Garrett Mock loses his grip
March 15, I think, was the first time Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman mentioned Garrett Mock's name in the same vein as John Lannan and Jason Marquis. It was not the last, and each time the point was clear. Lannan and Marquis could have thrown underhand this spring and still headed north part of the Nationals' rotation. Mock, it seemed, had joined them.
In the two weeks since, Mock's hold on a rotation spot has slipped. Today, in his chance to make his final impression, Mock allowed six runs (five earned), five walks and seven hits, two of those to pitcher Chris Volstad, in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-5 loss to the Marlins. Mock also struck out three and uncorked a wild pitch.
"The outing speaks for itself," Riggleman said. "I can't say much about it. You saw it."
It also could have actually been worse. The only two outs he recorded in the fifth came when Mike Lamb ripped a line drive at Adam Dunn, who snared it and stepped on first for a double play.
On April 11, either Scott Olsen, J.D. Martin or Mock will make take the ball as the Nationals' fifth starter. At this point, they can't say which one. Craig Stammen separated himself with his breakthrough spring, something no one from that trio has.
"None of them are grabbing the job," Riggleman said. "We'd like to see it. We feel Stammen came in to camp and made a statement for himself. We're waiting for somebody to do that."
Jason Bergmann, for whom Mock left the bases loaded with two outs, could have helped Mock's line. But he allowed every inherited runner to score plus two of his own by allowing five consecutive singles. Afterward, Riggleman said Bergamann's bullpen spot remained secure.
In his 2010 Nationals debut, Mike MacDougal pitched an uneven inning. He allowed a leadoff double to Ronnie Paulino, who later scored on a wild pitch -- a wild pitch immediately made moot by a Bryan Petersen double.
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