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Nats vs. Tigers — 3/20/14

Mar 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER

VIERA, Fla. — As far as spring training matchups go, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this: Stephen Strasburg vs. Max Scherzer, with a bunch of regulars in both the Nationals and Tigers lineups.

Strasburg, who last night was officially named the Nats’ Opening Day starter, makes his fourth appearance of the spring and is scheduled for five innings of work. He’ll be followed out of the bullpen by Ryan Mattheus, making his first appearance of the spring after getting delayed by a freak, upper chest injury.

It’s fairly interesting to note that Matt Williams has seven of his regular position players back in the lineup only 17 hours after they started last night against the Astros. You don’t find a whole lot of veterans playing day games after night games in the Grapefruit League. The only change from last night: Danny Espinosa starts at second base instead of Anthony Rendon.

Plenty of updates to come, so please check back throughout…

Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: None
Radio: 1580 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 71 degrees, Wind 11 mph LF to RF

CF Denard Span
SS Ian Desmond
RF Jayson Werth
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Danny Espinosa
RHP Stephen Strasburg

2B Ian Kinsler
LF Tyler Collins
1B Victor Martinez
RF Don Kelly
C Alex Avila
CF Austin Jackson
3B Nick Castellanos
DH Trevor Crowe
SS Danny Worth
(RHP Max Scherzer)

1:06 p.m. — And we’re underway with a fastball from Stephen Strasburg to Ian Kinsler for strike one. There’s a pretty sizable brush fire off in the distance. I’d be worried except for the fact these things happen almost daily here.

1:11 p.m. — Well, in the book it’ll look like a 1-2-3 top of the first inning for Strasburg. Except, it wasn’t anything like a normal 1-2-3 inning. Denard Span flat-out dropped Kinsler’s line drive right at him. Can’t imagine what caused that, there are no excuses. Then came an even weirder play: a 6-4-3 double play in which the ball deflected off Ian Desmond’s glove, was barehanded by Danny Espinosa, who stepped on second and fired to first to complete the twin-killing. Victor Martinez then sent a routine flyball to left to end a very strange top of the first.

1:19 p.m. — Man, did Jayson Werth square up a ball off Scherzer in the bottom of the first. Drilled a double to the gap in left-center. Otherwise, nothing of note for the Nats in the inning.

1:26 p.m. — A nice top of the second for Strasburg, who struck out Don Kelly and Alex Avila looking at curveballs and then got Austin Jackson to ground out to short. Also interesting: The Nats employed the same shift on Avila that they used last night on a left-handed batter. It involves Ryan Zimmerman positioning himself basically where a second baseman usually stands, with Ian Desmond remaining at shortstop and Danny Espinosa moving to shallow right field. Definitely a Mark Weidemaier special.

1:41 p.m. — Strasburg allowed a bloop single to Nick Castellanos to open the third, but the Nats erased him by … get this … throwing him out trying to steal second! How about that? Still 0-0 as we go to the bottom of the third.

2:00 p.m. — And the Nats take a 3-0 lead with an explosion against Scherzer in the bottom of the third. Espinosa lined a sharp single to right, then took second on Strasburg’s sac bunt. Span then put together a fantastic at-bat against Scherzer, eventually sending a grounder up the middle for a single. Bobby Henley, meanwhile, waved Espinosa around and though the throw beat him to the plate, Espinosa made a nifty move to elude the tag and then dove back to the plate to score the run. Moments later, Desmond tattooed an 0-2 pitch from Scherzer over the wall in left-center, a 2-run bomb. So just like that, things looking up for the Nats.

2:25 p.m. — That cheer you just heard emanating from Space Coast Stadium wasn’t for Strasburg striking out Avila. It was Craig Stammen and Jerry Blevins finding out that their Dayton Flyers just beat Ohio State in the NCAA tournament. But seriously, Strasburg wrapped up a strong outing. He went 5 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and a walk, striking out five and recording only two flyball outs. Excellent stuff. For the spring as a whole, Strasburg has now allowed one run and 8 hits over 14 innings, striking out 10 while walking 4. Still 3-0 Nats in the middle of the fifth.

2:49 p.m. — Drew Storen entered for the sixth and wound up allowing a run, though it came via a soft double down the right-field line and a soft single up the middle that just eluded Espinosa’s reach. 3-1 Nats now as we go to the bottom of the sixth.

3:14 p.m. — Not a bad showing from the Nats lineup today. They put up five runs in 5 2/3 innings against Scherzer. Also, Ryan Mattheus just made his spring debut, and though he did give up a couple of rockets, he retired the side in the seventh and notched a strikeout. It’s 5-1 Nats at the stretch.

3:25 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 eighth for Michael Gonzalez, who struck out a pair. Ross Detwiler’s move to the bullpen would seem to leave Gonzalez on the outside looking in, but that’s not necessarily a fact. The Nats could ultimately keep three left-handers if they think that best helps the club.

3:50 p.m. — And that’ll do it. Nats win, 8-1.

  1. Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:04 PM


    “Of course, tomorrow he’ll probably field the same line up, but with Espi and no Rendon ”

    Me, yesterday.

    • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Well, almost the same line up, aside from Rendinosa (Werth and Zim also switched places)

  2. David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Washington Nationals ‏@Nationals 22s
    The #Nats have optioned RHP Ross Ohlendorf, C Jhonatan Solano, INF Zach Walters & RHP Christian Garcia to Triple-A Syracuse.

    Interesting that Barrett survives the cuts, but not Garcia or Ohlendorf.

    • David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Washington Nationals ‏@Nationals 19s
      Additionally, the #Nats reassigned RHP Manny Delcarmen, 1B Brock Peterson & INF Will Rhymes to Minor League camp.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      that kinda sucks. is garcia on same track as HRod or what (for different reasons or whatever)?

      • Hiram Hover - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        Garcia has not looked good in ST.

        There are better options at the moment, and now that starters are going longer, there just aren’t as many chances for him to get game time.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        I was hoping he could make it to the bullpen and be great like he potentially can.

      • Hiram Hover - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Faraz – I’d like to see him back too, but given that he missed almost all of 2013, I think he needs more conditioning and work at AAA first.

      • NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Garcia will get in minor-league games and have plenty of opportunities–more than he would right now in the ML games. For example, Clip said he wants 10 appearances, he’s had 6. Soriano wants 7, he’s had 4, you have to give Detwiler several appearances (including back-to-back games), and so on. There are nine games left (ten if you count the Tigers game, but that is more of a “dress reheasal” than a ST game). You want to stretch out your starters now to at least six innings. That doesn’t leave a lot of innings for the relievers.

      • NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        Especially because you still aren’t going to play past 9 or 10 innings. So you have to fit everyone into say, 30-35 innings at most. Putting Detwiler in the bullpen early was a good idea, but it may have pushed Garcia over to the minor-league camp to get his work.

    • NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      Barrett stays for another week or so because Mattheus isn’t ready. Then we shall see.

      • NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Same for Gonzalez. You keep a few one-inning guys around so you don’t have to run over to minor-league camp and grab someone (thus interrupting whatever role/plan is working for them over there).

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    oooh, ace match up!

  4. NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Span dropped another ball. Anyone at the game? Charlie & Dave say he should have gotten it, wind should not be a factor.

    • David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      Kolko says he lost it in the sun

  5. David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    Span is not a fan of playing the OF in Viera apparently.

  6. flnatsfan - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Let’s just get all the errors out of the way before they actually matter…

  7. Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    lol, wow.

    ::: breeeeeeeeeathe, Eric, it’s just spring training :::

    • adcwonk - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Also note how many errors Span had last year in 153 games.


  8. David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Apparently Espinosa just made an INCREDIBLE play.

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 1m
    Unreal. As weird a 6-4-3 as you’ll see. Ball bounces off Desmond’s arm right to Espinosa, who barehands it, tags 2nd and turns the DP. Wow.

    • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      That’s the kind of thing that makes it really hard for me to write off Espi. I just love really, really good D.

  9. NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Espinosa just made (another) amazing play. In real-life that would have probably have saved a run.

  10. natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Do we have any indication if Matty will use his best bench player who is available 50 games during the season? Yes I’m referring to Ramos and on the other side Lobaton for 112 games. Does Matty dare try that? I think he will but sparingly.

  11. Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Woo! Werth! The rookie “Cy Young” confounds us, but Werth doubles off the real Cy Young winner. I don’t know if that’s enouraging or concerning! 😉

    • David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      Not that Cosart wasn’t great, he was, but I’m wondering if the shadows and sun didn’t play a factor in that. The Astros didn’t exactly kill Jordan either.

      • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Yeah, the Astros commentators were discussing the shadows early on.

        The “encouraging or concerning” was kind of a swipe at myself for taking ST so seriously. What’s wrong with me!? I don’t see how I make it to the ASB without taking a break this year unless we’re really tearing it up.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        “What’s wrong with me?”


      • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:52 PM


  12. thelatencn - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Nats spring training report on MLB Radio at 4 pm today.

  13. David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    Harper having a rough spring.

  14. natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    “@BNightengale: Aroldis Chapman likely out until June after suffering broken bone near eye and mild concussion,. #Reds.

    Nats would miss him end of May.

    • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      He’s very lucky…not that a broken eye socket is anything to sneeze at…

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      Here’s hoping his vision stays unaffected. I still can’t get Tony C. out of my mind’s eye.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        I wasn’t born when that accident happened to Tony C. Many people have said just that on Chapman on the comparisons for his eyesight but feel that as a pitcher it’s more to do with dealing with the head trauma part. Conigliaro as a batter had vision problems which is always a problem for a hitter.

      • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        Ramos baby! Caught ‘im stealin!

      • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:42 PM

        Weird, the reply box was down at the bottom when I posted this. Argh.

        Anyway, just read up on Tony C. Was there any indication of damage to the eye as part of the initial injury? The WaPo article specifies that Chapman’s eye is OK.

      • Sonny G 10 - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        Indians pitcher Herb Score also comes to mind. His career was derailed by a line drive to the face from Gill McDougald in 1957.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        And of course there’s Ray Chapman.

      • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        The Ray Chapman story is always good for a stomach turn…ugh.

    • dcsportsfan2277 - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      gotta wish him a speedy recovery…just not too speedy :)

  15. natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    It’s official, Brandon Beachy will have TJ surgery on Friday.

  16. NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Not a shock, but Beachy having TJ surgery.

  17. David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Ramos guns down a runner.

    • NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      And Danny gets a hit. It isn’t all bad. :)

  18. Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Espi singles off Scherzer of all people. Nice.

  19. Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    Nice! Span plates Espi.

  20. David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Wow, a wild play apparently. Espinosa scores from second on an infield hit by Span. The throw beat Espinosa home, but Espinosa avoided the tag. However, Espinosa overslid and missed the plate. But he went back and touched it before being tagged. Nats up 1-0.

    • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM

      DESI! Woo! 3-0 Nats!

  21. David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Desmond follows with a 2 run shot off Scherzer.

  22. natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Luis Ayala to the Orioles. Interesting, very interesting.

  23. NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:30 PM


    Saw a question, why don’t the Nats sell naming rights for the park. (I believe they did sell rights to the “Stars and Stripes Club” but I could be wrong). Rights were estimated at $5 million/year.

    I don’t think they will sell as long as Uncle Ted is living. Firstly, they get a radio advertisement every time there is heavy traffic on I-295. Think how many people saw the ad for the Nationals every time the intro montage for House of Cards is played. I’m not sure it would have been included if the stadium had a sponsor name. Surely that “free” advertising comes close to $5 million a year.

    Second, I remember reading the Lerners modeled the amenities after Yankee Stadium, which is why they give a free program for each game. If that’s the case, the Lerners may want the name and team to become iconic–Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals.

    Cousin Mark could change the policy, but I haven’t even heard the vague rumors of a naming-rights deal, and so far, there hasn’t been a problem with budget for the team.

    • David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      I heard they just wanted to wait until the team had some prolonged success so that the naming rights would be worth more.

      • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        I think that’s the case. Texas Rangers went from Ameriquest to Globe Life Park for $5 million per year. That’s a boatload of money.

        Exxon Mobil wanted it according to the rumor mill and Lerner didn’t think the timing was right when gas was over $4 a gallon.

        If the extra cashflow raises spending I’m all for it.

      • NatsLady - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        That would make sense. The renaming of Stars and Stripes could be a trial “balloon.”

    • TimDz - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:58 PM

      If the Nats can EVER get out from under the MASN deal and sign a RSN agreement at fair market value, the stadium rights agreement would probably not be necessary…

  24. Danny - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Drew has not been good this Spring.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      And just like that, there goes the shutout. I’m more upset with that walk. The hit to RF could’ve been wind aided.

    • David Proctor - Mar 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      He’s never had a good Spring (even in 2011), so I wouldn’t worry too much.

  25. Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Just back from a meeting…looks like I missed some great stuff! Barely made it in time to hear of Mattheus’ rather successful return, although it sounds like he had a couple of loud outs.

  26. natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Since someone was comparing these Nats to the Eckstein days, the BA updates:

    Ramos .355
    Span .333
    Werth .333
    Rendon .323
    RZim .300
    ALR .265
    Desi .241
    Espi .206
    Harp .167

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      I was premature,

      Spam .324
      Espi .200
      Hairston .200
      McLouth .185

  27. Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Nice. This game is an excellent antidote to yesterday’s frustation fest

    • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      Wow…just awesome. Back-to-back ribbies from Rendon and Lobaton. 8 – 1 Nats.

  28. natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Add a RBI and a Run scored for Rendon. That’s in response to the person comparing him to Espi in run production. Not much of a stat for Spring Training.

    • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      I’m more interested in Lobaton getting in the groove.

    • Eric - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      Rendon did that in response to my post? How flattering! 😉

      • natinalsgo - Mar 20, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        Yes, he knew he needed guys on base and someone to knock in!

  29. Jacob Rasch - Mar 20, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Our quick recap here, in case you missed the game:





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