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Updates: Nationals vs. Braves

I'll provide some periodic updates throughout the game ....

4:10 Change of plans -- I'm back up for the end. The Nationals lost, 11-8, but Ian Desmond helped his chaces to stick with the team with six RBI and a grand slam. Tyler Clippard pitched a strong eighth, with some help from a single that was not turned into a double, but rather an out. Derek Norris pinch hit to lead off the ninth and grounded to short.

3:53: It's 11-8 Braves. I'm heading down for postgame, and I'll write up a post on the game afterward, like yesterday.

3:13: Back up to the press box, and it's 10-8 Braves after Ian Desmond blasted a grand slam off of Jesse Chavez. Elijah Dukes, Justin Maxwell, and Mike Morse scored on the homer. Desmond's got six RBI to go with a few nice plays in the field.

2:55: It actually was 9-4 again for a while -- on a home run by Freddie Freeman in the fourth, he passed the runner on the basepaths and his run didn't count. But then the Braves scored their 10th run again off of Ryan Speier on an RBI single by Gregor Blanco. Time to head to talk to Miguel Batista.

2:42: The wheels came off in the fourth inning again for the Nationals. The Braves scored eight runs, meaning the Nationals have allowed 17 combined runs in the fourth inning between today and yesterday's game in Kissimmee. It's 10-4 Braves.

2:31: Craig Stammen is out of the game, which is now tied. The Braves beat him around pretty good in the fourth. Yunel Escobar led off with a double, his second today. Melky Cabrera followed with an RBI single. Later on, after Ryan Zimmerman made a great play on a sacrifice bunt, Marin Prado reached on an infield single despite a diving play by Ian Desmond, scoring Cabrera. Jesse English is the new pitcher, and he enters with men on first and third and one out.

2:19: The Nationals touched up Takashi Saito for two runs in the top of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Mike Morse, again, was in the middle of the damage. Chris Duncan led off with a line-drive single to right, and Elijah Dukes followed with a double that he crushed to left-center gap. Ivan Rodriguez and Justin Maxwell both struck out, but Morse delivered. He ripped a double to left-center, scoring both Duncan and Dukes.

Craig Stammen is coming back out for a second inning after allowing a hit, a walk, and no runs in the third.

1:53: The Nationals tied the game against Billy Wagner with their athletic bottom third of the order. Justin Maxwell led off with a walk, and Mike Morse pushed him to third with a single. Morse then stole second, and Ian Desmond grounded a single to center. Desmond then got picked off, Roger Bernadina struck out, Adam Kennedy singled, and Ryan Zimmerman flied out. 2-2 after 3 1/2.

1:46: The Braves have a 2-0 lead after two. Braves starter Derek Lowe retired all six Nationals he faced, striking out Chris Duncan and inducing five groundballs; pretty dominant stuff. Miguel Batista breezed through the first 1-2-3, including a weak grounder from uber-prospect Jason Heyward. He is wearing No. 71 today and won't be for long.

Batista, who is usually either effectively wild or just plain wild, hit trouble in the second. He walked Troy Glaus to lead off the inning, and Yunel Escobar scored him with a smoked one-out double to right-center. Melky Cabrera singled and David Ross walked. Brett Clevlen lined out right to keep the bases loaded. Martin Prado broke his bat on a single up the middle, and Ian Desmond saved any further damage. He made a diving stop behind second, noticed Cabrera breaking for home, and alertly fired home to nail him.

Mike Morse just singled with no out against Billy Wagner in the top of the third.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 5, 2010; 1:46 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Roger Bernadina is vying to make the Nationals, one year after bad break derailed his season
Next: Breaking down two days of bad Nationals pitching


10-4. Everybody together now...."it is early, it is early!"

Sure glad we shored up pitching.

Posted by: NatsFly | March 5, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Make that 9-4 since a Brave managed to hit a homer and not score! (He passed the runner at 1st while admiring his ball passing the fence.)

Posted by: NatsFly | March 5, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

When do we start worrying?

Posted by: Kev29 | March 5, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

How many laps of the warning track does Bobby Cox make Freddie Freeman do after that baserunning booboo? I'm setting the over/under at 10.

Posted by: greggwiggins | March 5, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"He is wearing No. 71 today and won't be for long."

Does this mean that he's going to be cut before long? Or does it mean that he's going to be given a different, lower # because he is likely to make the team?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 5, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I looked at the pitching stats for both sides on the box score. The ERA's look more like stock quotes.

Posted by: TimDz | March 5, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

What happens if Desmond straight beats out Guz in ST? Any chance he starts out the season, or is Guz tenured into the ss position?

Posted by: Stu27 | March 5, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Don't say it. Don't even say it. I do not want to hear "it's early."

Thank you.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 5, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Who are these yahoos broadcasting the game on Braves radio? Its not Sutton. They talk more about college football and the NFL than the game, and all they do is complain about the length of the game. Yeesh!!!

Posted by: raymitten | March 5, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Natsnut: We must say it. Otherwise we just scream. 11-8. Jeez.

Posted by: NatsFly | March 5, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

This was a better game than yesterday. Desmond started his statement today. If he finishes it Guzman becomes expendable depending on how Kennedy does and how wedded management is to him.


It's the SECOND day of spring training games. If you do not take the traditional veiw of Spring Traing and a deep breath, you may well become your nickname.:) Uh, and it's early very early.

Section 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | March 5, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

While I'm not sure in the Nat's case, some teams instruct their pitchers to not throw breaking pitches until later in the spring. Saving stress on the arm and allowing them to work on location. If a hitter knows he doesn't have to worry about the bendy stuff, its a big advantage, not not necessarily reflective of what a pitcher can really do.

Posted by: packyderm2 | March 5, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

37 runs in two days. You can pretty much go down the list of pitchers and look at their ages, health, and past records and know what's coming.

>Natsnut: We must say it. Otherwise we just scream. 11-8. Jeez.

Posted by: NatsFly

Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse


Really appreciate all your updates - blog, twitter and other forums. Welcome - so glad to have a Svrluga-type on board again. Good luck!

Posted by: phillip4 | March 5, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The next four games should wrap up the first pass through the prospective Staters (Lannan, Marquis, Olsen, Strasburg, Chico, Jaime, Thompson, Hernandez, Estes) & start into the second pass for the prospective RP's. Let's be honest here, two-thirds of the pitchers under the 40-man & NRI status aren't going north with the final roster - the first week is just setting a baseline.

The first roster cut-down should happen around St.Patrick's Day; Then we'll start to see what the team really has going forward.

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to look it up for the details, but there was one spring training in the 1950s when the Yankees looked wretched.

Then the season started, and they reeled off something like eight straight wins. Dick Young asked Hank Bauer how the Yanks had turned things around so suddenly.

Bauer replied, "Dick, the bell rang."

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 5, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

These"Nats" aren't the old Yankees. When the bell rings during the Manny years its been errors galore, poor pitching, and long losing streaks. Its become "expected".

You have to start out the gate to break this sort of habit ... and it starts in spring training.

Posted by: periculum | March 5, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Mark Zuckerman has noted that it will be very hard for the Nationals to get off to a fast start. Their April schedule is brutal.

The Nationals, who went 59-103, play 23 games in April.

They play:

6 against the Phillies (93-69)

4 against the Rockies (92-70)

3 against the Dodgers (95-67)

3 against the Cubs (83-78)

1 against the Marlins (87-75)

3 against the Brewers (80-82)

3 against the Mets (70-92)

As Zuckerman has noted, the Nats could be buried before they see the calvary (Wang, Strasburg and Detwiler.)

Posted by: Drew8 | March 5, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse


It might feel like they're seeing Calvary.

But I meant the cavalry.

Posted by: Drew8 | March 5, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I have been thinking about that brutal April-May schedule for months now and with this opening of grapefruit frivolity I'm beginning to think its 102 or bust! Pass the noose please I'm looking for a tree to hang from. There goes another 5G's!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 5, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Yanno, that looks tough, but not a death march. I can see them going 9-14, 10-13, which isn't hot but nowhere near the last few Aprils' foolishness. And if they can stay within a week of .500 going into June, I think they'll feel encouraged.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 5, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

We all have our cross to bear, Drew.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 5, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

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