Saturday, March 03, 2007

Game Log: Nats vs. Orioles, 3/3/2007

Here's my running commentary of today's Nats-O's spring training game. Keep scrolling to read all the comments in reverse chronological order, or start at the bottom and work your way up.

To spare yourself the agony, check out the box score.

Bottom of the 9th:
Lombard got a hit but that was it. O's win, 7-2.

I'll post a more in-depth reaction later, but this game confirmed a lot of my suspicions about the weak spots in the team. The hitting was sporadic and the defense was shaky. The pitching (except for Hanrahan's outing) was pretty impressive on the whole. It was nice to be watching Nats baseball again despite the loss.

Top of the 9th:
Ryan Wagner replaces Saul Rivera and becomes the Nats' seventh pitcher of the day. Kind of reminds me of last September's games.

Rivera's line:
1IP, 1H, 0ER, 0BB, 0K.

The Orioles hit a leadoff double then Womack boots a routine ground ball to short. It's the Nats' second error of the day and the O's lead 7-2.

Nats underboss Mark Lerner has joined Bodes in the stands. Lerner is wearing a blue blazer with a red shirt underneath and a batting practice hat. Bodes is wearing a black turtleneck. Joy Browning has giant sunglasses on that cover her entire face. It's all very L.A..

Belliard tries to no-look, one-hand a chopper off the plate and boots it toward first. The bases are now loaded with two outs. Somehow it's not scored as an error. Wagner strikes out the batter to escape the jam, inning over.

Bottom of the 8th:
Casto hits a 2-out grounder off the mound to reach first base. Should I be concerned that so many of the Nats' hits have been grounders that happen to take an odd bounce in the infield? I'm not seeing a lot of solid hits. Nunez strikes out looking to strand Casto and end the inning.

Top of the 8th:
Saul Rivera replaces Rauch on the mound.

Rauch's line:
1IP, 0H, 0ER, 0BB, 1K. Not bad. The O's haven't scored since the Hanrahan disaster back in the 3rd.

Rivera knocked down a hard grounder by Yan that ricocheted toward Kory Casto at third. Casto made a charging, one-handed grab and throw that almost caught the runner at first. It's too bad we don't have room in the infield for this guy.

Brito tries to catch Yan stealing and throws it high. The Nats' catchers are having trouble getting those throws down today. The Nats get out of the jam on a grounder to first.

Bottom of the 7th:
Tony Womack steps to the plate. Womack has been given the goose eggs (00) to wear, perhaps in anticipation of following the number's former owner, Brandon Watson, off the roster. Womack strikes out. Macias strikes out. Brito strikes out. Inning over. The Nats have struck out ten times today.

Top of the 7th: Yeeeaaaaaargh! The Wookie, Jon Rauch has taken the mound. Ray King is done.

Ray King's line: .2IP, 1H, 0ER, 0BB, 0K.

Nats turn a 5-4-3 double play and Rauch strikes out the final batter to end the inning.

Bottom of the 6th:
The Guz gets hit by a 2-1 pitch, sparing him the embarassment of going 0-3. Wilson strikes out and Nunez singles to reach and send the Guz to second. Fick grounds out to end the inning and strand two.

Top of the 6th:
Big Ray King is on the mound for the Nats. Traber sits down, having pitched a great day.

Traber's line: 2.2IP, 0ER, 3H, 3K.

Fick caught a screamer to first base by Fahey and held the Yan on first. Markakis pops out to center and Nook Logan made a nice throw to first to keep Yan honest.

Flores and King fall asleep and Yan makes an uncontested steal of second.

King finishes out a scoreless inning as Aubrey Huff grounds out weakly to short. King's pitches, especially his breaking stuff, look pretty good at this point. He might be a logical choice as a set-up man for The Chief.

Bottom of the 5th:
A kid in the stands is eating ice cream from a Nationals sundae helmet! Please tell me those will be available at RFK this summer. I had so many Reds helmets from Riverfront when I was a kid. The Nats go down in order like ice cream down the kid's throat.

The empty stands at Space Coast Stadium remind me of what it's going to be like this August at RFK.

Top of the 5th:
Traber pitches another good inning, getting out of a few jams and getting Orioles to pop up to end the inning.

Bottom of the 4th:
Zimmerman ropes one into left for a single and Kearns hits a chopper over the shortstop's head to reach base and move Zimmerman to 2nd. The Nats are in scoring position with no outs.

Church takes a walk and the bases are loaded with no outs for Robert Fick. He promptly produces an RBI 4-6-3 double play. O's lead 6-2. Kearns grounds out to end the inning.

Top of the 4th: Billy Traber comes in to pitch a nice half-inning and Nook Logan made a nice running catch at the wall to end the inning.

Bottom of the 3rd: Jesus Flores rips one into the left field corner for a standup leadoff double. The O's can't handle FLop's high chopper over second base and Flores comes in to score. O's lead 6-1.

The Nats' baserunning woes continue as FLop gets picked off first by the pitcher. Crap. The Guz weakly hacks at a fastball to strike out to end the inning.

Top of the 3rd: Joel Hanrahan takes over on the mound for the Nats.

The O's have scored another run to go up 2-0 during a long MASN interview with Jim Bowden in the stands. Jesus Flores just sailed one over Josh Wilson's head trying to throw out a stealing Oriole for our first Oriole of the day.

JB Interview Money Quote: "The "W" on our hats stands for "Washington," "World" and "Winning." Mkay. Nothing else substantial in the interview. Zimmerman's agent is in town for negotiations tomorrow but Bodes won't talk details now.

Jay Payton sends a grounder up the middle past a diving Josh Wilson to score the runner from 3rd. O's lead 3-0.

Acta comes out and gives Hanrahan the hook. Hanrahan retired only one of the seven batters he faced, walking three, giving up three hits and tossing a wild pitch, all in 2/3 of an inning. Hoo boy! O's lead 4-0.

Hanrahan's line: 0.1 IP, 3H, 5ER, 3BB, 0K. Very ouch, baby.

MASN is now interviewing Stan Kasten as Billy Traber takes the mound. If there is ever a movie made of Stan Kasten's life he must be portrayed by Richard Jenkins (Nathaniel Fisher on Six Feet Under). Another run scores in the meantime. O's lead 5-0.

Kasten promises players in uniform greeting fans at the gates before every RFK home game this year as well as autograph sessions every night. Nice! I'd be just as satisfied with Wal-Mart greeters, but the players themselves are a nice touch.

O's rip a base hit into left field and lead 6-0. A weak grounder to second finally ends the inning and the interview. The Nats pitching looks like crap.

Bottom of the 2nd: Nats go down in order again in the bottom of the 2nd. I'm liking the broadcast team of Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton so far. They seem to have a good chemistry so far. I'm liking that I can watch this on TV at all.

Patterson's line: 2IP, 1ER, 3H, 0BB, 0K, 12 balls and 22 strikes on 34 pitches. Not a horrible first outing. He definitely seemed to have good velocity on his pitches but his control was off on the breaking ball and slider. Nothing a few more starts can't fix.

Top of the 2nd: Patterson and the Nats defense send the O's down in order. We'll see if Acta brings him back in the 3rd.

Hat tip to Barry Svrluga- Brian Schneider's daughter Tatum Elizabeth Schneider was born at 10:03 A.M.. Congratulations to the Schneider family.

Bottom of the 1st: The Guz is in the lineup today as the DH. It will be interesting to see what he can do. Nick Johnson is in the dugout in plainclothes. Nats are at bat. Nook Logan starts things off with a horrible swinging strikeout.

GUZMANIA!!! 2007 starts off inauspiciously at the plate as Cristian pops the first pitch to shallow center. Zimmerman grounds out and a visibly slimmer Austin Kearns steps to the plate. Kearns sends the Nats down in order with a hard liner to short.

Top of the 1st: Let me start off by saying that it's still a shock to me to actually be able to watch the Nats games on TV. Comcast didn't bring MASN to my Arlington TV set until the middle of last September, so this is only my 4th week of being able to watch Nats games. Pretty great stuff. I'm settling in to enjoy the game.

We just got back from the Alexandria St. Patrick's Day parade where it was great to run into MissChatter and see dozens of people wearing Nats hats and other gear. Looks like D.C. area fans are ready for the season.

John Patterson is making his first start of the spring against teh Blowrioles. I love his red glove. The Orioles are sporting hideous neon-orange jerseys. I mean, if I were lost in the wilderness, I'd want one of those O's jerseys so I could be spotted from the air 15 miles away. I'm still getting used to the odd fluting on the batting helmets that the players are wearing.

I agree with Farid: I officially hate the Spring Training hats. That little arch over the ear is weird. Fortunately the Nats are in their home red uniforms today.

Patterson's looking a bit rusty in the first inning; his fastball has plenty of zip but he's having problems with control and location. Fielding continues to be a problem as Josh Wilson just booted a ball at second to prevent Patterson from retiring the O's in order. Then Patterson hangs a breaking ball and gives up a single to left field. Then another base hit by Jay Payton and Baltimore leads 1-0.

A high chopper to second ends the top of the 1st with a run on three hits for the Orioles. The bad news is that Patterson has already thrown over 25 pitches. I know it's only his first outing of the spring, but I (along with Acta and St. Claire) would love to see that pitch count down.