Mar 2, 2014, 10:25 AM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — We’ve been hearing about the significance of the Nationals’ trade for Doug Fister since Mike Rizzo pulled off that deal three months ago. Today, we finally get to see the big right-hander on the mound in a game.
Fister makes his Nationals debut, facing a Marlins club he’ll see plenty this season (though one that doesn’t include the fearsome Giancarlo Stanton today). As was the case with Taylor Jordan and Jordan Zimmermann the last two days, Fister is slated to pitch two innings. Based on his reputation and what we saw from him in bullpen sessions the last two weeks, be ready for a whole lotta groundballs.
Jayson Werth also makes his spring debut this afternoon, starting in his familiar right field position and batting third. He’ll be joined by several other lineup regulars, including Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche, Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon.
Today’s game (which, by the way, will be my last in Florida for about two weeks) is on both TV and radio back home, but be sure to check back here for plenty of updates and analysis throughout…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. MIAMI MARLINS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
Radio: 1580 AM
Weather: Sunny, 76 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to RF
2B Jeff Kobernus
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth DH Ryan Zimmerman
DH Ryan Zimmerman C Wilson Ramos
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos 3B Anthony Rendon
3B Anthony Rendon LF Scott Hairston
LF Scott Hairston CF Eury Perez
RF Nate McLouth
(RHP Doug Fister)
LF Matt Angle
SS Donovan Solano
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
CF Marcell Ozuna
3B Jeff Baker
2B Derek Dietrich
RF Reed Johnson
DH Greg Dobbs
1B Ed Lucas
(LHP Donovan Hand)
12:10 p.m. — Well, we’ve got a lineup change. Jayson Werth was supposed to make his spring debut today, but he has been scratched about an hour before first pitch. Not sure what the reason for that would be, but I’ll let you know if I find anything out. Eury Perez now enters the lineup, in center field, with Nate McLouth shifting to right field. A bunch of other guys were moved up the batting order, as well.
1:06 p.m. — And we’re underway with, what else, a sinker from Doug Fister to Matt Angle for strike one. Eighty-five fabulous degrees here at first pitch.
1:11 p.m. — Fister couldn’t have scripted a much better first inning in a Nationals uniform. He struck out Angle looking. He struck out Donovan Solano swinging. And he got Jarrod Saltamacchia to pop-up to short to complete a very efficient, 1-2-3 inning. Fister works really fast, and his windup is short and compact. A no-nonsense guy, in every sense.
1:26 p.m. — How many times the last two years did the Nats score a run in this manner: Strikeout-wild pitch, stolen base, infield single, RBI single to left? Not too many times. The Matt Williams Era indeed is going to be different. Ian Desmond was the guy who hustled his way on base after whiffing at a wild pitch, then stole second to put himself in scoring position. He took third on Ryan Zimmerman’s grounder to the hole on the left side and then scored on Wilson Ramos’ line drive single to left. 1-0 Nats after one.
1:33 p.m. — And the Marlins strike back with a two-out rally. Fister surrendered a double down the right-field line to Derek Deitrich, then a bloop single to Reed Johnson that fell in front of Eury Perez, who didn’t appear to get a great jump in center field. Not sure Perez would’ve made the play, but he certainly would’ve given himself a better chance. That should do it for Fister, whose final line will be: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. All in all, a solid, if unspectacular debut. 1-1 as we go to the bottom of the second.
2:15 p.m. — The bad news: Chris Young came in to relieve Fister and immediately gave up a home run to Ed Lucas. He did bounce back with a scoreless fourth. The good news: Adam LaRoche destroyed a pitch from lefty Brian Flynn for a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, an encouraging sign if ever there was one. For all the talk about Ryan Zimmerman starting at first base sometimes when the Nats are facing a lefty, LaRoche could make that a moot point if he hits lefties the way he has in the past, especially 2012. 3-2 Nats now after four.
2:40 p.m. — A bit of a shaky spring debut for Craig Stammen, who served up an RBI double to Donovan Solano in the fifth and also walked a batter. His teammates responded, though, with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, with Jeff Kobernus tripling to right to drive in Nate McLouth and then scoring on Desmond’s grounder to the right side. So it’s 5-3 Nats as Sammy Solis enters for the sixth.
2:48 p.m. — Nice job by Solis in his first-ever big-league spring training game. Though he surrendered a base hit, he rebounded to get a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, with Zach Walters and Jamey Carroll showing off some nifty work up the middle to turn it.
3:28 p.m. — The Nats have started piling on now. They scored four runs in the seventh to take a commanding 9-3 lead behind a two-run double from Matt Skole. Solis, meanwhile, turned in two scoreless innings to complete a solid debut pitching performance.
3:38 p.m. — A couple of really nice plays at shortstop today by Zach Walters, who just finished the top of the eighth by diving way to his right and firing to first for the out. He’s also had a great day at the plate, improving to 5-for-5 for the spring. You know, Walters has been kind of a forgotten man this spring, but he probably shouldn’t be. Still 9-3 in the eighth.
3:59 p.m. — That’s your ballgame. Jerry Blevins wraps up a 10-3 Nats victory. They’re now 3-0 in the Grapefruit League. And I’m headed to the airport, hoping to get home before the snow begins!
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