Mar 26, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT
JUPITER, Fla. — Stop me if you’ve seen this game before: Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals face Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals. Yes, it happened on that fateful October night in 2012. It has happened several times in spring training since. Shoot, it happened five days ago, right here in this very ballpark. But that’s the schedule, so here we go yet again this afternoon.
Gonzalez is making his final start of the spring, hoping to find the strike zone with a bit more consistency than he did on Friday. He’s slated for five or six innings, building his pitch count up past 80 in anticipation of his first start of the season one week from today at Citi Field.
Most of the regulars made the trip today, the notable exceptions being Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche. Those guys are both slated to play in a minor-league game in Viera, getting a bunch of at-bats.
As an added bonus, today is the first of two straight games being televised by ESPN. Steve Levy, Doug Glanville and Eduardo Perez are here for the call today and will be in Port St. Lucie tomorrow. As always, though, you can get updates and analysis right here throughout…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Where: Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: MLB.com (Cardinals’ feed)
Weather: Partly cloudy, 63 degrees, Wind 17 mph in from LF
3B Anthony Rendon
CF Nate McLouth
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
1B Justin Bloxom
LHP Gio Gonzalez
3B Matt Carpenter
SS Jhonny Peralta
LF Matt Holliday
RF Allen Craig
C Yadier Molina
1B Matt Adams
2B Mark Ellis
CF Jon Jay
RHP Adam Wainwright
1:08 p.m. — And we’re underway with Anthony Rendon digging in to face Adam Wainwright.
1:14 p.m. — Nothing happening in the top of the first, aside from Jayson Werth reaching on a two-out error by Jhonny Peralta, who couldn’t handle a grounder to his left. Bryce Harper struck out looking at a curveball from Wainwright, a pitch that appeared a tad high and/or outside. Harper gave a look back at plate umpire Angel Hernandez but didn’t appear to say much of anything.
1:28 p.m. — The good news: Gio Gonzalez found the plate in the bottom of the first. He threw 17-of-21 pitches for strikes. The bad news: He was finding too much of the plate. The Cards smoked three singles against him, producing two runs and taking an early 2-0 lead.
1:43 p.m. — If Gio’s mission today was to throw strikes, he’s got to be ecstatic. Through two innings, he has thrown 23-of-27 pitches for strikes. The Cards have four total hits, all singles, but that might be less of a concern to the lefty. Still 2-0 after two.
1:52 p.m. — More good news/bad news: The Nats have recorded a hit off Wainwright. Anthony Rendon singled up the middle in the top of the third. They still haven’t scored a run off him, though. You may remember he tossed eight scoreless innings against them last week, so that’s 11 straight innings now without the Nats scoring off Wainwright.
2:01 p.m. — It hasn’t been a stellar afternoon so far for the Nationals in the field. They were charged with their second error in three innings when Ian Desmond’s throw on an attempted turn of a double play got past fill-in first baseman Justin Bloxom. That put a runner in scoring position for the Cardinals, and he came around to cross the plate on Yadier Molina’s second RBI single of the day, with Jayson Werth’s throw to the plate sailing well wide. It’s 3-0 St. Louis against a Washington club that kind of looks like it would rather be somewhere else today.
2:16 p.m. — Chaos here in Jupiter. Bryce Harper was thrown out at first base on a bang-bang play, yelled something at umpire Jeff Gosney and was immediately ejected. Can’t say I’ve seen many guys ejected from a spring training game. Then, as Harper was gathering all his stuff and walking to the clubhouse down the left-field line, with fans hanging over the railing asking for his autograph, Matt Williams and third base ump C.B. Bucknor were screaming at each other. Seriously, is it Opening Day yet?
2:35 p.m. — Now Gonzalez gets drilled in the left arm by a Wainwright pitch (a curveball) in the top of the fifth. Gio was talking to Wainwright as he walked to first base, but he appeared to be smiling. So much for an uneventful afternoon here in Jupiter, huh?
2:55 p.m. — That’s it for Gio’s spring. He goes five innings today, allowing three runs (two earned). He finishes with a 2.94 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. Next up: April 2 at Citi Field. Still 3-0 Cardinals as Ross Detwiler enters.
3:05 p.m. — A scoreless sixth from Detwiler, who retired the side with a strikeout. It’s been a scoreless game for the Nats lineup, which wasn’t able to do anything in five innings against Wainwright and hasn’t done anything the last two innings against the Cardinals bullpen. Still 3-0 at the stretch.
3:36 p.m. — Here come the Nats. They scored two in the top of the eighth, with Caleb Ramsey delivering the big, two-out single. Moments before that, though, Danny Espinosa struck out on a mighty, left-handed swing, stranding the bases loaded with one out. For the first time in awhile, Danny looked like the 2013 version of himself there. 3-2 Cards, going to the bottom of the eighth.
3:43 p.m. — Another scoreless inning for Aaron Barrett. That’s 10 2/3 scoreless for the spring now. Hey, Aaron: You already made the team. You can ease up a little now, OK?
3:50 p.m. — Game over. Nats lose 3-2.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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