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Posted at 12:51 PM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Nationals spring training live blog, Nationals at Marlins

By Adam Kilgore

jupiter marlins.jpg

Top 7, 3:05: The Nats are running away from the Marlins now. It was 7-0 after Chris Marrero singled to center and scored Espinosa. New third base coach Bo Porter has been aggressive this spring, and he made an aggressive send by having Espinosa test Dewayne Wise's arm. The throw bounced off the dirt, and Marrero wound up on second.

And now Marrero has made it 8-0. Bryce Harper pinch hit and laced a single to right to score him.

Top 7, 2:55 Jim Riggleman often talks about bunting to "put pressure on the defense," and that just worked. With Brian Bixler and Alberto Gonzalez on first and second after a pair of singles, Roger Bernadina dropped down a sac bunt. His speed forced an errant throw, and Bixler wheeled around to score and put the Nats up 4-0.

They lead 5-0 now after Danny Espinosa's third hit of the day, a single, scored Gonzalez and sent Bernadina first to third. ... And hold on, Laynce Nix scored Bernadina with a shallow sac fly to left. 6-0, Nats.

Bot 6, 2:32: Todd Coffey continued his own excellent start to spring, striking out the side in the fifth. He's pitched four scoreless innings this spring, allowing one hit. The Nats went quietly before making some substitutions. Chris Marrero, in at first for Adam LaRoche, received a cheer upon being introduced; he's from nearby.

Craig Stammen is in for Coffey.

Mid 5, 2:25: Danny Espinosa gave the Nats a 3-0 with a two-run, two-out home run to left field. (He was batting right-handed against lefty Mike Dunn.) Espinosa is 2 for 2 with a home run, a double, an HBP and three RBI.

Todd Coffey is the new Nats pitcher. Marquis threw 42 pitches.

End 4, 2:15: Jason Marquis has breezed through four innings, having allowed no runs on two hits and a walk. He finished with a 1-2-3 innings, three groundballs. Marquis is off to a great start, having surrendered no runs in his first seven innings. The Nats still lead, 1-0, and Michael Morse is 2 for 2, hitting .455 for the spring.

Mid 3, 1:53: The Nats took a 1-0 lead on doubles by Alberto Gonzalez and Danny Espinosa, both to the left-center gap. (Espinosa hit his while batting left-handed.) Roger Bernadina struck out for the second time, while Laynce Nix and Adam LaRoche grounded out.

End 2, 1:40 Jason Marquis rolled through the second. After a leadoff walk to John Buck, Marquis struck out Wes Helms swinging and got a 4-6-3 double play out of John Baker.

Mid 2, 1:35 The Nats turned Morse's double into a pile of nothing after a pair of interesting defensive plays by Hanley Ramirez. He went to third when Matt Stairs grounded to short and Ramirez made a throw wide of third base trying to nab him. With Stairs safe on first, Ivan Rodriguez grounded to short. Ramirez had time to look Morse back to third before flipping to second and starting a 6-4-3 double play. Alex Cora grounded out to end the inning.

Top 2, 1:26: Nice first inning for Jason Marquis. He gave up a one-out double to Omar Infante to left-center, on which Roger Bernadina took a strange route. Michael Morse made a nice play on a sinking line drive, and Marquis got out of the inning with groundouts from Hanley Ramirez and Logan Morrison.

And Michael Morse has led off the second with a double to right-center. He just beat the tag with a nice slide.

Mid 1, 1:17: Vazquez set the Nats down with little trouble in the first. He struck out Roger Bernadina, drilled Danny Espinosa (who fouled away a bunt attempt), struck out Laynce Nix and induced a grounder to second from Adam LaRoche.

12:51: The wind is blowing out here at Roger Dean Stadium about 10 minutes before first pitch. Javier Vazquez, a pitcher the Nats showed a small amount of interest in this winter, will start for the Marlins. And here's the Nationals' lineup:

1. Roger Bernadina, CF
2. Danny Espinosa, 2B
3. Laynce Nix, RF
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Michael Morse, LF
6. Matt Stairs, DH
7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
8. Alex Cora, SS
9. Alberto Gonzalez, 3B
-- Jason Marquis, SP

By Adam Kilgore  | March 9, 2011; 12:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Bryce Harper is feeling hitterish

Comments

Is it just me or does anyone else cringe when Pudge comes up with a man on first, knowing the weak ground ball is about to come

Posted by: SCNatsFan | March 9, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Man, I was hopeful over the winter that our doubles would go way up this year by adding Werth and LaRoche to Desi, Zim, Morse, Espy - but they're really showing that this spring (without Werth and LaRoche hitting gappers).

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Man, last year in spring training to this year is like night and day for Marquis

Posted by: aclupp | March 9, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

1st & 3rd, no out...the guy at 3rd has to break on a ground ball. If the shortstop decides to go for the runner at the plate, worst case is 1st & 2nd and 1 out. If the runner at 3rd can stay in a rundown long enough, the runner at 1st may have time to get 3rd, so you'd have 1st and 3rd, 1 out.

You can't give up 2 outs without scoring the run in that situation.

Posted by: sollazo | March 9, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

How do you not score from 3rd on a 6-4-3??!?!?!?!

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 9, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Michael Morse made a nice play on a sinking line drive...

"And Michael Morse has led off the second with a double to right-center. He just beat the tag with a nice slide."
========================================
...and Morse continues to make the case for being the regular LF.

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 9, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

How do you not score from 3rd on a 6-4-3??!?!?!?!

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 9, 2011 1:57 PM

Well explained by Kilgore - Hanley could afford to look Morse back to third and still get the preposterously slow combo of Stairs and Pudge 6-4-3. That's a spring training anomaly if ever there was one - Stairs starting at DH and batting 6th.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

So, what is a better all-around OF left-to-right: Morse-Morgan-Werth or Bernadina-Werth-Morse?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | March 9, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

So, what is a better all-around OF left-to-right: Morse-Morgan-Werth or Bernadina-Werth-Morse?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | March 9, 2011 2:20 PM

I'd go for (LF)Morse-(CF)Bernadina-(RF)Werth. But who leads-off is the big question in the Morgan/Bernadina debate. If it was up to me at this moment - I'd play Bernadina against lefties and Morgan against righties - both in CF/lead-off.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Kepp it going DannyE and MikeM!! Go Nats!

There is renewed Faith and Hope!

Posted by: M20832 | March 9, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

NJers,

Is it me, or does this team look like it wants to contend this year? I'm really starting to get excited.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | March 9, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

re: the preposterously slow combo of Stairs and Pudge....

I'd like to see them go head to head in a sprint to first base.

Could probably time the race with a sun-dial......

Posted by: TimDz | March 9, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

At this point, still three weeks before Opening Day, I would go with Bernie-Werth-Morse.

They've said all along that Bernie is a natural left fielder. Werth has played more than 100 games in CF and Morse has played the majority of his games in RF. At this point, Morgan is a 4th outfielder and pinch runner at best.

Posted by: RPrecupjr | March 9, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

At this point, Morgan is a 4th outfielder and pinch runner at best.

Posted by: RPrecupjr | March 9, 2011 2:52 PM

Roger Bernadina Career OBP vs RHP - .302 (476 PA)

Nyjer Morgan Career OBP vs RHP - .361 (1069 PA)

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Riggleman has done a double-switch yet this spring, has he?

He must be getting seriously antsy...

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 9, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

>>don't think Riggleman has done a double-switch yet this spring, has he?He must be getting seriously antsy...

Pitchers don't bat in ST. DH only so no need. But yea you're probably right. He needs to get in DS shape.

Posted by: dovelevine | March 9, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

You people are so blind in your hate for Nyjer Morgan that you still fail to realize that Roger Bernadina has done absolutely nothing in the big leagues.

In Nyjer Morgan's WORST year he still posted better numbers than Bernadina. How do you not get that?

And don't give me defense, because in 09' Morgan ranked as the premiere defensive outfielder in the game, if Bernadina ever comes close to that then we can talk.

Your only reasoning left would be baserunning and if you are willing to forego every other element to their games for steal % you truly are a moron. So if you want Morgan gone, fine, but at least offer up a better alternative than Roger Bernadina.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | March 9, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Riggleman has done a double-switch yet this spring, has he?

He must be getting seriously antsy...

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 9, 2011 3:01 PM

I'm also antsy to start playing some real National League baseball - none of this DH malarkey.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

>>I'm also antsy to start playing some real National League baseball - none of this DH malarkey

Seriously if you're going to have pitchers bat in the regular season, then they should bat in ST. They need practice like everyone else. Pitchers batting in real games is important, bunting, sacrificing, swinging away, whatever. If it's not important, then institute the DH for both leagues.

Posted by: dovelevine | March 9, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"Bo Porter has been aggressive this spring" music to my ears. So much better than Pat "Stop Sign" Listach.

Posted by: twinbrook | March 9, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

When are the next cuts on Pitchers? We had 8-0 lead & we end the game with 8-4. Well, at least it's another Curly W in the book. Let's go NATS!

Posted by: mink23 | March 9, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

It is hard to believe that Harper is only 18. The pitching was good today. I would not put too much stock in giveing up the four runs in the last two innings. When a team is up 8 going to the bottom of the eight, the pitchers are told to throw strikes and do not walk anyone.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | March 9, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Bo Porter was Marlins' 3B coach 2007-2009. Reportedly in job interview with Nats he described our baserunning as "pathetic." No reason why we can't do to the Marlins what they've been doing to us lo these many years.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 9, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-not much to say from my perch-it's S.T.But I'm avidly following all things baseball in general and Nationals (of course) in particular, so this nugget fro FOX Baseball (on under-rated players):
"Can a former All-Star and Gold Glove and Silver Slugger recipient be underrated? Indeed, he can. With apologies to Evan Longoria, Zimmerman right now is the top third baseman in the game. He's coming off a season in which he hit .307 AVG /.388 OBP/.510 SLG despite playing his home games in a park that's quite tough on right-handed power hitters. Of course, Zimmerman's defense is something to behold. According to Ultimate Zone Rating, Zimmerman has saved almost 30 runs over and above the hypothetical "replacement" level fielder at the position. Thanks to his well-rounded skills, Zimmerman is one of the five best players in the game today. It's about time he's recognized as such."
Nice! And with that(and Marquis and Ross and yes, I said it, NYJER back on track), we go to 88+ wins!
OK...my fingers were crossed-especially regarding Nyjer-but isn't it preferable to hope for the BEST instead of the worst from one of our players?
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | March 9, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Musiq makes some good points about Morgan. But I wouldn't get too excited about his noodle-armed throws tho. Bernadina has at least as much speed, a much better arm and hits with more power. I think everybody looks at Bernadina and sees much more upside. Morgan seems to be regressing.

Posted by: shanks1 | March 9, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@Imjustlikemusiq

Are you kidding me??

First off, last year was Bernie's Rookie season and he is only 26, in baseball the magic season for a player is when they turn 27. Nyjer is 31 and not a spring chicken.

Second, yes Nyjer was great for a half of a season put let us be honest he could not even break the Pirates outfield as a full time starter.

Third, as someone pointed out earlier Nyjer is "wall shy." Bernie broke his ankle in what would have been his rookie year and still attacks the wall with no fear. Let us not forget they were going to give in the starting CF job had in not for his broken ankle.

Lastly, both of them have publicly said they did not like their output last year and took time this off season to fix that. Right now Bernie looks like the only one who was serious about that.


P.S.

At least we found our #2 hole hitter in Danny.

Posted by: hansenjo | March 9, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

When are the next cuts on Pitchers? We had 8-0 lead & we end the game with 8-4. Well, at least it's another Curly W in the book. Let's go NATS!

Posted by: mink23

Thanks mink23. Looks like Adam stopped reporting top of the seventh.

Posted by: M20832 | March 9, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I would not put too much stock in giveing up the four runs in the last two innings. When a team is up 8 going to the bottom of the eight, the pitchers are told to throw strikes and do not walk anyone.

Posted by: adhardwick | March 9, 2011 4:03 PM

Slaten's trying to keep a job in our competitive pen - he won't be happy about giving up back-to-back home runs.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 9, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It maybe only spring training, but I'll take a win against the Marlins anytime...I hate the Marlins..

Posted by: bromisky | March 9, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

A note to Imjustlikemusiq; Couldn't agree more my man the Nyjer hate is so prevalent that it defies logic,i like Bernadina but he doesn't play CF as well as Morgan. I just sent Nyjer a letter,just letting him know to stay positive work with Bo and get back to that 09 mindset and everything will be fine he's going to make some people eat their word's this season.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 9, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Ha, I actually have to agree, Nyjer is likely to be an important part of the team no matter who is the Opening Day CF.

Does he have a weak arm and questionable baseball instincts? Yes, yes he does. But he also brings attributes that no one else on the team really does, like blinding speed on the basepaths and in the OF.

He can be an offensive weapon in short doses, he was just miscast as an everyday player in 2010. When I call him a 4th OF type (and I do), I am talking about a guy that plays 3-4 times a week, and for longer stretches based on other folks' health. The only OF who has proven he needs to be in the lineup 162 times is Jayson Werth. Bernie, Morse and Morgan all have to earn their time at this point (and boy is Morse earning it right now).

Morgan just ain't an everyday guy, based on his complete inability to hit lefthanded pitching... playing every day exposes his weaknesses too much.

But, as a role player, he has something to add to the Nats on both sides of the ball. It still may not work out, but in general we would be better off rooting for the guy to put his speed to good use and help the Nats win some ballgames.

Anyway, eat me alive...

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 9, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Ghost7; Yeah; i agree with at least one of your point's Jayson Werth is an everyday player and at 126 million(7yrs) he better be,I think Morgan can contribute on a daily basis and i'm not against him taking a seat against tough lefty's i'm just not on the Nyjer's a bust bandwagon.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 9, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Man, it really looks like the Marlins have a hole at second base with Uggla gone to Atlanta. I don't think Omar Infante can fill it, and I know Emile Bonafacio isn't going to do it. Now it looks like Utley is going to need knee surgery, so now could Espinosa with a good year pass Uggla to become the best second baseman in the East?

Posted by: bromisky | March 9, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Morse and Ramos have won starting jobs to any rational person. Pudge, Storen and "Bone Head" Morgan have played themselves out of the lineup. Unfortunately, Rigglemanure doesn't see it that way. He'll play his teacher's pet bums and lose just as he has throughout his entire career. He'll double-switch the Nats into another 100 loss season and they are way better than that.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | March 9, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Quietly, the team is putting together a decent spring. All the starting pitchers have done well. Yes, it's only spring, but it's way better than last year.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | March 9, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

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