico on MLB right now.

  24. Scooter - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Sure wish I could watch the WBC at work. When I'm home, certain people expect me to do things other than sit in the basement watching 9 hours of ball games.:-(

  25. SCNatsFan - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    EmDash, I odn't know. I don't know what reaching a slow start has to do with hitting, especially against possibly the worst staff in MLB. And some of the guys are playing for jobs. Sure wold like to see a little more offense at this point even if it is ST.

  26. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    It's not you, CB (or Mark). It ate my post, too.

  27. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    (That would be the post in which I was telling Scooter how I quite simply LOLed at his comment.)

  28. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Anyone have access to the game? Every site is showing 2-0 I the top of the eighth , but I am sure that I heard on WTOP that we had tied it up awhile back.

  29. NatsLady - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Yes, it was tied 2-2 but Mattheus, not so great and it's now 4-2 Stros.

  30. Scooter - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    This is crazy. I had to restart the TV broadcast on my computer, and now it's at the start of the bottom of the 8th, 2-2 again. Maybe it'll go better this time? (I can't fast-forward, for some reason; the thing claims I'm right on time.)Well, at least I'll get to see Michael Taylor's catch again. Nothing too terribly exciting, but the man sure can go back.

  31. Section 222 - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    That Sports on Earth lovefest on the Nats includes this intriguing tidbit:"They've got a good thing going," said Houston Astros manager Bo Porter, who should know, having manned Washington's third-base coaching box until last September, and still belonging to a book club with many of the Nationals.Several of the Nats belong to a book club? Details please.

  32. Navy Nats Fan - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    Come on – remember? They were reading "50 Shades of Gray" based on Morse's recommendation…

  33. peric - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Astros win.

  34. Section 222 - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    NNF, I was thinking of adding a reference to a book club of relievers in a hot tub but thought better of it… :-)

  35. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    222, there was a WaPo item on the book club the other day. I think on the Sports Bog.And the 4-2 score is final now.

  36. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Book club item.

  37. peric - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    JMax and Ankiel in the same outfield? Some real pop but not much offense or many hits. Decent fielding though … The 'Stros look like a 100 loss team this year.

  38. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    2 guys who are the poster children for Home Run or K, but not much in between.

  39. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Wasn't this Matteus first rough outing?

  40. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    If memory serves, there was one time last season where a dude went down a slide too many times.

  41. BigCat - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    i think if you were gonna hit someone, you go for the ribs or back. I think the days of throwing at the head are pretty much over. Pretty hard hitting someone in the foot. And its a ST game! Stranger things happen I suppose.

  42. peric - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    If memory serves, there was one time last season where a dude went down a slide too many times.You mean Bernie Brewer? Yeah, I hate when that happens to the Nats in Milwaukee.

  43. Section 222 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Speaking of Bernie Brewer, anyone ever notice that you never get to see him hit the water on TV? Any idea why that is?

  44. JayB - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Check out Bill Ladson's interview with Danny….that was not so hard Mark…Bill even got him to talk about about strikeouts, trying to hit home runs and swinging to hard. How he is approaching his new swing by Working on getting back to his old swing he used before he got the uppercut and Danny even talked being useless for a month and hurting the team.Compare that to what Mark got out of him or at least what Mark is choosing to write about. Did catch Mark on 980 using a lot of the interview content Ladson just posted.

  45. Steady Eddie - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    222 — thanks for the great link "gushing" on the Nats.The part that made me happiest was " "I think we have a lot of good guys in the clubhouse and it does have a lot of similarities to the college team I was on," he volunteered. "Guys that mesh well and don't really think they're bigger than the game. College was the best time of my life. I have friends I still keep in contact with, a couple of the guys in my wedding, and I'm starting to develop the same kind of relationships here."So Boras' finances may not necessarily determine which of our superstars we can keep for the long run.

  46. Steady Eddie - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    As I didn't realize until I read what I had posted (and pasted), that quote was from Stras.

  47. MicheleS - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Well JayB, since prefer Ladson to Mark, I am sure he would appreciate your commentary on his site.

  48. MicheleS - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    With Ladson, the only commentary that he seems to get are the ones that rip on him. So I am sure he would really appreciate the kind words

  49. Section 222 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Steady, credit EmDash for the link. I enjoyed the article too. I don't think for a minute that Strasburg or Harper will give us a sentimental discount when the. The Lerners will have to pony up bigtime to keep them after the 2016 and 2018 seasons, respectively. But I also think we have a decent shot at keeping both because the Lerners are going to rake it in over the next three World Championship seasons, and the MASN cluster*$&% should be worked out by then, right?

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Please JayB…. stay on Bill's site.

  51. baseballswami - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    The one I see as a tough deal is JZim. He does not love city life, he may want the opportunity to be a staff ace and he does not exactly seem like the type to make an emotional decision. Just my gut feeling- a guess, nothing more.

  52. SCNatsFan - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Boy JayB you enjoy flogging a dead horse on a free blog, don't you

  53. realdealnats - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Re-posting from yesterday re: Rendon.I'm in the Rendon Camp with Laddie and Candide, though I expect we will not see him until after April 28th. Maybe even the June deadline. I like he'll get the reps, but don't like him on questionable fields. And if they decide to really move him up the ladder literally, I don't like him playing in Syracuse where it is cold. I think that might be one reason Bryce only hit in the 250s there.What I do hope to see is Rendon coming up after the June deadline and basically taking over Lombo's role. I think Rendon will even surpass Moore and Tracy for coming off the bench to PH cold. He could be devastating in that role on days he is not starting as he gives Zimm or Desi or Espi a rest.This is one of those long term deals you cheat at–b/c this is the first real year of the window for winning it all. And if you win this year you might just win a couple more. But if you don't the pressure starts. And he can help in too many ways. And he can learn what he needs to learn around major league talent and Davey.

  54. realdealnats - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    CB–you can say whatever you want here. If you are a regular reader you'd know that. If you do know it and go and get all hysterical on us then maybe you're a troll. And if you're a troll then here's your hat what's your hurry. But if you just got momentarily daffy, they stick around and enjoy yourself. Cheers.

  55. realdealnats - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    "they"=then

  56. JayB - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    not ripping on Bill or Mark….just find it interesting that what I was asking about is now something Mark is sharing on Radio Interviews base on Ladson's questions. If you read it it kind of sounds like Danny was answering my exact questions.

  57. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    That would be the one. :-)You mean Bernie Brewer? Yeah, I hate when that happens to the Nats in Milwaukee.

  58. MicheleS - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    JayB.. how do you know that Mark didn't ask those same questions and got the same answers? We only got an edited snippet from a 10 minute interview?

  59. natsfan1a - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    I found this just for you, 222. Perhaps more than you ever wanted to know about> Bernie :-)Section 222 said… Speaking of Bernie Brewer, anyone ever notice that you never get to see him hit the water on TV? Any idea why that is? March 07, 2013 5:03 PM

  60. MicheleS - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    BTW.. Good stuff on MLB Network right now.. Top of the 9th Mexico up 5-4 and Italy is batting

  61. MicheleS - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    BANANAS! Italy just scored 2 b/c the Left Fielder dropped the ball!!!

  62. Mac - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    MASN's lead Orioles announcer Gary Thorne is calling the big Dominican-Venezuela game for MLB Network. He must not be any good.

  63. baseballswami - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    That game was insane!! Fun to watch. As for people spouting weird theories here– we all do it sometimes. You just have to be willing to take the flak that follows.

  64. baseballswami - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    So the caps scored four times in the first 5 minutes? Awesome!

  65. Teddy Rochlis - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    anyone one see the article about gio on fangraphs? Well long story short he struck out 41 pitchers this season the most since 1972. His line against pitchers this season: .019/.037/.019 surrending 1 hit: a single and one walk the entire season! Unbelievable

  66. Section 222 - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    Thanks for that link Teddy. Interesting article on Gio.By the way, any reaction to my take on UBR and Harper's hustle?

  67. Teddy Rochlis - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    I thought the research was very thorough and very good. UBR calculations is a subjective stats (one of the few) so it's hard to get an accurate read but i did enjoy reliving the memories.

  68. JayB - Mar 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    People…..Nothing against Mark…he knows I think he is great and the best we have in DC. It does not mean I do not question things he does or that I need to lead the Mark Cheer section as some of you feel is required to post here.I liked Danny's responses to Ladson. It shows he is thinking the right way now and that someone has finally gotten his attention and he is accepting coaching and following through on changes needed.Njack has shared in the past (using his great contacts, jealous) that Nats were very frustrated with Danny and his approach. Njack can weigh in if he wants but as I rerecall and my eyes clearly showed that Nats felt Danny was not accepting coaching and not modifying his approach or swing K after K all season long. Mark, Njack, hell everyone agrees that Danny and his issues are one of the main stories of Spring Training. Bill L was the first to finally write or video clip anything of substance and detail about the issues and his progress owning and addressing them. It is not like strikeout is a bad word or you can hide from 200 of them. Glad Danny is using the word and facing he facts.

  69. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    Better read Kilgore this morning, JayB. He has the same stuff Ladson has. Mark isn't in Viera so there's that.

  70. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    JayB, you don't need to lead the cheering section, but you might try framing your concerns in a less combative, accusatory manner. It's not so much content as the way you say it, imho.

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 (3) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.0
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's 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.

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