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Posted at 1:03 PM ET, 03/ 5/2011

Live blog: Nationals at Yankees, Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

By Dave Sheinin

End 9, 4:10: Adam Carr gets the save with a 1-2-3 ninth, wrapping up a 10-8 win for the Nationals.

End 8, 3:57: Nationals lefty Sean Burnett just pitched a scoreless eighth (it's still 10-8, Nationals), and was helped when Bryce Harper started a 9-4-5 relay that nailed Austin Romine trying to stretch a double into a triple.

Top 8, 3:45: Bryce Harper just ripped an RBI single off Romulo Sanchez for his first RBI of the spring. He also never stopped running, and advanced easily to second when the right fielder bobbled the ball. It's 10-8, Nationals.

End 7, 3:35: That was a nice 1-2-3 inning for Severino, and we move to the eighth with the Nationals leading, 9-8. Bryce Harper is due up fourth for the Nationals, who will be facing Yankees right-hander Romulo Sanchez.

Mid 7, 3:28: The Nationals just took a 9-8 lead with a pair of runs against Daniel Turpen. Mike Morse doubled, Jesus Flores was hit by a pitch, Matt Stairs smashed a ground-rule double to right, and Kevin Barker reached on an error that allowed the second run to score. Now pitching for the Nationals: (wait as I check the spelling on the Nationals' roster) Atahualpa Severino.

Top 7, 3:20: Bryce Harper just grounded out to first against Yankees right-hander Daniel Turpen (whom the Yankees picked in the Rule 5 draft). Harper, who got a nice ovation from the crowd as his name was announced, is now 1 for 9 (.111) this spring, though he could get one more plate appearance today.

End 6, 3:15: Craig Stammen survived a leadoff single to retire the Yankees in the sixth. Included in the inning was a nice 3-2 slider to Justin Maxwell, who swung and missed as the pitch darted into the opposite batter's box. Yeah, I think we've seen that from Maxwell a time or two before.

Mid 6, 3:06: Robert Fish just retired the Nationals in order in the sixth -- a nice outing by the 23-year-old lefty -- so Bryce Harper will lead off the seventh. Craig Stammen back to the hill for a second inning of work, and Jesus Flores into the game at catcher, replacing Ivan Rodriguez. Paid attendance today: 10,835.

End 5, 3:00: Craig Stammen gave up a walk and a single, but escaped the fifth with a 6-4-3 double-play off the bat of Eduardo Nunez. Still 8-7, Yankees. Bryce Harper is due to bat fourth in this inning. (That's the third spot in the order, as Michael Morse moved from right field to third base.) Also of note, ex-Nat Justin Maxwell is now in the game for the Yankees, playing left field.

Mid 5, 2:52: Here's what this game needed: Robert Fish. The Yankees' lefty pitched a quick, scoreless fifth, giving up a leadoff walk to Derek Norris but erasing him by inducing a 5-4-3 double-play by Jeff Frazier. Still 8-7, Yankees, with Craig Stammen coming in to pitch for the Nationals, and Bryce Harper heading out to right field.

End 4, 2:43: Yes, the fourth inning is mercifully over, but not before the Yankees scored eight runs to take an 8-7 lead. Poor Josh Wilkie was victimized for four hits (the Yankees came a homer shy of hitting for the cycle against him) and was charged with three of the runs. Only a pair of nice plays at first base by Chris Marrero -- a tough stop of a hard smash with the infield playing in, and a nice grab of a bad-hop grounder -- prevented more damage. I think the fourth inning, officially, took 13 hours and 43 minutes to play.

Bottom 4, 2:29: Now the pitching/defensive ugliness has shifted over to the Nationals' side, and we have our third mid-inning pitching change (this is an outrage!) in the last two innings. Gaudin failed to retire a batter in the fourth, giving up two hits and a walk. He also was victimized by a botched grounder by second baseman Brian Bixler, who let one go through his legs, and Gaudin himself made a throwing error on a comebacker. The Yankees have closed to within 7-3, and Josh Wilkie is on to pitch for the Nationals.

Mid 4, 2:18: David Robertson struck out Ivan Rodriguez to end the top of the fourth. And here's a quick mid-game look at the box score: Hairston is 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs; Desmond is 2 for 2 with two RBI and two runs; Zimmerman is 2 for 2 with two doubles; Frazier is 2 for 2 with a homer and a double. And Gaudin is back out to pitch the fourth.

Top 4, 2:12: Another mid-inning pitching change (which, if I were commissioner, would be banned, at least during spring training games) for the Yankees, as Joba Chamberlain can't make it out of the fourth. The Nationals have scored two more, after Jeff ("Babe Ruth") Frazier doubled and eventually scored on Jerry Hairston's ground out, and Ryan Zimmerman doubled home Ian Desmond (walk). So it's 7-0, Nationals, and David Robertson is on to pitch for the Yankees.

End 3, 1:58: Yet another strong inning from Chad Gaudin. Eduardo Nunez flied weakly to right (the only ball so far to leave the infield against Gaudin), Jorge Vazquez struck out badly on a curve ball, and Ramiro Pena grounded to first.

(By the way, here was CC Sabathia's pitching line: 2 2/3 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 W, 1K, 1 HR. He threw 53 pitches, 28 for strikes.)

Mid 3, 1:51: Chamberlain retired Chris Marrero on a force-out at second. Gaudin back to the mound for his third inning or work.

Top 3, 1:47: Sabathia is now out of the game, having failed to complete the third, and the Nationals are up 5-0, after Ryan Zimmerman doubled to left, scoring Jerry Hairston, and Michael Morse hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Ian Desmond. Sabathia had absolutely no command of his fastball today, and he's still responsible for runners at first and second with two outs. Joba Chamberlain now pitching for the Yankees.

(BONUS NOTE! If you're wondering who the heck Jeff Frazier is, here is a down-and-dirty bio, straight out of the Nationals' media guide: 28 years old; third-round draft pick by Detroit in 2004; spent nearly seven years in minors before getting called up by Detroit in Sept. 2010; hit .306-26-75 last year for Class AAA Toledo; signed by Nationals as a minor-league free agent; brother of Reds shortstop prospect Todd Frazier.)

Top 3, 1:40: Yeah, we're still in the top of the third, and Sabathia still hasn't recorded an out. Following Frazier's homer, he went walk (to Brian Bixler), single (Jerry Hairston), RBI single (Ian Desmond). It's 3-0, Nationals.

Top 3, 1:35: We interrupt this half-inning to bring you this breaking news flash: Jeff Frazier, the Nationals' left fielder today, just went deep to left-center field against CC Sabathia. It's 2-0, Nationals.

End 2, 1:32: That's a tidy 1-2-3 inning for Gaudin, who still hasn't allowed a ball to leave the infield. Jorge Posada popped up to third base, Eric Chavez struck out looking, and Jesus Montero grounded weakly to short.

Mid 2, 1:25: Sabathia retired the side in order in the second, getting Ivan Rodriguez on a line out to shortstop, Derek Norris on a grounder to third and Chris Marrero on a swinging strikeout. Still 1-0, Nationals.

End 1, 1:17: A nice first inning for Gaudin, and for the Nationals' defense. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman made a nice diving stab of Nick Swisher's broken-bat grounder, but first baseman Chris Marrero couldn't make the scoop (the play was ruled an infield single). But Marrero redeemed himself by fielding Curtis Granderson's hot smash to his right and starting a 3-6-3 double-play to end the inning.

Mid 1, 1:10: The Nationals scored quickly against Sabathia, with ex-Yankee Jerry Hairston smashing a double into the left field corner (past Yankees third baseman Eric Chavez [!]), and Ian Desmond sneaking a dribbler up the middle and into center field to score him. It's 1-0, Nationals. Gaudin is getting ready to face a diluted Yankees lineup -- apparently Manager Joe Girardi is giving some regulars a day off. Here's their lineup: Gardner LF, Swisher RF, Granderson CF, Posada DH, Chavez 3B, Montero C, Nunez 2B, Vazquez 1B, Pena SS.

Original post: Let's dispense with the formalities. We're about to be underway here, with CC Sabathia facing off against Chad Gaudin. (Oh, and since I piggybacked this post on top of the one from three minutes ago, make sure you don't miss my notes below about Nyjer Morgan, Elvin Ramirez and Bryce Harper.)

By Dave Sheinin  | March 5, 2011; 1:03 PM ET
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Next: Bryce Harper not big on pre-game fraternization


via Twitter: @SI_JonHeyman -- Scout on Jordan Zimmermann: "hes back.'' throwing 94-95 w/ superb slider. "if they had Strasburg theyd be dangerous'' #nats

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | March 5, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@Imjustlikemusiq: Even without Strasburg, the Nationals could turn the bottom 60% upside-down. But the scout is right; With Strasburg, the team could be a real threat.

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@Dave Sheinin: Please keep track of the pitch counts today for the Nationals, if possible. Thanks.

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, if we can get within range of .500 this year... 2012 could be the leap into contention...

A lot yet to happen before Opening Day 2012, however, that could affect that...

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 5, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

BinM, had the same thought when I saw how quick Guadin got done with the 3rd inning. I doubt he's coming back for the 4th, but he sure made quick work of thngs (or so it seems from glancing at Gameday)

Posted by: Sunderland | March 5, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Awesome Dave. Thanks.

Posted by: mjwies11 | March 5, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@Ghost7: There's a lot left to happen in 2011, without looking into the crystal ball all the way to 2012.

The pitching staff is still in flux (could be decent, could be not-so-good), the offense can score runs, and the defense should be improved, but will it be enough overall; That's the question for 2011.

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

@Sunderland: Gameday in-game stats for the pitchers are decieving - they are only tracking balls in play; If a pitcher walks or strikes out an opposing batter, then those count - Otherwise, they aren't added to the pitch count.

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Gaudin may have tried to cross "the bridge too far" this early in the season; Three up in the 4th, three on & one home so far...

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that is why I said... if the 2011 Nats can perform in the range of .500... then with (hopefully) getting Strasburg back... and Rizzo and the Nats continuing to make incremental on field improvements... 2012 could be the year we fly past .500 and the Nats aren't a team that the rest of the NL sits around licking their chops when they are coming into town...

But, agreed, we need 2011 under our belt first before knowing if that will come about... and a full year of playing time at the ML level for guys like Zimmermann, Storen, Espinosa, Ramos, etc... to know if that will come to fruition...

But, definitely much more hopeful now then in past years knowing next year would bring only Carlos Baerga, Jerome Williams, JD Martin, on and on and on and on and on...

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 5, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

So Josh Wilkie finally gets into a game (what I'd hoped for), and BOOM goes the dynamite (the last thing I'd hoped for). Damn.

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

FYI Gameday on has full play by play and box score of game.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | March 5, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Dave, if you're reading this, can you check to see if Severino is wearing his cap OVER his ears? He did that last year in a game and I have to believe that's a first in the big leagues.

Posted by: baltova1 | March 5, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

>Top 8, 3:45: Bryce Harper just ripped an RBI single off Romulo Sanchez for his first RBI of the spring. He also never stopped running, and advanced easily to second when the right fielder bobbled the ball. It's 10-8, Nationals.

Hit that ball and run those bases buoy!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

>End 9, 4:10: Adam Carr gets the save with a 1-2-3 ninth, wrapping up a 10-8 win for the Nationals.

Harper needs a nickname. I'm gonna call him Sheen for now. Headline NY Post:


Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@Brue: Calm down, dude. We're only a week into ST, and Harper has shown he still has some things to learn, both at the plate (vs LHP), and in the field (overall).

Yes, he has a quick bat, a cannon for an arm, & is a smart baserunner, but he still needs some work at the plate & in the field as well. An option to the minors will benefit both him & the team at this point in his career.

Posted by: BinM | March 5, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Cristian Guzman to sit out first half of 2011 season due to "family issues."

This doesn't sound good...

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 5, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

>An option to the minors will benefit both him & the team at this point in his career.

Posted by: BinM |

He's one of the 25 best, even without experience. That's just a fact of life. It would only hurt the team if they sent him down. So get over it - it doesn't make him any better, and it doesn't make the Nats any better. His learning curve would be so much greater, and he'd be on point so much quicker when he becomes familiar with the pitchers.

I do, however, see a Sheening in your future. It's like voodoo - the team tries to limit him to one stinkin AB per game, he gets two and gets an RBI hit. If you diss the buoy, you get punished. Just wait until these idiots quit trying to prove he doesn't belong, and start him and let him at it. Riggs and Pants are punks for treating him like this. It's bush league. But what else do you expect? They're afraid they won't be able to preach if he makes the team. Give him 4 ABs Riggs! Treat him like a MAN!!!!

Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

That's short term thinking on Harper. I'm excited to have him in camp and showing some stuff, too... but, he clearly needs some seasoning before he is ready to be a legit start in the ML... and, sending him down now will benefit the team, believe it or not, in the long run... he could probably hold his own in the majors this year right now, I will admit that... but, by holding his own, I mean going out and hitting .250 with maybe 12-15 homers... then I would expect a slight uptick in 2012, of course...

But, meanwhile, that is two of his pre-free agency years eaten up by middle of the road statistics while he gets on-the-job training...

Which might make sense if the team was ready to compete for a division title right now in 2011... if that was the case, putting your best 25 regardless of the cost down the road is the way to go... but, we are still a team planning for the future (hopefully a near future)... so, better off with Harper in the minors honing his craft and not eating up his pre-arbitration / pre-free agency years...

Anyway... what I'm kind of curious about is... I have read nothing but one good thing after another about Marrero's defense this spring... not to mention he is hitting the cover off the ball... if he can prove to be an average defensive 1b, we could be on to something here...

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 5, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

>Posted by: Ghost7

You just inspired a new nickname for Harper. ROI. Return on Investment. Two in one night. Sheen and ROI.

Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I am hoping that the letters associated with Harper at some point soon are "ROY". (2012? 2013?) Maybe after that "MVP" (he and Zimm can alternate years).

Posted by: MrDumberton | March 5, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Brue, you may have some skills, but creating nicknames is not one of them...

Posted by: baltova1 | March 5, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey, that is the way you have to think, unfortunately...

The baseball fan in me would love to see him in a Nats uniform on opening day, and looking forward to seeing every inch of his development up close in HD...

Being cognizant of the business side of the game, though, makes me think if that happened... by the time he is ready to bust loose and put some real MVP type numbers up, he could be wearing pinstripes or red socks instead of Nats colors...

This kid has Josh Hamilton type talent... and eventually he can put up Josh Hamilton circa 2010 type numbers... but, he ain't ready to do that yet, in 2011, at age 18...

So, with the 2011 team projecting to around 75 wins, why waste a full year of Harper... if everything works out, let him get his feet wet in September at the ML level (ala Zimmerman in '05)... he will be a lot more prepared then and could position himself to be a part of the 2012 roster, when Strasburg is also back and the team might be projecting to 81+ wins, closer to contention...


Posted by: Ghost7 | March 5, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

>Brue, you may have some skills, but creating nicknames is not one of them...

Posted by: baltova1butterface

Posted by: Brue | March 5, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

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