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Updates: Nationals vs. Cardinals

I'll provide periodic updates. ...

(This is video of Stephen Strasburg's first at-bat against Skip Schumaker.)

4:07 The Nationals lost, 7-3, and dropped to 0-10 for the spring. Brian Bruney had a rocking-chair, 1-2-3 inning in the ninth, and the Nationals tacked one on. In the end, that mattered not at all.

3:28: Tyler Clippard walked five and hit a batter in 1 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and leaving the bases loaded for Ron Villone. Villone walked the first batter he faced to force in a run. The batter bounced back to Villone, who tried to start a 1-2-3 double play. His thorw home, though, bounced past Jaime Burke, and two runs scored. Just a ridiculous play. The Nationals trail, 7-2, in the eighth.

2:40: After his rocky first inning, Hernandez has calmed. He allowed a walk in the fifth and a single in the sixth, the latter erased by a 5-4-3 double play started expertly by Ryan Zimmerman. It's still tied, 2-2, after 5 1/2.

2:18: Livan Hernandez surrendered the lead, allowing the Cardinals two runs on two walks, two hits and an error. Hernandez did strike out David Freese with a 61-mph curveball, and he left the bases loaded when Schumaker flared to Adam Dunn at first. It's tied, 2-2.

1:58: The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Alberto Gonzalez led off with a single. After a Nyjer Morgan flyout, Adam Kennedy followed with a triple off the wall in right-center. Ryan Zimmerman, continuing his hot spring, singled to left to score Kennedy. Now we'll get our first look at Livan Hernandez.

1:51: Stephen Strasburg is done for the day after three innings, stretching his scoreless innings streak to start the spring to five. He threw 49 pitches, 28 of them strikes, and allowed two hits and one walk with two strikeouts. In the third, he induced a foul pop-up to first from Tyler Greene. Then he had another first -- turning over a big-league lineup. Skip Schumaker, in his second at-bat of the day, grounded weakly to second. Felipe Lopez hit a chopper to third, where Ryan Zimmerman made the play.

In his first outing, Strasburg fell behind six of eight batters. Today, he threw seven of 11 first-pitch strikes.

1:40: With Dunn and Dukes on base, Mike Morse struck out swinging and Wil Nieves grounded out to second. Still scoreless after two.

1:37: Adam Dunn walked to lead off the second. With Josh Willingham facing a 3-2 count, Dunn took off with Adam Wainwright's pitch. Willingham struck out, but Dunn slid in safely for a stolen base. Dunn has two stolen bases over the past two seasons, a span in which he has played 317 games. Elijah Dukes followed with a walk.

1:31: Stephen Strasburg allowed another single, but he still faced the minimum in the second. He threw 12 pitches, seven strikes. Nick Stavinoha led off with a single. Strasburg struck out Yadier Molina looking at a curveball. Joe Mather grounded out to Ryan Zimmerman, who started a slick 5-4-3 double play. Strasburg has one inning to go.

1:22: Stephen Strasburg worked out of a two-out jam and held the Cardinals scoreless in the first. His fastball topped out at 97 mph and sat mostly at 96. He threw 24 pitches, allowing one hit to Allen Craig and walking Colby Rasmus.

Strasburg started Skip Schumaker with three 96-mph fastball, the third of which he grounded weakly back to Strasburg. Felipe Lopez chopped a 2-1, 97-mph fastball back to Strasburg, who made the second out himself. After the hit, an 0-2 flared single to center, and the walk, Strasburg struck out David Freese on a 2-2, 80-mph curveball.

The Nationals went in order against Adam Wainwright.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 14, 2010; 1:21 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Preparing for Stephen Strasburg's second start
Next: The Nationals are 0-10. Who cares?


Adam Dunn steals 2nd on a swinging strike; hilarity ensues.

Posted by: BinM | March 14, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Love to know if Willingham faces charges in kangaroo court.

Posted by: Sunderland | March 14, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

3IP 2H 0R 1BB 2SO

He ain't ready. Send him down. Only hit 97 with filthy knee-buckling breaking stuff. Go to hell Rizzo. And take the myriad of scouts who say he's the best pitching prospect since Nolan Ryan with you.

Posted by: Brue | March 14, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Brue: I succumb; The arguments put forward over the years for the needs for this team leave me in awe. Your clarity of vision toward the future is singular in its purpose. You should be far more than just a voice on a blog - Perhaps a GM?

While the Lerner's are at it, maybe they should offer spots to JayBeee as team President, and periculum as VP-Minor League development. Yeah, that would just about do it.

Posted by: BinM | March 14, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"I think I'll stick with Kool-Aid, bartender... this brue is too bitter...."

Posted by: MikeH0714 | March 14, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

4-2 Cardinals in the bottom of the 7th. Their announcers just pointed out that their runs scored because of walks (3) and a throwing error (1). They also noted that our pitching is poor, excepting SS, and this explains why we are the only winless team.

Yeah, but at least Uncle Teddy kept his money!

Posted by: NatsFly | March 14, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Clippard went out for a 2nd inning - WTF?

Posted by: BinM | March 14, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

OK, but it's almost St. Patrick's Day, and the one guy who's looked decent is generally considered to be going to Potomac for the first couple of months, and perhaps that's a better long-term strategy, but still leaves the question, Can't anybody here pitch this game?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 14, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Buh-bye Ron Villone - If he isn't gone by Tuesday morning, this FO really is clueless. A one-hopper to the plate on a 1-2-3DP on top of seven walks in 14PA's? Yikes!

Posted by: BinM | March 14, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, no ill will towards Villone, he served a purpose in 2009... but, if he makes this club in 2010, or even comes close, we are in a lot of trouble (not that we aren't anyway, but you get the picture)...

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 14, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Stan Kasten: "There are different road maps for building a team. But on any compass, starting pitching will be magnetic north. We don't have to go out and get it. It's here."

What a complete joke. After Strasburg, we're left with looking at a few mediocre soft tossers in Lannan and Marquis (who, as Boz pointed out, is never deemed good enough by his own teams to start in the playoffs), hoping that Zimmermann and Detwiler can both come back from injuries and succeed in MLB (which neither has yet proven he can do), hoping that Wang can rebound from several serious injuries (including his shoulder), and hoping that someone out of the Mock/Martin/Chico/Stammen group can do better than he ever has and magically turn into a serviceable starter. And yet, according to StanK, the pitching "is here."

Adam, how about following up on this and doing some serious reporting? How is the starting pitching "here?" All we ever have heard from this regime is "pitching, pitching, pitching," and yet by all accounts they have very little to point to. If Kasten really thinks that the pitching is "here," how so? I look around the league and see frontline combos like Halladay/Hamels/Happ, Carpenter/Wainright, Lincecum/Cain/Bumgarner (on the way). And don't forget about AL frontline combos in Detroit, NY, Boston, etc.

Look at what the competition has. Look at what we have. Does StanK seriously expect us to swallow his snake oil?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 14, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

A vintage performance from Livan today - 5PA/IP, 3H, 2R(1ER), 2BB, 2K, 4GO/2FO = 1.67WHIP, .200BAA, 3.00ERA. Struggled early, but adjusted & managed to get batters out.
Love him or hate him, at least he's consistent.

Posted by: BinM | March 14, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Pitching remains an issue and, given the past two years, folks have earned the right to be skeptical. Still, in terms of major league experience and probablity of success, this staff should serve us better than what we have seen to date.

With one caveat, however; our pitching will get immediately better if we can average more than 2 or 3 runs per game. My recollection may be faulty (and I know I will be corrected if so) but I think today was the first day that we out hit our opponent. Attention remains focused on the pitching staff but our bats have been relatively silent for the first week and a half of spring as well.

I'd like to see Rizzo go out and get us another bat - a professional hitter. When Flores got hurt last year, our offense diminshed considerably - and we have not really replaced his bat (especially with RISP) in the line-up. I like the acquisitions of Kennedy and Pudge; they will make us better. But that 5/6 spot in the order is still a problem. An actualized Dukes would certainly solve the problem, but, while he clearly has tremendous skills, and while I'm pleased that in terms of his personal issues the experiment has been somewhat successful, I fear that unless he emerges as a .280/80 RBI hitter we risk another very long season.

Lannan, Marquis, et al., become much better pitchers if they have 4 or 5 runs per game with which to work.

The need for another hitter is amplified if Desmond emerges as the starting SS - I think he will do well and, I would like to see it happen; but he cannot be expected to completely replicate Guzman's offensive production in his rookie season.

I don't know who is reasonably available but a solid hitting rightfielder makes this line-up more competitive.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 14, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@CIL: I'll agree with you that StanK is a used-car/snake-oil salesman, and that his "it's here" statement is basically crap. We would both have felt better with an "and they're in the organization" statement.

Lannan, Strasburg & Storen are only three of the 11 or 12 pieces needed for a stable pitching staff; Injury recoveries from one or more of Detwiler, J.Zimmermann, or Wang can supplement them. Maybe some others will step up, maybe not.

Offensively, R.Zimmerman, Morgan, Dunn, & Desmond all look like real ballplayers, imo. Dukes, Maxwell, & Willingham can also get the job done, but have flaws.

With the continuing replenishment of the farm system, there will be new names added to these lists in the next year or two.

I, for one remain hopeful, but with an open mind to the future.

Posted by: BinM | March 14, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Clippard- 1.1 IP, 5 BB, 5 R (3 earned)

The bullpen is already feeling the pressure

Posted by: Brue | March 14, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse


I basically agree with your assessment although I'm more optimistic about Desmond's ability to replicate Guzman's stats. Dukes has done nothing so far to erase the question marks and Boz's description of him as a superb athlete trying to become a baseball player (or words to that effect) seems appropriate. I find it very depressing to "look forward" to 50-60 games of Nieves bat in the lineup. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, fish and visitors and mediocre backup catchers with no plus skills smell in three years.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 14, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

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