Mar 19, 2014, 1:32 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Ah, it’s good to be back…
I just arrived in town after taking a morning flight down from D.C., and let me tell you it sure is nice to see sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. And, of course, it’ll be nice to see some baseball with my own eyes tonight, with the Nationals hosting the Astros here at Space Coast Stadium.
Taylor Jordan gets the start, and each start now is big for the guys competing for the No. 5 starter’s job. Ross Detwiler, meanwhile, is slated to pitch an inning out of the bullpen as the lefty begins the transformation from starter to reliever.
Plenty of updates to come, so please check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. HOUSTON ASTROS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 6:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: MLB.com (Astros’ feed)
Weather: Partly cloudy, 69 degrees, Wind 5 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Anthony Rendon
(RHP Taylor Jordan)
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Jose Altuve
C Jason Castro
LF Marc Krauss
1B Jon Singleton
RF L.J. Hoes
3B Marwin Gonzalez
SS Jonathan Villar
RHP Jarred Cosart
6:06 p.m. — And we are underway on a gorgeous Wednesday night here in Viera. Taylor Jordan starts off Dexter Fowler with a sinker for strike one.
6:15 p.m. — Kind of a wild top of the first for Jordan and the Nats. He started things off really well, striking out Fowler with a slider. But then things got weird. Ryan Zimmerman made a nice diving stop of Jose Altuve’s smash to his left, hopped to his feet and then threw wild to first base. It was ruled an error, though that was later changed to a base hit by the official scorer. Either way, it was both a tough play for Zim but also a not-so-great-looking throw. Compounding matters, Jordan had Altuve breaking for second too soon but then fired wildly to second base for a 2-base error. An RBI groundout, a walk and a base hit to right brought one run and prolonged the inning. It finally ended with the Astros on top 1-0, but it wasn’t a thing of beauty.
6:23 p.m. — And then a super-quick bottom of the first for Jarred Cosart, who got Span and Zimmerman to tap comebackers to the mound and also struck out Desmond. Zim’s bat was completely shattered by the right-hander.
6:37 p.m. — Make it 6 up, 6 down for Cosart, who just struck out Werth and Ramos in the bottom of the second. The Astros are high on this young right-hander, and you can certainly see why. Nats still down 1-0 after two.
6:42 p.m. — Jordan has done a nice job settling down after that ragged first inning. He’s retired five in a row, four of them on groundballs, and is through the third inning with the score still 1-0.
6:53 p.m. — Jarred Cosart, ladies and gentlemen. Nine up, nine down, six strikeouts. Man oh man.
6:58 pm. — Jordan continues to settle into a nice groove. He has now retired eight in a row, six of them on groundballs and the two others on strikeouts. That’s exactly what you want from a sinkerballer. Still 1-0 as we go to the bottom of the fourth.
7:14 p.m. — That’ll probably be it for Jordan, who has completed five innings. His line will be: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 68 pitches, 44 strikes. Of his 15 outs, nine came via groundballs. All in all, a solid outing for the young right-hander. The Nats still trail 1-0 and are still seeking their first hit off Cosart.
7:19 p.m. — Cosart: 15 up, 15 down, 9 strikeouts. Mighty, mighty impressive. Meanwhile, here’s Ross Detwiler making his first relief appearance of the spring.
7:29 p.m. — Perfectly effective job by Detwiler in the sixth. He issued a two-out walk to Marc Krauss but struck out Jason Castro on a nifty offspeed pitch down and in, and got a pair of groundballs to complete a scoreless inning of relief. And good news for the Nats: Cosart is done after five perfect innings. They’ll now try to notch their first hit of the night against lefty Raul Valdes.
7:43 p.m. — And there goes the no-hitter. Anthony Rendon scoots a single through the right side of the infield with one out in the sixth. The Nats wound up loading the bases with two outs, but Valdes got Zimmerman to fly out to right to kill the rally. So it remains 1-0 after six. Here’s Rafael Soriano out of the pen.
7:52 p.m. — A 1-2-3 seventh for Soriano, which is always a good thing. Still 1-0 Astros at the stretch.
8:01 p.m. — Golden opportunity for the Nats in the bottom of the seventh after base hits by Werth and Ramos. But LaRoche lined out hard to center and Rendon struck out swinging to end the inning and leave the Nats scoreless for the night. Tyler Clippard on for the top of the eighth.
8:14 p.m. — Make it 2-0 Astros as Clippard serves up a towering homer to Jesus Guzman, who cleared both fences in right field. Worse, Clippard drilled top prospect Carlos Correa in, I believe, the left wrist with a fastball. Correa went down in a heap and was helped off by a trainer. Clippard certainly hopes it wasn’t anything serious.
8:42 p.m. — That’s your ballgame. Nats lose 2-0.
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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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