Wrapping up another spring loss for the Nationals
The Nationals fell to 0-8 this afternoon with a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals, but at least their team ERA dropped to 10.21. General Manager Mike Rizzo today shared his view that they shouldn't even bother keeping stats in spring training. The sentiment is rational, but you also wonder if the constant losing will have an effect.
Matt Capps, the likely opening day closer, did not pitch a scoreless inning for the third consecutive outing. He allowed two runs on two hits, and he's allowed five earned runs in three innings this spring. Asked if he was concerned, Manager Jim Riggleman said, "Not really, no."
The leadoff triple Capps allowed would have been a routine fly ball if Justin Maxwell had not lost it off the bat, Riggleman said. But the double that followed from Allen Craig was blistered. Once Capps got that out of the way, the inning was smooth, including one strikeout.
"He threw strikes," Riggleman said. "He threw well."
With J.D. Martin and Garrett Mock each throwing three innings - they both allowed a pair of runs - the Nationals ran out of innings before Drew Storen could pitch. He was scheduled to throw today. Instead, he got four free hours of bus riding and will pitch tomorrow against Houston at home. Storen not pitching is one good reason why the Nationals will make some cuts before the starters rotate through again.
Adam Dunn went 2 for 3 with a pair of well-hit singles and Justin Maxwell hit his first home run of the spring on an 0-2 pitch. Chris Duncan went 0 for 5 in an odd game for him: He played against his old team and his father, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan.
Before the game, Duncan embraced several former teammates and chatted with his dad behind the batting cage. "Baseball stuff," Chris Duncan said.
"It was fun," Duncan said. "I got to see all the guys. It was good see him and see everybody, good to get a chance to play against him."
Duncan is vying for a spot on the 25-man roster while trying to recapture the swing that allowed him to hit 22 home runs for the Cardinals in 306 at-bats in 2006. Duncan is most similar to Mike Morse, whose strong spring and vast upside has made him an excellent bet to make the team. Duncan and Morse can both play first base and outfield (although Morse is a better defender who also plays third and, in a pinch, shortstop). But Duncan is left-handed, and if he can prove he's still got some of those home runs left in his bat, then maybe he's good option. (So far, he's hitting .133.) Riggleman said he could envision both Duncan and Morse making the team.
"When you're scribbling out rosters on napkins, there are some scenarios when he's there," Riggleman said. "And there are some scenarios when he's not."
March 10, 2010; 5:49 PM ET
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