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Braves 6, Nats 2, Middle Of 8th

This one got away from the Nats, mostly on Josh Towers in the sixth, when the Braves had three two-out hits, Nats third baseman Joel Guzman booted a ball, and someone named Freddie Freeman came through with a two-run single. Steven Shell then allowed a solo homer to Jason Heyward in the seventh.

All of Disney, though, is abuzz with news of Daniel Cabrera's hit. "I'm happy," he said.

Of course he is. There was some talk that one of the reasons Cabrera didn't go to the World Baseball Classic with the Dominican team was that he wanted to work on his hitting. This was his first at-bat of the spring.

"That's not really why the reason I didn't go to the baseball classic," he said. "There's a lot of different stuff I've got to do here with a new team. But it always feels good to have a base hit for the first time in my life. ... Things are starting good here. I'm 1 for 1 here on this side."

He also said his pitches were "sharper," and again, through three, that looked to be the case, with a good 15-16 mph of separation between his fastball and changeup. He said he may have gotten a little tired in the fourth (he ended up with 63 pitches, I believe), but he wants to go 80 pitches next time out, and get deeper into the game.

Garrett Mock now on in relief in the eighth. Just issued a one-out walk. Figure the Nats are back to .500 (6-6-1) unless I alert you to a major comeback.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 12, 2009; 3:20 PM ET
 
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Next: The Bullpen: Who Is It?

Comments

So the bullpen blows open a tight game after a decent performance from the starter. Has that ever happened before? I'm drawing a blank.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 12, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Bob. I'm scratching my head too.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 12, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

What about trying Martis in the 8th innning vs. sending him to the minors if he's not in the rotation? The current cast of clowns in the bullpen aren't going to get it done. No way on Colombe. Maybe Mock. Maybe Young? Maybe Kip Wells?

Off topic but would the Nats ever consider signing Pedro Martinez. He's one of my all-time favorite Expos.

Posted by: kc21 | March 12, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Barry, true or false:

Lake Buena Vista makes Viera and HSCS feel like Paris by comparison. Or at least like Rockville.

Hey, I've got next year's slogan:

"Viera, the Paris of Planned Plastic Communities."

Posted by: BobLHead | March 12, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

personally, i'm not all that interested in pedro. at least not the pedro we'd get today. unless someone has some inside knowledge that says he'd be a great teacher type of veteran who'd be a great influence on our youngsters. but i've never heard those kinds of stories about him (as opposed to someone like, say, maddux or sutcliffe). the only kinds of grizzled veterans this team should consider for the rotation are those that can actually teach the youngsters how to handle themselves.

Posted by: sec231 | March 12, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"Viera, the Paris of Planned Plastic Communities." (even better)

Posted by: lowcountry | March 12, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Viera, the Plaster of Paris of Planned Communities" (spoken by Daffy Duck, even better)

Posted by: OldDude | March 12, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Eckstein!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 12, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

From the Boz chat today:

"Ironically, the Nats were trying to lose 105 games in '07 to get the No. 1 overall pick. (Bowden, among others, would say it.) They "blew it." Only got No. 9 overall. Then, when they were trying to get near .500 in a new ballpark last year, they lst 102 and got the No. 1 overall __and maybe Strasburg!"

This explains a lot. The baseball gods giveth (79 wins) and taketh away (the first round pick and the entire 2008 season). Things should improve now that Jimbo has been sacrificed.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 12, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Also, this from BA's 2009 draft preview:

"In the grand scheme of things, if you're picking in the top five picks, how can you settle for a lesser player unless the dollars are just ridiculous?" a second AL scouting director said. "Because of the economy? We've got bullpen guys and fourth outfielders getting $1.2 million, $1.5 million. Just stop doing that and add that to your draft pick."

Gee, that sounds like familiar logic.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 12, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Did I miss a news bulletin about Chris Marrero? I've been checking the box scores and haven't seen his name lately. I didn't think that the Nats have made roster cuts yet. Anybody have any info on what Marrero's doing right now?

Posted by: rnkorby | March 12, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Marrero was sent down.

Posted by: natsguy | March 12, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, just found the press release:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090310&content_id=3957656&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: rnkorby | March 12, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

What about "The Chief" for the 8th inning? We obviously need bullpen help. Bowden is gone, perhaps we take a look at him. The deal would be incentive laden anyway.

Posted by: NatsWin | March 12, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Barry - now every time someone searches the website for recent mentions of a certain "Freeman," they will turn up here. Somehow, I think you are part of a conspiracy to hijack Freeman searches. I'm sure you were put up to it, by you know who. Bobby Cox is part of the conspiracy too. As is Donald Duck.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 12, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

For what it is worth, my impression of Pedro is that he is a gregarious clown when he is not pitching. Well liked in Boston. There must be a YouTube of him showing up in a Yoda mask or of the time his teammates taped him to one of the supports in the dugout. As for pitching and teaching, Pedro has exceptionally long fingers that enable him to grip the ball a bit differently than most people can, but he is quite willing to show the grips to others on his staff and to work with them on their stuff. He was known as having an exceptional change up and a breaking ball, could cut too, along with his fastball. He likes to get paid, but if he agrees to a contract, he'll want to show he's earned.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 12, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Who was the number 1 overall pick in 08 that we missed?

Posted by: NatsNut | March 12, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

SS Tim Beckham

Posted by: estuartj | March 12, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

From last thread:

I found the Panera on Vineland Ave. on my way taking my wife to the Outlets in Orlando which was my payment to her for going around Spring Training with me.

Kearns throwing out the runner at 1st base from Right Field was a highlight along with Zim's gap double.

Sect 307 - Bergmann gave up a hit that was an error IMHO. Hard hit liner right at Hernandez's head at 2nd and he misjudged it and hit off of his glove and should have been caught.

Posted by: dmacman88 | March 12, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

tim beckham - http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/minorleagues/prospects/y2009/profile.jsp?t=p_top&pid=542921

Posted by: bford1kb | March 12, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

"What about "The Chief" for the 8th inning? ..."

... Pedro no; Chad yes!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 12, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"All of Disney, though, is abuzz with news of Daniel Cabrera's hit."

Daniel Cabrera, you've just gotten a base hit and scored a run! What're you gonna do now???

"I'm goin' to... oh, wait..."

Posted by: MikeH0714 | March 12, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Good to know, dmac, thanks.

As of now, we have a closer (Hanrahan), a 7th inning guy (Rivera), and a long man (Bergmann). Young most likely will make the team, which leaves probably three spots open, including set-up man and situational lefty. It wouldn't hurt to have two lefties, but the pickings are slim.

Chacin, Hinkley, and Ledezma are our only lefty options as of now (Hinkley being the only lefty relief pitcher on the 40-man still in camp). I think we have to go get a lefty as these options could be disasterous. Chico may work, but he's not going to start the season on time. Hinkley is who we'd like to step up, but he's been getting shelled.

Shell, Mock, and Colome return from last year, but they've all been up and down (mostly down) this spring. Judging by Acta's comments recently, Colome probably has the edge on one of the spots.

While I think Martis would be useful out of the pen, I think we'd be better off keeping him stretched out as a starter. If we're gonna go with Cheese (do we have a favorite nickname yet?), we may have to cut his innings off, so we'd need another starter to come up from the minor, ie. Martis.

It's been a long day and I appologize for babbling, but I thought a look at where we stand for the bullpen would really show that we can't stand pat with this group.

I think we need Biemel more than Sanchez, but I really think we need them both. We need a proven guy at the back of the bullpen and a lefty, so hopefully Rizzo will impress us in the coming days.

If the season started tomorrow, I think this is what we're looking at:

Hanrahan cl
Colome
Rivera
Young (rookie)
Bergmann
Chacin - lh
Mock

Pretty scary.

Posted by: sec307 | March 12, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mention the Chief because he's not going to be ready for start of the year. Ledezma may have the inside track on Chacin, but I don't think either are viable.

I'm really surprized that none of the young guys has stepped up to claim a spot. Hopefully that changes... soon.

Posted by: sec307 | March 12, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Not good when a pair of 19 year olds beat us. We have to get some help for the pen and I agree with alot of what "sec307" said. I think we do need a lefty at the very least and could even use another another arm. I also agree completly that I'd rather keep Martis in the minors (truely I'd like to do the same with Jay-Z as well, at least until mid year to hold up his arbitration clock and help limit his innings). I wouldn't mind seeing Pedro for the rotation and Biemel or Ohman for the pen.

Posted by: Steveo11 | March 12, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

>"All of Disney, though, is abuzz with news of Daniel Cabrera's hit."

Daniel Cabrera, you've just gotten a base hit and scored a run! What're you gonna do now???

"I'm goin' to... oh, wait..."

And Boz said he couldn't play. Maybe Manny can hit him 8th in honor of that nut LaRussa. Imagine the possibilities.

Posted by: Brue | March 12, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

A bit off-topic, but regarding the Nationals' bullpen: With about three weeks' left in Viera, the team could be looking at (not that most of you haven't figured this out already)...

Long Relief candidates - Chacin, Chico, Towers: Chacin & Towers are both non-roster STI's, but are capable of 3-4 innings of work per outing. Chico (a left-hander) is returning from elbow surgery, but could be ready by June. Best bet: Chacin in a place-holding role until Chico is ready.

Middle Relief candidates - Clippard, Estrada, Mock, Shell, T. Young, Wagner: All but Wagner are on the current 40-man roster; Clippard was 'demoted' from the starting rotation, but could bear watching if he can get his w/k ratio (3:1) down; Estrada's w/k & go/fo ratios are both soft (3:4 for w/k & 5:7 go/fo); Mock has had a problem with the "long-ball" in Viera (2HR in 6IP, 1:2 GO/FO ratio); Shell has been slapped around in Viera, but it's still too early to give up on him; T. Young might be another Rule-5 find, or not - only time will tell. Wagner got roughed up in his last outing & needs to bounce back, or he's gone. Best bets: Shell & T. Young.

Short Relievers / Closer - Bergmann, Colome, Glover, Hinckley, Ledezma, Rivera / Hanrahan: Hanrahan is going to close for the Nationals', unless he comes back from the WBC 'shell-shocked'. For the remainder of the bullpen, both Bergmann & Rivera look good, but Bergmann could move to the MR category if Shell continues to have problems; Colome is pitching himself into contention for a roster spot off the STI list, and Glover is hanging around as well. The "LOOGY" slot is questionable, with both Hinckley [40-man] and Ledezma [STI] struggling overall. However, if you don't include his outing against Italy, Ledezma looks decent. Best bets: Bergmann, Rivera, Ledezma, Hanrahan, with Colome as replacement for Bergmann if he shifts to a MR role.

Posted by: BinM | March 12, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

The question for the Nationals' FO (Kasten/Rizzo) becomes "who do you cut from the 40-man roster" in order to pick up either a STI who made-good, or another FA? Based on my scenario alone, either two or three players would have to be waived.

LR- Chacin (replaces O'Conner?)
MR- Shell (on 40-man)
MR- T. Young (RuleV, on 40-man)
SR- Bergmann (on 40-man)
SR- Ledezma (replaces Hinckley??)
SR- Rivera (on 40-man)
CL- Hanrahan (on 40-man)
??- Colome (replaces Clippard???)

What does the blogosphere have to say?

Posted by: BinM | March 12, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

What happened to all the posters who wanted to trade all that excess pitching for a first baseman or center fielder?

Pedro, no. I'd just as soon have Odalis back--he'll win at least as many as Pedro will, this year.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 12, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

The full minor-league camp is scheduled to open tomorrow (3/13) - I'd expect the second set of 'red-cards' to be posted by Sunday. I wouldn't be suprised to see the Nationals' send down the following players/pitchers: Bynum (IF-STI), J. Guzman, (3B/1B-STI), Molina (C-STI), Patterson (OF-STI), D. Young (1B-STI), & Atilano (SP-40-man).

Posted by: BinM | March 12, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Hit the Showers" Towers! I hated you in Toronto, and can't stand you even more now!

Posted by: PNatsFan | March 12, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Forget Chad Cordero, He just signed a minor league deal with the Mariners - a team that barring a double World Series miracle we won't see again until 2011.

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/mariners/index.html#039035

Posted by: nunof1 | March 12, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the bullpen, new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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