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Posted at 1:06 PM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Live blog: Nationals at Mets, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

By Dave Sheinin

End 10, 4:20: And that's your ballgame, folks. A 1-2-3 10th inning by Carr, who gets in the win in the Nationals' 4-3 victory.

Mid 10, 4:15: We're going to the bottom of the 10th, with the Nationals holding a one-run lead. Adam Carr back to the hill for a second inning of work.

Top 10, 4:12: The Nationals have just taken a 4-3 lead, with Laynce Nix driving in Eury Perez (another prospect borrowed from minor-league camp for the day) with a double in the gap in right-center. Perez had singled had stolen second. Still only one out in the 10th.

End 9, 4:05: Bonus baseball in Port St. Lucie! Adam Carr just put down the Mets in the ninth, surviving a leadoff single, and we go to the 10th with the score tied at 3.

Mid 9, 3:56: I had to vacate the press box when the wifi went out again. (MASN's Ben Goessling just offered a different take on this stadium's ironic name: "Dial-up Domain Park.) And apparently, I missed a botched suicide squeeze that occurred when Alberto Gonzalez couldn't get down a bunt with Nyjer Morgan (who had doubled) flying down the line. That goes as a caught-stealing for Morgan, his second of the game.

End 8, 3:44: Severino just tied the game by giving up a pair of bombs -- a ground-rule double by Daniel Muprhy and a two-run homer by Cory Vaughn (the son of former slugger Greg Vaughn). It's 3-3 as we go to the ninth.

Mid 8, 3:33: We just got a look at second base prospect Stephen Lombardozzi, whom the Nationals borrowed from their minor league camp for the day as an extra player. He grounded sharply to short to end the top of the eighth, stranding Derek Norris (walk) and Kevin Barker (single) at the corners. Still 3-1, Nationals. Looks like Atahualpa Severino now pitching for the Nationals.

End 7, 3:22: Sorry about the lapse there. I was downstairs talking to Jordan Zimmermann about his outing. I'm told Brian Bixler hit a homer for the Nationals, which is how we got to 3-1, Nationals on top.

End 6, 3:01: Brian Broderick gave up his first hits, and the Nationals gave up their first run in the sixth, as Daniel Murphy stroked a ground rule double to left, then scored on Nick Evans's single to left. Michael Morse nearly threw out Murphy, but catcher Derek Norris dropped the one-hop throw. It's 2-1, Nationals.

Mid 6, 2:52: Well, that wasn't the Mike O'Connor I remember from his Washington days. He just blew away Rick Ankiel (who has trouble with lefties) and Chris Marrero (who doesn't) to end the sixth and strand those runners on second and third.

Top 6, 2:47: The Mets just made a dreaded mid-inning pitching change, bringing in lefty, former Nat and GWU product Mike O'Connor. Michael Morse and Wilson Ramos hit back-to-back singles to open the sixth, and each moved up a base on Jeff Frazier's sacrifice bunt.

End 5, 2:38: In right field, Jeff Frazier just made the Nationals' second error of the day (and ninth in their last four games, if you're counting), botching a sinking liner. But Jerry Hairston, playing third base today, made up for it by snatching a hot liner and nailing the runner at first (with a nice scoop at that end by Chris Marrero). And Brian Broderick has pitched hitless innings.

Mid 5, 2:32: Nyjer Morgan reached base for the third straight time, drawing a two-out walk off Mets right-hander Taylor Buchholz, then stealing second base. After Ian Desmond also walked, Morgan and Desmond pulled off a double-steal. But Jerry Hairston grounded out to end the inning. Still 2-0, Nationals, and Brian Broderick comes back out for a second inning of work.

End 4, 2:19: A strong opening statement from Brian Broderick, who retires the side in order in the fourth, on three ground balls.

Mid 4, 2:12: A one-out walk by Jeff Frazier gets erased by a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Rick Ankiel. Still 2-0, Nationals, and Brian Broderick is in to pitch. Zimmermann's line: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 W, 4 K.

End 3, 2:05: A shaky, but scoreless, third inning for Zimmermann, who walked two batters, gave up a rocket to right by Daniel Murphy that curled just foul and saw a drive to left by Raul Chavez caught by Michael Morse while slamming into the wall. He needed 27 pitches (16 strikest) to get through the inning, and he has 57 pitches for the game. It feels like Zimmermann has been hit hard, but he's only allowed one hit.

Mid 3, 1:50: Jerry Hairston's solo homer off Capuano just made it 2-0, Nationals. Nyjer Morgan led off the inning with a bunt single (which was actually misplayed by Capuano, who made an ill-advised attempt to swipe at Morgan with his glove, rather than make the safer play and throw to first), but Morgan was wiped out on a double play grounder from Ian Desmond.

End 2, 1:43: More adventures in the field for the Nationals, as Ian Desmond backed up on a grounder that ate him up -- an error. There could have easily been a second error charged in the inning, as second baseman Brian Bixler dropped a perfect throw from Wilson Ramos on a stolen-base attempt. But it was ruled a clean steal. Zimmermann threw 14 pitches in the inning, eight for strikes. (And meanwhile, as the third inning opens, Nyjer Morgan has just reached on a bunt single.)

Mid 2, 1:33: Michael Morse put the Nationals on top with a leadoff homer off Capuano, and Wilson Ramos and Jeff Frazier followed with sharp singles. But the next three hitters were retired (with Chris Marrero fouling out with one out and runners on the corners). It's 1-0, Nationals.

End 1, 1:24: A scoreless first inning for Jordan Zimmermann, but not without some adventures. Noted Nats-killer Willie Harris (wait... is that right?) doubled into the gap in left-center with one out, but center fielder Rick Ankiel made a couple of fine catchers (one while staring directly into the sun, the other while sprinting into the left-center gap) to help Zimmermann escape. His fastball was sitting at 92-94 mph that inning, and he threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes.

Mid 1, 1:16: Nyjer Morgan opened the game with a nice at-bat against Chris Capuano, scorching a 3-1 fastball foul, then drawing ball four. But things went downhill from there, as Ian Desmond popped up a bunt attempt, Morgan was thrown out by a mile trying to steal second, and Jerry Hairston fouled out (with David Wright making a nice catch at the railing of the Mets' dugout). Jordan Zimmermann getting ready to face Jose Reyes, Willie Harris and Wright.

ORIGINAL POST: Well, the wireless has been fixed in the press box, so we're good to go on the live blog. By the way, I just had lunch with three scouts I've known for a long time, and all them were raving about Ross Detwiler. The consensus was they have never seen him pitch as well as he has this spring. "The Nats," one of them said, "are going to be a lot better." And we're about to get underway here at Digital Domain Park.

By Dave Sheinin  | March 8, 2011; 1:06 PM ET
 
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Next: Nyjer Morgan's adventures on the basepaths

Comments

File this under better late than never. Just read the 9-6-5 relay story (yea it takes me awhile) and just want to say thanks and it's a real good one. One of the better and more interesting baseball stories I've read in a long time. Real good stuff. Love to have more of that.

Posted by: dovelevine | March 8, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats," one of them said, "are going to be a lot better."

Don't toy with us, Dave, especially on your way out the door.

Posted by: baltova1 | March 8, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

RE: Morse...What else does the guy need to do to start every day?

Granted Nyjer is working hard, but the other two guys are beating him out of the starting lineup. It's about competition, and there's no better combo on the club right now than Morse/Bernie/Werth.

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 8, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats," one of them said, "are going to be a lot better."

Does anyone know when Nats 2011 playoff tickets go on sale?

Posted by: slopitchtom | March 8, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

So Nyjer gets caught stealing (so glad he's wasting Bo Porter's time) and Desmond commits another error. At least maybe this year we'll have guys who can pitch around it, which so far they've done pretty well. I think it is very telling that Morgan is in the lineup but NOT in the field. It says to me, "we're not so much worried about your fielding, so just concentrate on hitting today" and if he still can't produce, I think it's bye bye Tony Plush, say hi to Elijah and Willy (and even Wily) for us

Posted by: RPrecupjr | March 8, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

So, Morgan has NOT put a ball in play past the pitching mound yet, but he is our starting CF according to the brain trust???

Posted by: hansenjo | March 8, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

That's the second time this Spring Desmond has let the ball play him.

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 8, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

So, Morgan has NOT put a ball in play past the pitching mound yet, but he is our starting CF according to the brain trust???

Posted by: hansenjo | March 8, 2011 1:50 PM

He has a walk and a bunt single today. Maybe save it for when the sky is actually falling?

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It's annoying when the FO and coaches preach position competition and then annoint as unworthy of a candidate as there is in Nyjer Morgan. I'm sure Riggs/Rizz and the rest are exploring all CF options behind closed doors, but saying the 'right' things to the media. There's no value in the Nats saying negative things about Nyjer, but I feel confident that they'll eventually make the switch when the time is right. Until then, we'll have to suffer. Thankfully we aren't able to watch ST games.

Posted by: TheMichael | March 8, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"RE: Morse...What else does the guy need to do to start every day?"

No one starts every day in spring training.

Posted by: FeelWood | March 8, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@Kev29

After his walk he was Caught stealing.
As for his bunt single, if Capuano would have played the ball right he would have been OUT. So as long as Morgan aka "Chicken Little" is CF the sky will continue to fall.

Posted by: hansenjo | March 8, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

It's annoying when the FO and coaches preach position competition and then annoint as unworthy of a candidate as there is in Nyjer Morgan. I'm sure Riggs/Rizz and the rest are exploring all CF options behind closed doors, but saying the 'right' things to the media. There's no value in the Nats saying negative things about Nyjer, but I feel confident that they'll eventually make the switch when the time is right. Until then, we'll have to suffer. Thankfully we aren't able to watch ST games.

Posted by: TheMichael | March 8, 2011 2:07 PM

The big sign is Riggleman playing Bernadina every other day in CF and lead-off. The Shark is clearly being given some sort of a chance to take that spot.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like Nyjer is doing all the right things in camp to get ready, except hit well in games. My guess is that no matter what happens through the rest of ST, he starts in center with a very short leash. If he doesn't produce quickly, he starts getting platooned more and more frequently. If someone outshines him at that point, then a switch is made. But I wouldn't expect that switch before May. Plus, this will give the Nats more time to evaluate Corey Brown in AAA to see if he's ready to make the next step.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | March 8, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

>>@Kev29 After his walk he was Caught stealing. As for his bunt single, if Capuano would have played the ball right he would have been OUT.

That's ok. 29 doesn't like to let the facts get in the way of a good story. Personally I'm with him and Riggs and Rizzo on this one. Give me a sub .100 hitter who can't get the ball out of the infield and is a lock to be thrown out stealing over a solid contact home run hitter anyday. I'd take Morgan anyday over Morse. Wouldn't you? And besides if you wouldn't, what does that say about Rizzo's big steal of a trade? No we can't be 2nd guessing that. Morgan is the man. And rightfully so.

Posted by: dovelevine | March 8, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I was able to work from home today. Direct TV is showing the game on the SNY HD channel. It's been interesting to get the METS announcers perspective of the Nationals, they seem to think that the Nationals are finally a legitimate team. In fact, from their comments it seems they believe the Mets are worse (shocker).

Scary moment: It appears a foul ball by Mets 1s Murphy nailed a fan in the stands. The entire park seemed very concerned. I hope that person is okay.

Ooooh. Morgan just got on base and stole second. Nice.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | March 8, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Aaaaand the Nationals execute a double swipe. Nyjer and Ian just stole a base. 2 outs, Hairston 2-2. LETS GO NATS!

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | March 8, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"RE: Morse...What else does the guy need to do to start every day?"

No one starts every day in spring training.

Posted by: FeelWood | March 8, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

In reference to the regular season, not ST.

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 8, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Can't people realize there is NO BENEFIT WHATSOEVER in disparaging Morgan to the press? It hurts nothing to be publically supportive of a guy who has the skill to contribute? Morgan's been annointed as nothing for the 2011 Nats other than the reigning starter.

It sure is nice to see Morse and Bernie killing it to force the issue, though.

Posted by: natinbeantown | March 8, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'd take Morgan anyday over Morse. Wouldn't you?

Posted by: dovelevine | March 8, 2011 2:26 PM

You want Michael Morse to lead-off? OK dude

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

>>"RE: Morse...What else does the guy need to do to start every day?"

For the Nats, ah probably post a .500 BA, 65 HR and 175 RBI. Then.....and only then could hr crack the lineup a couple times a week.

Posted by: dovelevine | March 8, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Even if Morgan isn't the starting CF, he still has a role on this team... as a 4th OF/pinch runner/defensive replacement... that is the role he was successful with when in Pittsburgh, and believe it or not I think he still have some value for the Nats in that role, too...

The only other option (barring a shocking late spring training run by Corey Brown) would be to carry Ankiel and Nix as your 4th/5th OFs... and, that is kind of redundant as they have the same kind of skill sets and both swing from the left side...

In short, Morgan would have to be very, very bad not to make the opening day roster...

But, yeah, I can see in the lineups being made out lately that the team is sincerely considering a Morse/Bernie/Werth starting OF... with Morgan and probably Ankiel having significant bench roles... and I think that is a good thing..

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 8, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm kind of hoping that Nyjer gets demoted this spring so people will just ST*FU about him and get on with worrying about the rest of the team

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

From what I gather via Twitter, Nyjer Morgan has been to the plate 3 times, each time he reached base. He stole a base and was also caught stealing once. Sounds like a pretty good effort to me. B+

Reading this blog, though, you'd think he was awful.

Boswell put it best in the chat when he said that if Nyjer stumbles out of the gates he will get a quick hook, so why is there so much vitriol toward him being the opening day CF? You guys really need to get a grip.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | March 8, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

From what I gather via Twitter, Nyjer Morgan has been to the plate 3 times, each time he reached base. He stole a base and was also caught stealing once. Sounds like a pretty good effort to me. B+

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | March 8, 2011 2:48 PM

Don't let today's facts get in the way - he's a team cancer who can't hit the ball past the mound, was personally responsible for all 93 losses last season and the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Agree with musiq. I've done my share of Nyjer "bashing," but if Bernie and Morse continue their strong performance the issue shoukd resolve itself. I have to admit I'm starting to get the heebie-jeebies thinking about Desmond misplaying grounders at SS over 162 games. I like what he can contribute on offense, but is he your starting SS on a good team? Last year's half-baked plan, or idea, to try him in CF might still make some sense, although the addition of Werth and the imminent coming of Harper have certainly changed the picture.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 8, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer not responsible for the invasion of Poland in 1939. That was Lastings Milledge.

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 8, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer not responsible for the invasion of Poland in 1939. That was Lastings Milledge.

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 8, 2011 3:10 PM

:-D

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Near assist for Morse? That sounds good!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | March 8, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Whooooa. Berni tracked a Willie Harris shot to CF making it look EAAASY! I'm loving the competition for CF! I can tell you right now Ankiel is NOT better than Nyjer. Switch these two up (Nyjer and Bernie) depending who has a streak going. This is by far the best Nationals team since it arrived. Pitchers are doing pretty well, our defense should be better (Willingham is better defensively than Morse), and we should hit for contact this year. I dig it. We are much faster and I think these guys should be more cohesive. This could be fun.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | March 8, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Every day we need to put the team on the field that gives us the best chance to win, because that's what spring training is about.

Posted by: Arkymark | March 8, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Natinals fans still soiling their pants, all giddy in excitement over some Spring Training wins?

Hahahahaha

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | March 8, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

ROTFLMAO at the guy who prematurely taunted nats fans for a blO's spring training win against the nats saying this...

Natinals fans still soiling their pants, all giddy in excitement over some Spring Training wins?

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | March 8, 2011 3:32 PM

Posted by: DCPowerGator | March 8, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

oh POOPY,

The O's are in mid-season form, losing another one....what's that, 4 in a row? Think they can beat 1988?

Posted by: stantonpark | March 8, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I see that it's time for my daily "Don't feed the troll" post...

Posted by: frenchyb | March 8, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Idea for Adam/Dave:

As the cuts start to occur, a section of the morning brushback periodically could include the list of all of the players that started in camp and notes about the players who have been released, sent to the minor league camp, etc.

There's a lot going on, and I haven't been able to find a good location to monitor who is left in camp as we track towards the opening day roster.

I don't think this should be too much extra work, the list can be the same one that was posted a few weeks before camp started with just parenthetical indications to show who is out.

Thanks Adam/Dave,

I look forward to these posts every day. The live blogs provide a much better indication of what is going on in the game than the gamecast on MLB.com. Your work is much appreciated.

-The Kavorka

Posted by: Kavorka | March 8, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Whoaa, Nyjer caught trying to steal home...

Posted by: asdfghj1 | March 8, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Hits a double, moves to third on a sac bunt and caught stealing home with one out. In the 9th inning. Of a tie game. My head hurts.

Posted by: Bethesdangit1 | March 8, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

REALLY NYJER REALLY!!!! In the 9th inning of a tied game you get caught stealing home!!!! You are the Garrett Mock of the fielders; million dollar legs with a ten cent head!!!!

Posted by: hansenjo | March 8, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Ah - botched squeeze play. Stand down.

Posted by: Bethesdangit1 | March 8, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

it wasn't Nyjers fault. All gonzo on that one. It would have been brilliant.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | March 8, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Sheinin update - botched squeeze with Alberto whiffing on a bunt

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Going for the squeeze in a spring training game though... I like it.

Posted by: Kavorka | March 8, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Post-game Riggleman remark? "He showed good aggression. He was convicted." ;)

No, I like it that they at least tried it.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | March 8, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Nice - Eury Perez cameo (single, steal, run)!

Posted by: Kev29 | March 8, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The Nats starting pitchers have been consistent so far this spring. This is good news. They weren't last year when the team lost the first 10 spring games.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | March 8, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals are currently in first place in the Grapefruit League. Totally meaningless and yet satisfying.

Posted by: stantonpark | March 8, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Awesome cameo by Eury, Nyjer's soon-to-be replacement. This was just a preview of Eury in a year or two.

Posted by: bsdman | March 8, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Natinals fans still soiling their pants, all giddy in excitement over some Spring Training wins?

Hahahahaha

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | March 8, 2011 3:32 PM |
=============================

Meanwhile, nOrioles fans are still wondering what spring training wins are like! Gotta love Baltimorons!!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | March 8, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I would have thought someone in all these posts would have commented about he starting pitching. OK, one someone has, briefly. THis makes two reasonably solid outings by Zimmermann. Encouraging, no? Maybe we should all hold our breath, and yes, this is only ST, but Detweiler, Livo, Zimm have all had more than decent early outings. Now, we'll know we are dreaming if Marquis pitches well again tomorrow.

Posted by: swhite21 | March 8, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

@Dave Sheinin: A shame you can't hang around Viera until Thursday, providing us with stereo coverage of the split-squad games with Kilgore. Dueling bloggers from the WaPo - What a concept!

Posted by: BinM | March 8, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

@Dave Sheinin (again); At any rate, enjoyed your stay here on NJ, and to steal a line from Doug Adams - Thanks for all the fish!

Posted by: BinM | March 8, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

It makes absolutely no sense that POOPY gets all excited about a single Orioles pitcher during spring training in a game they performed poorly in and then mocks the Nationals when they take first place in their spring training league. It also makes no sense that POOPY, an alleged Orioles fan, spends all his time on Nationals blogs. I am coming to suspect that he is a Nationals fan, characaturing an Orioles fan (sorry for making up a word, but it fits). It makes his comments no less inane, but at least it provides an explanation.

Posted by: longbow1 | March 8, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if Riggleman etal remember Alberto's last attempt at a squeeze. Sounds like it was extremely similar to this one, although hopefully this time he didn't duck out of the way and leave his teammate hung out to dry. Classic lack of situational understanding. But of course, same result.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | March 8, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

@longbow:
There is no logical explanation for the avatar currently known as P_McP - Think of him as a rash that you can't pin down what caused it, and never quite clears up, regardless of what you do to treat it. It's sadly just part of our lives as an irritant.

Posted by: BinM | March 8, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

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