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Nats vs. Marlins — 3/2/14

Mar 2, 2014, 10:25 AM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

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…

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!

  1. David Proctor - Mar 2, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Last year, in Spring, Doug Fister had a 5.68 spring ERA. In 2011, he had a 5.01 spring ERA.

    • Candide - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      DFA HIM!!!

  2. Jb - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Calling 1580 “radio” is really stretching it.

  3. janebeard - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Mark, maybe you should re-think your travel plans and stay down THERE for another, oh, two-three days. A tip from up North.

    The Ian Desmond cookies are lined up on the counter, ready to give the dogs when Ian steps into the box for the first time today. And may Doug have a great outting today, even if it *doesn’t* count.

    • wearenationals - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      We’re def staying an extra day. JetBlue is already telling us to reschedule for Tuesday. We really don’t mind staying another day of warmth

      • natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        Good call. Bring back some Florida sunshine with you. :-)

  4. realdealnats - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Liked what Boz had to say today in WaPo. It is a razor’s edge between having the necessary patience for continuity’s sake and keeping a vigilant realistic eye and making the adjustments. The Cards do it very well year in and year out. I hope we can. The proof will be in the eating of the pudding: The World Series.

  5. Sonny G 10 - Mar 2, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    I’m having fish for dinner. Maybe the Nats will have some for lunch!

    • NatsNut - Mar 2, 2014 at 2:28 PM


  6. sjm308 - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    Have done more reading than posting lately. Good to see some of the regulars slowly coming out of their hibernation and I expect we will be over 200 posts/article in the near future.

    Am I alone in thinking that the biggest issue for our lads is injury or avoiding it? I love the details that we have read about (and for some luckily seen) and I think things look almost as rosy as a Boswell article about baseball but I still think the key is staying healthy. I am already reading about certain stars having minor setbacks, Grienke, the young pitcher out in Seattle, Kemp is not healed, Hamilton pulled something, it just increases each day. To me, one of the most important issues in managing/coaching this group is to make sure they do enough to improve each day but also make sure they are put in a healthy atmosphere as well. Of course, it just takes one quirk to break a wrist or tweak a hamstring or run into a fence and you can’t coach that. I am not holding my breath or worrying each day that one of our guys goes down but I do think its a huge key to our success.

    Go Nats!! excited to see both Fister and Werth today

    • David Proctor - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Not quite.

      Mark Zuckerman ‏@ZuckermanCSN 3m
      Jayson Werth scratched from #Nats lineup today. Was supposed to make his spring debut. Will find out what that’s about.

      • sjm308 - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        Hope my thoughts above didn’t jinx things

      • wearenationals - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        First batter first K for Foster!

    • realdealnats - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:32 PM


      Feel the same way re injuries. Gotta let them get in game shape mentally and physically, but I can’t help watching Desi and Zim beating a path to 1B and Desi stealing 2B thinking hammy, hammy. Gotta be tough though and play like you mean it.

  7. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Can’t wait to see my Nats on tv!

  8. wearenationals - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Three up three down. Foster is looking good… No dominant

  9. veejh - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    Hmmmmmm…a double play

  10. Chas - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    hey, i made it to a game!
    sec. 117 (in the Livo jersey)

  11. NatsNut - Mar 2, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    I’ve got Charlie and Dave on for the first time this year. Now I’m REALLY in heaven.

    Go Nats! Win games!

  12. Candide - Mar 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Great throw by the Marlins’ third baseman!!!

    • natinalsgo - Mar 2, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      Just a little wide.

  13. natinalsgo - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Any Werth updates?

    • veejh - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      Hopefully its nothing. Worrisome.

  14. smatt1001 - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    It’s just spring training but this is fun to watch.

  15. Candide - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Nifty play by Zach Walters.

  16. natinalsgo - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Zach Walters showing something. Impressive so far. Yes, small sample sizes.

    • Doc - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      They are all small samples in ST; but Walters’ has the best small sample so far.

      Both he and Espi are switchies, and Espi has the proven record as the better fielder, but let’s see what Zach can do with the bat.

      Williams and Walters have their Arizona history.

  17. Chas - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    Safe travels, Mark. Sorry I didn’t get to say hi in person.

    Did get to say hi to Livo, tho, in my #61 jersey. And it is about 30° warmer today than the game I was at last year. Not to mention 60° warmer than where I am going back to.

  18. veejh - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Walters is on fiiiiyyyyaaahhhhhhh!!!!

    • natinalsgo - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      Facing Minor Leaguers with no scouting reports helps. Still tough to hit that well in softball.

  19. veejh - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    So far, 26 runs in 2 games. I hope the regular season is like this.

  20. natinalsgo - Mar 2, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Bob and FP giving the stats I wrote on the team record vs Cards, Dodgers and Braves only they had the Barves stat wrong as it was 6-13 not 5-13.

  21. Candide - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Nats win! Woo-HOO!

  22. Drew - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Wouldn’t it be something if Zach Walters beat out Espinosa, Carroll, Kobernus and Fontenot for the utility spot?

    Sure, it’s unlikely, but what fascinates me about ST is that the Nats now have so much talent that the individual performances matter.

    Garcia’s bad debut matters because Ayala and Delcarmen are plausible alternatives.

    Taylor Jordan’s crisp first start puts pressure on Detwiler and Roark.

    Whoever makes the club, it’s encouraging that there will be a lot of quality depth at Syracuse.

  23. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    Was great to watch my Nats on tv, even if it didn’t count.

    (Somebody tell Bob that Jamey wasn’t traded to the Rockies but rather sold. )

  24. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    btw, I’m still working on a few things here. When the Nats didn’t send the runner from 3rd on the sac fly late in the game, I’m like – um, why? Them I’m like, oh yeah, right. The score. Don’t want to show anybody up. Like I said, I’m still a little rusty.

    • NatsNut - Mar 2, 2014 at 9:08 PM

      Just getting your reps in 1a…





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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