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Nats vs. Braves — 3/1/14

Mar 1, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

VIERA, Fla. — It’s another beautiful day for baseball, and Space Coast Stadium is ready to host its first game of the spring. (I’m sure all of you suffering through the cold back in D.C. really enjoy reading that right now.)

The Nationals face the Braves today for the first of at least 24 times this year, counting spring training and the regular season. This one won’t feature quite the same intensity as the matchups a month from now will boast, but there’s certainly no love lost between these teams. And Julio Teheran does happen to be on the mound this afternoon, with Bryce Harper in the Nationals’ lineup. Fortunately, Brian McCann is in Tampa these days, so Harper shouldn’t have to worry too much about offending baseball’s morale police.

Jordan Zimmermann gets the ball for his spring debut. Like Taylor Jordan yesterday, he’s slated for two innings of work, depending on his pitch count. Matt Williams revealed a few more rotation plans for the next several days. After Zimmermann today, it’ll be Doug Fister tomorrow against the Marlins, Ross Detwiler on Monday against the Yankees and Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday against the Braves. Hmm, if I didn’t know any better, I’d suggest that sure looks like the Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 1 starters in the Opening Day rotation.

No TV of today’s game, and the only radio coverage is on the Braves’ network. Never fear, though, because I’ll have plenty of updates and analysis right here…

Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
TV: None
Radio: XM 183 (Braves radio network)
Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees, Wind 10 mph out to RF

CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
LF Bryce Harper
1B Tyler Moore
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
3B Zach Walters
RF Steven Souza Jr.
DH Brock Peterson
(RHP Jordan Zimmermann)

CF Jordan Schafer
SS Andrelton Simmons
1B Freddie Freeman
C Ryan Doumit
3B Chris Johnson
2B Dan Uggla
DH Tommy La Stella
RF Matt Lipka
LF Jose Constanza
(RHP Julio Teheran)

1:07 p.m. — And we’re underway on a gorgeous, 78-degree afternoon as Jordan Schafer sends Jordan Zimmermann’s first pitch of the day to the hole at short and then barely beats Danny Espinosa’s throw to first for a leadoff single.

1:12 p.m. — Well, I wrote earlier today what Espinosa said about playing so much shortstop this spring, and wouldn’t you know he had three straight balls hit to him in the top of the first. He couldn’t quite get Schafer on that grounder to the hole, but then he went up the middle for a 6-3 double play on Andrelton Simmons and then made a nifty, sliding stop of Freddie Freeman’s grounder to his left and popped up to make a nice throw to first, with Tyler Moore completing things with a strong scoop. Scoreless first for Zimmermann.

1:20 p.m. — A 1-2-3 bottom of the first for Julio Teheran, who broke Denard Span’s bat and struck out Anthony Rendon looking at a pitch on the outside corner. Bryce Harper, in his first AB of the spring, did smoke a curveball from Teheran … but directly at Freeman for an unfortunate L3. Harper can’t be too upset about that, though. He was all over that pitch. Onto the second…

1:24 p.m. — A quick top of the second for Zimmermann, who retired the side on a pair of groundballs and then a strikeout of Dan Uggla. Jordan got the husky second baseman to swing at a high fastball for his first K of the spring. That should probably be it for Zimmermann. If so, a very nice start to his spring: 2 scoreless innings, 1 infield hit surrendered, five groundball outs, 15 of 20 pitches for strikes. Matt Purke should be up next out of the bullpen.

1:36 p.m. — Some nice displays of hitting in the bottom of the second. Jose Lobaton did well to take an outside pitch from Teheran the other way for a single. Zach Walters then sat back on a curveball and poked a single to right-center. Nicely done by both. So we move to the third, and here’s Matt Purke to pitch a scoreless game.

1:50 p.m. — Rough debut for Purke. The lefty was hit hard in the top of the third, serving up a double to deep center, a well-struck RBI single past a drawn-in infield and another RBI double to deep right by Freeman. Throw in a walk and Purke was really laboring out there. This is an important season for him. After battling injuries, he needs to re-establish himself or risk getting lapped by some of the Nationals’ other pitching prospects. 2-0 Braves as we move to the bottom of the third.

2:08 p.m. — Hmm, if you lost track just now, that would be THREE stolen bases from the Nats in the bottom of the third, including a Span-Harper double steal. Also, they scored two runs on two sac flies (by Rendon and Moore). Welcome to the Matt Williams Era, folks. It’s 2-2 now as Purke takes the mound for the fourth.

2:19 p.m. — It’s not usually a good thing when the manager has to make a mid-inning pitching change on March 1. Unfortunately, Williams just couldn’t go any farther with Purke, who got yanked with one out in the top of the fourth. His final line: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP. Not pretty. Enter Blake Treinin, who has got a slingshot of a right arm. Interested to see him pitch for the first time.

2:50 p.m. — Just got back from talking to Jordan Zimmermann in the clubhouse — he was, not surprisingly, pleased with the way he pitched today — to find the Nats rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fourth. The big hit: a 2-run single up the middle by Tyler Moore. So it’s 6-5 Nats as we move to the fifth inning and this game is nearly two hours old.

3:20 p.m. — Uh-oh, a goat rodeo just broke out here in the top of the fifth. The Braves scored five runs off Treinin, though they weren’t all his fault. Matt Lipka blooped a single down the right-field line and wound up circling the bases after Michael Taylor booted the ball, then threw it away. Will Rhymes’ throw the plate was wide, too, completing the disastrous play from the Nationals’ perspective. Defense across the board has turned really ugly here. Taylor dropped another fly ball well to his right. Scouts rate him a perfect 80 in center field, but he’s playing right field today at a rating of approximately minus-27. Not good. It’s 14-6 Braves, still the fifth inning.

3:43 p.m. — And … here come the Nats! They stormed back to score five runs in the bottom of the fifth, trimming the lead to 14-11. The PA announcer just read a promo for “The Deal Chicken.” Spring training baseball, folks.

4:17 p.m. — Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Wirfin Obispo! He’s a hard-throwing Braves reliever who was handed a 15-11 lead for the bottom of the sixth … and proceeded to walk four batters before Fredi Gonzalez decided he’d seen enough Wirfin Obispo for the day. Too late. The Nats stormed all the way back, with Mike Fontenot clearing the bases with a double and later scoring the go-ahead run. Yes, the Nats now lead 16-15. And we’re only going to the top of the seventh!

4:31 p.m. — Clay Hensley tosses the first scoreless half-inning of this game since the bottom of the seventh. Standing ovation from the crowd. Seriously.

4:50 p.m. — If a couple of pitches in the eighth inning on March 1 matter, Luis Ayala just made the Opening Day roster. The veteran reliever inherited a one-out, bases-loaded mess and proceeded to get out of the jam with a 5-3 double play grounder. Nicely done. It’s still 16-15 heading to the bottom of the eighth.

5:06 p.m. — That’ll do it. Nats win 16-15, storming back from 8 runs down to win a 3-hour, 59-minute thriller. I’ll tell you what: If they go on to top the Braves in the NL East this season, surely we’ll look back on this day as a turning point. Or not.

102 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    should be fun. hope we beat them bad!

  2. Jb - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Looks like they’re setting up the rotation to be JZimm, Fister, Det, Stras,Gio. That would have JZim start the road opener, Stras start the home opener, and the pitchers for the Braves series are Stras,Gio and JZ. Makes a lot of sense.

    • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      That doesn’t set up that way at all. For one, it really is irrelevant at the moment. Matt Williams said he’ll set the rotation on the March 18 off day. But it sets up as Strasburg pitching Opening Day if it goes like it is so far.

      • Jb - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        Did you miss Mark’s report the other day that having Zimmermann start today lines him up perfectly for OD in NYC?

      • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        He says specifically in this post that it lines up for Strasburg as the #1.

      • NatsLady - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        I agree. You all are reading tea leaves. Guys can have “dead arm” for a couple weeks, guys are only pitching 2-3 innings until mid-March, Roark might make a “start”, Detwiler’s back will hurt… A lot can happen. You have to see when guys are throwing 100 pitches/game, side sessions, and getting into their routine.

  3. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Zach Walters at 3rd. That could be a better place for him.

    • knoxvillenat - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:27 AM


      • Doc - Mar 1, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Regardless, it looks like Walters is going to get his share of playing time this spring and then some.

        Williams hasn’t forgotten him from the days before we stole him from Arizona.

        At least three switchies on the roster—nice!

  4. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Good sign. Espinosa diving for a ball.

    • Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      Reminds me of the best blog name Natstown ever had: “Past A Diving Vidro.” Too bad he didn’t keep doing that one. That, and Corbin Bernsen in Major League: “What do want me to do, dive for it??”

    • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      Then hes 1st pitch swinging with Bryce on 3rd and a struggling pitcher and pops it up for a foulout.

  5. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Hey Mark, just a thought, but if you think of it, I’d be interested in reading how the umps are getting ready. What do they work on, if anything, in the spring?

  6. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Purke getting hammered hard by the lefties.

  7. Doc - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Correction, 4 switchhitters on the Nats: Lobaton, Leon, Espi, and Walters.

  8. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    In addition to the doubles, Denard Span had to go a long way to run down the third out, according to the radio PxP. So yeah, hit hard.

  9. NatsLady - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Check this. This is what’s coming!!!!

    • NatsLady - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      I can hardly wait to see Span on this thing.

      • Doc - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        Yeah thanks, NL.

        It gives a whole new perspective on UZR!!!!

    • NatsNut - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      That looks great.

  10. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Thanks, NL! Cool stuff.

  11. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Rendon just got robbed of a three run homer.

    • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Hit into the wind. Good sign by Rendon driving that ball.

      • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Even with the wind, the LF had to reach over the fence to bring it back.

  12. veejh - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    I like what I have seen and am hearing about this aggressive minded offense. I think this will be huge for us this season.

  13. ArVAFan - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Surprised Matt let Purke come back for the 4th. But it is Spring Training.

    • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Paid the price, not that the score in a Spring Training game matters.

  14. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Oh no Lobaton doesnt handle the throw to home. Cue up Tcosant.

  15. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Mark is right. That must be embarrassing.

  16. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    4 stolen bases in this game. 2 by Span, 1 by Harper, 1 by Souza.

  17. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Nats coming right back; it’s 6-5, red team.

  18. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    man, really hope that Moore makes the team and performs.
    sofa, welcome back I think. were you on a break also?

  19. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Thank, Faraz. I’ve been in read-only mode for the winter–things to do.

    • Doc - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Yeah, welcome to ST Sec.3MySofa!!

      Now we need to get our Ghost back!

      • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        +1 and +1

  20. Doc - Mar 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    It worked again, Mark!!

    I hope that you’re in good shape and can walk away from your seat frequently.

    If it helps, keep drinking lots of beer!!

  21. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand … the ‘pen gives it right back. 7-6, ATL

    • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      Purke and Treinan struggling some.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:06 PM

        good thing that neither of them are slated to be in the pen.

  22. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Now the Nats are playing Little League

  23. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    So much for Michael Taylors great defense.

    • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      He was playing out of position. He’s a great CFer, not RFer.

      • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        Yes, but thats not much of an excuse as the reverse would be.

      • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        Eh, I disagree. The ball reacts differently off the bat. Sure, it’s harder to play CF in that you need more range, but still.

      • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:26 PM

        Come on David, you are talking ****, Quit now. No excuses for him by anyone but you.

  24. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    And not playing it very well.

    May be just as well this isn’t on TV.

    Well, it’s spring training.

  25. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Oh my…this has become a comedy of errors for whoever is in our outfield.

    • NatsLady - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      Apparently Goodwin and Taylor don’t speak the same language. 😉

  26. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    GameDay seems to have thrown up it’s hands, as if to say, “I can’t watch any more of this [stuff].”

    • NatsLady - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Yes, Gameday is behind and the Barves announcers don’t bother to tell me who is pitching, and only occasionally who is hitting.

      • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:16 PM


  27. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Im glad this isnt televised so theres no video evidence of this garbage.

  28. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    No apostrophe.

    I hate it when I do that.

    • NatsNut - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      S’ok, sofa, you’re still working on things.

  29. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I’m just glad that this is happening with guys who have no shot of making the major league roster.

  30. Joe Seamhead - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    You heard it here. The Nats traded their best outfield prospect.

    • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      I will gladly bet you that Billy Burns was not our best outfield prospect.

      • Joe Seamhead - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        We’ll see, David.

    • knoxvillenat - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Lombo? (Said with tongue firmly in cheek.)

  31. janebeard - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Ok. I want Roenicke to close down this inning and show good stuff. Even if he doesn’t make our roster, I want him to be awesome now.

  32. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko: Rough inning for Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin in RF and CF, respectively. Taylor’s defense is much-lauded. Not looking great today.

  33. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    The inning is OVER!!!! 14 Braves to the plate

  34. Doc - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    It’s time for the Braves to screw up!

    • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Lets hope!

    • Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      Doc, you get the title of The Summoner for this one!

  35. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    what a clean inning!

  36. Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Hey, the goats are coming back some …

  37. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    This is just funny now.

  38. DaveB - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    OK … Purke, Treinen & Roenike … none of the three were on my list of 10 pitchers competing for the 2 open BP slots, but they certainly didn’t vault themselves into contention

  39. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Now the Nats only need a Touchdown and the extra point to take the lead!

    • Sec3MySofa - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Announcers said anyone under the age of 12 is being escorted out of the stadium now.

      Hey, one quick field goal and we’re right back in this thing.

      • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        These football games change quickly when you fumble the ball!

  40. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    3 walks, a double and a wild pitch scoring a run given up by the Braves in this inning…

  41. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    Michael Taylor has played 26 games in RF for the Nats in the Minors and has never made a error.

    • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Huh, David Proctor I cant hear you?

      • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        I was wrong about him never having played RF, apparently. I must have either misread or passed over it somehow. Still don’t think 26 games is some huge sample.

      • nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        Its not alot David but I still expect more out of a Gold Glove type of player. It happens. Just one of those bad games that all players go thru.

  42. Eugene in Oregon - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    This may end up with more runs scored than the number of points allowed in the Virginia-Syracuse basketball game.

  43. rmoore446 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    I guess I am not sorry we can’t watch this one. I do have tickets for the March 9th game against the Cardinals. Can’t wait to get down there!

  44. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Oh my, the Braves have walked the bases loaded again…

  45. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    4 walks in the inning!

  46. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Fotenot with the Field Goal to tie it!

  47. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    16-15 Nats and you cant make this stuff up.

  48. natsfan1a - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Haven’t been following along as we were out and about this afternoon. Holy moley, are they the comeback kids, or what?

  49. David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    I can’t wait to hear Matt Williams’ thoughts on this one.

  50. snopes1 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Desperately trying to keep interest in this silly game, Braves radio announcer Don Sutton has started talking trash about the Nats’ radio guys — saying Charlie Slowes is like Will Rogers, “He’s never met a word he didn’t like.” And mocking the whole “bang zoom” thing. Seems pretty good natured and I think they’re just mad they have to work this horrible spring training game.

  51. nats128 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    A zero frame for the top of 7th!

  52. snopes1 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Does anyone else listening to the Braves radio feed have the impression that Don Sutton might have had a few drinks?

    • David Proctor - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:48 PM

      Could you really blame him at this point?

      • snopes1 - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        My comment was intended a compliment to Don’s good judgment in this situation.

  53. NatsLady - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Ayala coming in. A real pitcher. Bases loaded, one-run game. HERE IS THE TEST!!!! 😉

  54. janebeard - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Beat the Braves in a nail-bitter, come from (way) behind game. I don’t care if it IS spring training. It made my heart rate go into training, that’s for sure. YAY NATS. A springtime Curlie W is in the books.

  55. Drew - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Let’s play two!

  56. natsfan1a - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Yay, Nats! Hope they’ll be beating the Braves more often than not when the games count.

  57. natsfan1a - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Good work, Mark. :-)

    2:50 p.m. — Just got back from talking to Jordan Zimmermann in the clubhouse — he was, not surprisingly, pleased with the way he pitched today — to find the Nats rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fourth.

  58. wearenationals - Mar 1, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Wow! 3:59?!? I can’t believe my kids and I stayed for the whole thing. Sloppy but entertaining. It was like watching my son’s little league games. An inside the park double error home run?!? I still don’t know what happened on that play. Hope the non-invitees play better tomorrow…

  59. edshelton2013 - Mar 1, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    I live in SC within listening distance of the Barves flagship station in Atlanta. I couldn’t believe the call on Fontenot’s bases-clearing double: “There’s a POP fly to left field. (pause) The left-fielder is drifting back. (pause) It hits the wall and three runs are scoring.” Imagine if a Barve had hit the same ball: “There’s a shot to deep left, they’re not gonna get that one. It’s off the wall– two runs score, three runs score! That ball was tagged!”

  60. Joe Seamhead - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    OMG! The Nats lost to the Braves in the 2nd spring training game!
    Bring back, bring back, bring back my davey to me…

  61. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    Umm, Seamhead…the Nats won the game. :-)

  62. Joe Seamhead - Mar 2, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    I know that. I meant to say “almost” and hit the post comment button too soon.. No edit function makes me look even stoopidur than I really am! ( and it was a joke. Loving what Matt Williams is bring to this team!)

  63. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Ah, I should have known better. I miss the edit function!



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Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Sunday at 10:30 p.m. to recap everything happening with the Nats and across baseball.


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