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Nats vs. Cardinals — 3/8/14

Mar 9, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

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Stephen Strasburg makes his second start of the spring this afternoon, looking to build up his arm a bit more, likely slated for three innings of work against the Cardinals. The right-hander, who tossed two scoreless frames against the Braves on Tuesday, will again look to use his newly developed slider on occasion.

Several regulars are in Matt Williams’ lineup against St. Louis right-hander Joe Kelly, including Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos. Desmond is hitting second once again, and Williams told reporters in Viera this morning he is considering using the shortstop there once the season begins.

Enjoy the game on TV and radio today, and enjoy the conversation here as always…

Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EST
TV: MASN, MLB Network
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 71 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF

3B Anthony Rendon
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Brock Peterson
DH Scott Hairston
LF Nate McLouth
CF Eury Perez
(RHP Stephen Strasburg)

CF Peter Bourjos
2B Kolten Wong
DH Allen Craig
1B Scott Moore
RF Shane Robinson
3B Daniel Descalso
LF Joey Butler
C Tony Cruz
SS Pete Kozma
(RHP Joe Kelly)

  1. Doc - Mar 9, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    What’s with Brock Peterson—is he one of Williams’ relatives?

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      Probably want to see if he can handle real MLB starting pitching instead of Tyler Moore.

  2. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Looking forward to seeing my guys on tv, ST game or not. Missed hearing yesterday’s games as I was out and about.

  3. kirbs3256 - Mar 9, 2014 at 1:27 PM


  4. natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    FP diagnosed the problem with Hairston perfectly. A veteran who doesnt or won’t grasp the situation is frustrating. It worked out to a 2 strike walk but I expect more from Hairston.

    • Hiram Hover - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      You really have to dislike the guy to complain about how he draws a walk in spring training.

      • ehay2k - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        +1 this is ST, not WS.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Take it up with FP.

  5. kirbs3256 - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Look out, they are giving Gio a mic.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      Great segment with Gio.

      Ramos still cranking out the RBIs.

      Base hit on that grounder by Espi? He owes the official scorer a dinner!

      • ehay2k - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:18 PM

        Espi is making solid contact, not whiffing, so that is progress.

  6. ehay2k - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Gio said in 100 pitch outing, he might shake Ramos off once it twice. Nice.

    • ehay2k - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Once OR twice

  7. natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Ramos in full sprint home to score. That was something I’m not sure I have seen speed like that before. Hairston owes Ramos a Ribeye steak.

  8. David Proctor - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Kris Medlen just blew out his elbow.

    • kirbs3256 - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      That make TJ X 2 for him?

    • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      SAY WHAT????

      • David Proctor - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        He threw a pitch and immediately went into the dugout holding his elbow. He also a let out a pretty audible f-bomb.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        That’s unfortunate as Minor is hurting also. Have to think they immediately turn to Ervin Santana.

    • NatsLady - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      I thought it was Os vs Jays on Santana.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        It is and Ervin probably is waiting for an opportunity just like this which is a contending team that suddenly becomes desperate.

        If Medlen is seriously hurt, the Braves have a big problem.

      • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        Seems Enrique Rojas thinks “the Braves in the picture?” and I now see others speculating the same on the Tweeter as the Twins supposedly have offered Ervin Santana 3 years.

        Enrique Rojas/ESPN ‏@Enrique_Rojas1 1h
        Ervin Santana situación a las 5:40 ET: #BlueJays #Orioles en disputa. #Twins se quedó corto. ¿#Atlanta en pintura?

    • zmunchkin - Mar 9, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      Reporting it is a forearm strain – will be having it examined by the team doctor on Monday.

      But that could mean anything.

      Given that his last pitch died before it even got close to home plate can’t be good.

      • jd - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        According to the Mets players it doesn’t look good at all.

    • natsguy1 - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      I, too, hope Medlen is OK, though agree it doesn’t look good.

      But let’s not forget that Medlen was the example the know-it-all pundits pointed at to show how foolish the Nationals were in keeping Strasburg in a normal starter routine in 2012 and shutting him down after ~160 innings. Deadspin called Mike Rizzo “inflexible and blockheaded” for not pursuing the Medlen approach…

      • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        Everyone is assuming. While I will agree it looked awfut, it could be something as minor as a locked up flexor tendon also known as tennis elbow.

        It would be extremely rare to have 2 UCL tears in that close of a timeframe although I guess it is possible.

      • therealjohnc - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:13 PM

        They innings limited Medlen by not using him in the rotation the first couple of months of the season. For the Nats, less Strasburg meant more John Lannan and Yunesky Maya. Given that the Nats’ lead over the Braves was down to two games in August of 2012, it could well have meant the Nationals would have been chasing the Braves, changing the dynamics of the race completely. And if you sit a pitcher and then he has a minor DL stint (hamstring, foul ball of the instep, etc) you could end up leaving innings on the table at the end of the season.

        The criticism is stupid. Once you accept the need for an innings limit (which both the Braves and the Nationals did) the Nationals did it the right way.

  9. natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Espi is making a case for himself but he did last Spring also. Things change quickly once Opening Day starts.

    We can hope for the best which I will do only this time I approach Espi with a heavy dose of skepticism since he’s fooled us before and went back to the long swing last year after he made the roster.

  10. natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Ramos again! Souza with a great slide at home.

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:45 PM

      Souza looks like a player to me. Scores on double from 1st base and took the outside of the plate on his head first slide and touched the plate.

  11. natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    And what did Espinosa do on that K? What long and looping on that swing. He wanted to go long and got air. smh

    • jd - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Is it really necessary to microscope every at bat?

      • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        That’s how I analyze the bubble players. Hoping to see positive change in ST and most of Espi has been until that point he sees ducks on the pond.

        Same thing with Hairston where FP brilliantly said that all he needs is a 16 bouncer to 2nd base to get a RBI instead of swinging long and needed to protect with 2 outs.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        BTW, 2 other people below had their microscopes out on Espinosa. I think nobody will be watched closer except for Detwiler.

  12. Jacob Rasch - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Our quick recap:

    And ICYMI, a look at all of Stephen Strasburg’s sliders from today’s game:

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      Love all the .GIFs.

      Laughing if you are totally serious about the Rendon/Espinosa competition for the 2nd base starter. Apprarently Exposneverdie over at Nats Journal on WaPo thinks its Walters/Rendon/Espinosa competing for 2nd base and as Sunderland pointed out Walters hasnt played an inning at 2nd base all of last season or this ST.

      Rendon is the real deal and Espinosa has to show he can follow a sound approach given the situation. I for one don’t mind a long swing for guys like Espinosa in the right situation like with a man on 3rd in a 1-0 or 2-0 count but not in a 2 strike count.

  13. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    On another note, I realize that it’s a meaningless game and that not all of the regulars are in there, but I do enjoy seeing the Nats beat the Cards. :-)

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:44 PM


  14. letswin3 - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Sunday Observations:
    1) The Terps may not be all that good, but their hearts are huge.
    2) Strass not only takes a look at the runner on first, but he changes his timing to deliver each pitch (can’t time him if he keeps that up) and he looks to be slightly quicker to the plate too. I like all of that.
    3) Walters impressed, but then (in his last at bat) he swung at a bad pitch … it could have been because his ankle was barkin from a foul tip.
    4) Souza caught my attention.
    5) Danny’s swing did look shorter, but then it didn’t. His glove is, however, a thing of beauty.
    6) Christian Garcia LOOKED GOOD … to say the least. I know it was against minor league guys, but everything except his velocity looked good. Cross your fingers.
    7) The Nats TV guys are way classier than the Atlanta guys.

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      5) Danny’s swing did look shorter, but then it didn’t.

      Is it when he is seeing big? Bases loaded and smelling RBIs.

      FP on the MASN broadcast made alot of good observations and I enjoyed watching and listening.

  15. nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Alex Meyer sent to Minor League camp in Twins 1st round of cuts.

  16. Doc - Mar 9, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    With a ‘slow’ speed gun, Purke hit 93 at least once. That is very good news!

    FP thought that CGar was throwing faster than the gun indicated.

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      It was big to see Purke handle himself well today against starters.

  17. nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Enjoyed these comments on NatsJo:

    2:54 PM EDT
    Wilson Ramos has a good shot at being starter catcher.

    2:54 PM EDT
    What, in All Star game or World Series?

    • natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Saw this comment over there earlier and thought to myself, “Wait, I thought Livo retired”? 😉

      “The gun said 53 mph. Uh, how inaccurate are the readings in Spring?”

      • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        LOL, thats great!

      • letswin3 - Mar 9, 2014 at 7:24 PM

        Oh, then that makes me feel better about Christian Garcia’s fastball. I mean the guy was lights out, so I was wondering how his FB could only be like 90-91. Didn’t he touch like 97 at times in the past?

  18. rmoore446 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    I was at the game. Espinoza hit the ball hard but it was a dp ball that was fumbled. Official scorer was very generous all day. Ramos and Rendon really impressed.

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:16 PM


      • zmunchkin - Mar 9, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        That was a hard hit ball and a tough play. Could have gone either way. And probably not a DP ball. SS headed in the wrong direction to be able to get it to 2b for a double play.

    • rmoore446 - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:04 PM

      Scorer initially scored it an error before changing it to a hit. Everyone around me thought it an error, which it would be even if dps isn’t turned. We didn’t have advantage of replay nor FP’s “o objective” analysis. Does not matter as Espinoza will make the team and that’s ok with me at least initially.

  19. nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Then there’s this:

    2:46 PM EDT
    A spring training observation: keep your eyes on Zach Walters. Both Rendon and Espinosa may find themselves on the bench or in AAA if Walters can play a reasonable second base. The kid can rake at the plate.

    • letswin3 - Mar 9, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      AND, he’s a switch hitter. It was nice to see him take a walk today …. before he K’d on a pretty bad pitch.

      • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:13 PM

        The walk was big. Small things are important.

  20. NatsLady - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Marrero didn’t make the cut for the Os. He was sent to minor-league camp.

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      No surprize there. I am surprized hes in the 1st cut.

      • karlkolchak - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        Marrero has officially become an OG guy. I remember watching him, Desmond and Justin Maxwell all play at Potomac back in 2007. What a difference in career trajectories, though Maxwell has now managed to carve out a nice little niche for himself as a 4th outfielder type over in the AL.

  21. nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Challenge in the Reds/Angles game on a bang-bang play at 2nd base on a throw from the catcher.

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      It wasnt overturned and I guess there wasnt conclusive evidence to overturn it. Looked like a swipe tag while the ump called him safe and you couldnt see the glove actually hit the leg from the angle they showed.

  22. NatsLady - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Hey, Mark, I know we lost an hour today, but it’s still TODAY, not yesterday 😉 . March 9, 2014.

  23. nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    FP made a real interesting discussion point on the stat on when the Nats scored 3 or more runs in 2013 they were near 50 games over .500 and FP says the game has gone back to a speed game and thinks Williams will force the other team and keep them under pressure against a more aggressive Nats team in order to add on key runs.

    I think part of the putting the pressure on the other team is roster construction and managing slumping players. Davey chose to keep struggling players in there to get out of there slumps. Do you still leave them in the middle of the order. There were players last year that were like automatic outs. Im most curious to see how Matty manages the daily lineup. I believe Matty has a better roster and depth than Davey did so may be not fair to compare becuz of that.

    Any way I like being aggressive when the game calls for aggressive. Being aggressive causes the other team to make more mistakes by rushing throws and moving around the defense.

    • therealjohnc - Mar 9, 2014 at 11:35 PM

      In Davey’s defense, the reason a lot of the bench guys ended up rusting on the bench or sent to AAA was because when they were called upon they were terrible. Of the bench guys:

      Lombardozzi: flopped completely when Espinosa was terrible.
      Moore: flopped completely when ALR was terrible
      Tracy: flopped pretty much all season
      Bernadina: flopped pretty much all season.

      With the team behind the eight ball by midsummer, if Davey had played any of these guys regularly he would have been roasted, and rightfully so.

      • nats128 - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:47 AM

        I agree with that and often questioned why the Nats gave Tracy a contract extension however Davey wouldnt move the struggling players back in the order. LaRoche stunk it up as the cleanup hitter for almost a solid month of games.

        You are correct that the alternatives werent much better and in Davey’s defense I made this comment ” I believe Matty has a better roster and depth than Davey did so may be not fair to compare becuz of that.”

      • adcwonk - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:58 AM


  24. Joe Seamhead - Mar 9, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    You know who else is raking it sofar? Bernadina is hitting .500 with a .684 OBP. with the Reds.

    • David Proctor - Mar 9, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      He only has 12 ABs.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 9, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Bernadina played with a bum wrist after he got hit on it in the WBC. Similar injury to Morse. I wouldn’t be surprised if both have good comeback seasons.

      • Joe Seamhead - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:17 PM

        As I said, “so far.” BTW he has 14 ABs, + 5 walks, so that’s now 7 hits, 5 walks in 19 plate appearances, SO FAR. Forgive me for making an observation of a small sample size.

  25. nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:15 PM

    The Mets/Braves replay is on MLB Network.

    The play-by-play guy after a Medlen 1st inning K: “Medlen is in mid-season form”

  26. rmoore446 - Mar 9, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Espinoza will make make the team out of spring. Zach will go down for more seasoning. Rizzo wants some sort of additional ROI out of Espinoza and I can’t fault him for that. Just smart business.

    • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:15 PM

      Everything you said makes sense until that player you showcase hurts the team. Some people say that was the deal with Henry Rodriguez. How did that work out and what did Rizzo get in return for him?

      • rmoore446 - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:32 PM

        Not all bets are won and this one might not be. I f it fails, Rizzo and the brain trust should be judged on how soon they cut their losses. They kept Espi up too long last year. Hoping he or they do better this year. I’m ever hopeful.

      • rmoore446 - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        Not all bets are won and this one might not be. They kept Espi up too long last year. Hoping he or they do better this year. I’m ever hopeful.

      • nats128 - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        Fair response.

        Glad its not my decision. I just think its a mistake to treat the situation like Espi needs to be showcased to get ROI. I think you go with Espi if he in fact is the best player.

      • adcwonk - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        They kept Espi up too long last year.

        That’s a bum rap, imho. He only played in 44 games, and, most importantly, there was nobody to replace him.

        When the finally did replace him with Rendon, Rendon had played in something like 66 games — lifetime — in MiLB, less than half of what Harper played before Harper got brought up.

  27. Candide - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Massive traffic jam to the park, and then we missed the turnoff to general parking. Cunegonde told me to just go into the STH parking area, smile, say nothing, and hand over the seven bucks. It worked!!! We ended up parked maybe 100 yards fun the gate!!!

    Steady Eddie stopped by our seats before the game to chat; he’s here with his daughter. Good to meet up again; last time I saw him was 2 years ago at the downtown happy hour Mark and CSN put together.

    Didn’t care too much that Strasburg put three runners on in the first – liked that he was aware they were there and was holding them.

    I’m convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Eury Perez is NOT our center fielder of the future.

    Liked that the Nats jumped out to an 8-1 lead and slowly pulled away.

    Don’t know yet about Danny, but I’ve liked what he’s done the last two days. We were sitting too far away – section 119, near the Nats bull pen – to get a clear idea of his plate approach.

    The Buffalo looked healthy, running hard. Blistered a double off the right center field wall.

    My nephew and his girl friend were with us from up north – a “meet the family” trip for him (apparently went quite well), and a little for her – I met her last weekend, when Cunegonde was out of town, so they meet today.

    After Mark’s recommendation for Bonefish Willy’s worked so well last night, we followed his advice again tonight and ate at Pineda Crossing, a steaks and chops place. Great service, good food. At both places, I told the folks that we were there because of Mark; “he’s the Nationals beat writer for Comcast Sportsnet in DC.” Both times, I got a “who’s he?” reaction, so I flashed his picture from this page, said, “he’s a little greyer than this now, but if he comes in, y’all owe him a drink.”

    Heading home tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll post Facebook pictures. Or you can follow me on Twitter – @bernie_gilbert.

    • rmoore446 - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      I was in section 218. Will see them again next week at Braves. Traffic was awful today. I arrived for first pitch barely. Agree on estimate of Perez.

    • Sonny G 10 - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:00 PM

      Nice report Candide! I’ve enjoyed all the comments made by the NI’ers that have been to Viera. Next best thing to being there myself.

    • ArVAFan - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      Thank you for the reports–glad to know your trip to Florida is going well. Please pack some Florida weather for us. See you on the 29th? “Mutual friend” is giving his symphony tix to the same folks who were there using our tix last time. So we’ll have the opportunity to bore the rest of our neighbors at intermission again.

      • Candide - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        Looking forward to it. Would like to pick your brain regarding the cost/benefit of going to ST before the games begin, just for practice field sessions. Is that really enough to make a long weekend trip worthwhile?

  28. Candide - Mar 9, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    Almost forgot – we did a VERY quick trip to Cocoa Beach, got some terrible video of some surfers.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      But did you visit ‘I Dream of Jeannie Lane?”

      • Candide - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        No. Was looking for Barbara Eden herself. I’ve had the hots for her since I was 15 years old…

      • adcwonk - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:05 AM

        You and 30 million other adolescent males. (including me)

    • ArVAFan - Mar 9, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      Re: just coming to Florida for Pitchers & Catchers drills. Last year, we were there for the end of the drills, and the first 3 home spring training games. This year, we were there for the P & C only. As long as they are training at Viera, I would definitely recommend the P & C or the full squad drills, even if just for a weekend. You’re so close to the players and coaches. We weren’t the only ones who had made that decision, just based on the conversations at the fences and in the parking lot. Our plan for next year: auto train, 10 days, end of practice and one or two games (depends on the schedule, of course). Seeing Eye Single and her husband had reached the same conclusion: they enjoyed watching the drills more than the games (they only made it for a 3-day weekend this year, so they overlapped with us during P & C).

      • Sonny G 10 - Mar 9, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        I concur with this. I really enjoyed my trip to Viera a couple years ago and was only there for the whole team drills. I do think I’ll try to combine the two so I could see a couple of games as well as ArVAFan says above.





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