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Posted at 1:58 PM ET, 03/10/2011

Nationals spring training live blog, Mets at Nats

By Adam Kilgore

space coast rain.jpg

End 9, 5:02: Tyler Clippard gave up a three-run bomb to Duda in the ninth and Destin Hood made an unsightly and costly error, but the Nationals held on to win, 6-5, and improve their spring record to 8-3.

Mid 8, 4:43 Drew Storen fell into some trouble in the eighth, walking Lucas Duda on a 3-2 slider and giving up a single to put two on with no outs. Steve McCatty walked to the mound for a chat, and Storen blew his way out of the jam by striking out three straight. Storen pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. For the spring, he's still allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Bot 7, 4:21: Jayson Werth extended the Nationals' lead to 6-1 with an RBI double to left-center. Werth, who DHed today, was pulled for a pinch-runner. He went 1 for 2 with two walks today.

Mid 7, 4:10: Drew Storen threw a pair of fastballs and got out of the inning with a pop up to second. Now they're singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame.

Top 7, 4:08: After J.D. Martin pitched a scoreless sixth, Sean Burnett had some issues in the seventh. He allowed a run and left with two outs and men on first and third. Drew Storen will take it from here. It's 4-1.

End 5, 3:35: The Nats upped their lead to 4-0. Jonathan Van Every walked, Alex Cora singled and Nyjer Morgan got hit by a pitch to load the bases. After Ian Desmond struck out, Werth walked to force in a run. The inning ended when LaRoche's liner to second turned into a double play, Werth out by a whisker trying to slide back into first.

J.D. Martin has replaced Chad Gaudin. Gaudin's line: 5 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K

Mid 5, 3:16 Gaudin came out for the fifth and ran into some initial trouble, walking Kirk Niewenhuis and giving up a bloop single to Nickeas. He struck out Hu on two straight curveballs, which Hu treated as if they miracles of modern science. Castillo grounded to second for the second out, and Alberto Gonzalez handled Murphy's shot to third to end the inning. Still 3-0, Nats.

Mid 4, 3:04: Gaudin wiggled out of a jam to keep the Nats up 3-0. Two singles, by David Wright (which almost decapitated Gaudin) and Lucas Duda put runners on first and third with one out. Hairston missed an outside slider by a mile to strike out swinging, Nick Evans flied to left and Gaudin had his fourth shutout inning. He's probably done, and it was a nice showing. For the spring, Gaudin has one walk and 11 strikeouts in 10 innings.

End 3, 2:50: Another 1-2-3 inning by Pelfrey. Desmond flied out, Werth grounded to short, LaRoche flied to left. It's still 3-0, Nats. Chad Gaudin remains on the mound.

Mid 3, 2:46: Chad Gaudin continued to mow down the Mets until Chin-lung Hu came up with two outs. Gaudin notched strike out, sitting down Mike Nickeas on a check-swing in the dirt for his fourth K. Hu, though, scalded a double over the head of Laynce Nix in left, who made a bad read and took a couple steps in before realizing the ball was going over his head. Not sure if he would have had a play, anyway, but I think he would have. It was rightfully ruled a hit.

Anyway, Gaudin got out of the inning when Castillo chopped to first.

End 2, 2:36: The Nats went 1-2-3. Nyjer Morgan ended the inning with a pop to foul territory behind third base.

Mid 2, 2:31 More quick work by Chad Gaudin in a 1-2-3 second. He got help from Alex Cora, who robbed Lucas Duda of a single with a diving play at second base. Gaudin struck out Scott Hairston and got Nick Evans on a fly ball to right. Six up, six down with three Ks for Gaudin.

End 1, 2:25: Ivan Rodriguez drove in a run to make it 3-0 Nationals after the first. He smoked a line drive back up the middle off Pelfrey's shin. Second baseman Daniel Murphy was able to scoop the ball and flip to first to retire Pudge, but Werth scooted home. Laynce Nix struck out and Alberto Gonzalez grounded out to end the inning.

Bot 1, 2:18: Nyjer Morgan started off the first by dumping an 0-1 pitch from right-hander Mike Pelfrey into left-center for a single. Ian Desmond followed with another single, and Jayson Werth walked to load the bases for Adam LaRoche. LaRoche crushed a ground-rule double to center, giving the Nats a 2-0 lead.

Sitting in the press box, new MASN analyst F.P. Santangelo noted Werth had changed his stance, making it more open than he's ever seen it. Interesting detail.

Mid 1, 2:12: Impressive first inning for Chad Gaudin. He got a weak flare to short out of Luis Castillo, then struck out David Murphy and David Wright, with Wright flailing awkwardly at a curveball outside.

1:58: We're just about ready to get going here. Parts of the warning track are a little soggy, and General Manager Mike Rizzo walked out to right field to inspect the turf himself during pregame. Looks like everything is good to go.

By Adam Kilgore  | March 10, 2011; 1:58 PM ET
 
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Next: Chad Gaudin states his case

Comments

Gaudin has looked good all spring. Bad news for Stammen...

Posted by: paleahy | March 10, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

This might be a spring mirage, but the Nats actually look like they have pitching depth. This might be the first pitching staff they've ever had where every guy will be a legitimate major leaguer. They may not be GREAT major leaguers, but they'll be major leaguers. Even the '05 team was spotty in the back end of the rotation. Guess we'll see how far adequate pitching can carry a team.

Posted by: baltova1 | March 10, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Impressive so far this spring for the SPs, but I'm still skeptical of any staff which still considers Lannan to be a key component. I'll enjoy it for now in ST, but I won't start to believe until these guys do it for real in the heat of summer.

Posted by: jedd_narsavage | March 10, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Definitely connected with the good pitching, but it seems like the Nats have scored first in (almost?) every game so far.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 10, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

jedd_narsavage

but I'm still skeptical of any staff which still considers Lannan to be a key component.

Agreed. I say this about Lannan all the time: that he's a number six starter in a five man rotation...

UNTERP

Posted by: asdfghj1 | March 10, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Lannan is the new Marquis

Posted by: paleahy | March 10, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

That's a pretty nice line for Gaudin.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 10, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Why is Werth walking so much?
Can we get Morgan to stand on top of the plate? Sounds like a good way to get him on base a little more often.

Posted by: brianbu | March 10, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the Lanan bashing. Put away the radar gun and you'll realize he's a thoroughly competent pitcher. Put him on a winning team and he would have been a 12-game winner each of the last three years (even last year).

Posted by: baltova1 | March 10, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

If Gaudin has two more games like this, I would think he could be penciled into the fifth spot. Also thinking outside the box given Livo's age and Zimm/Marquis health could this team go to a six man rotation? It would relieve stress on these guys We also don’t have no true number one right now Zimm is still unproven as a two, so the match up thing is a mute point.

Posted by: hansenjo | March 10, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

It's going to be interesting who is going to be cut the next round this weekend. I think few of the pitchers will be cut for sure. Keep up the good work Nats! Go Nats!

Posted by: mink23 | March 10, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

My father is convinced that with Espinosa and LaRoche manning the right side of the infield Lannan is going to look a LOT better this year since he induces a lot of groundballs. He may be right but I'm skeptical nonetheless. Frankly, I'd like to see Detweiler get 15-20 starts and see how he holds up.

Posted by: mjsciann1 | March 10, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

This is starting to get interesting! I was a skeptic at 3-1 but if today holds and they go 8-3 or 9-3 (seeing that they have a DH) then there might be something to this. The Mets are really bad, the Marlins have been having a so-so spring, of course the Braves look good, but the real issue is without Utley and Brown does that mean anything to slowing down the Phillies express?

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 10, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Tippy, split squad games (which today's games are) do not count in the standings, so we'll still be 7-3....which is still WAY better than 0-10 at this point last year

Posted by: RPrecupjr | March 10, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

baltova: I don't understand the Lannan bashing either. He's steady in terms of quality starts (6IP, 3ER) over his career, and save for his 6-week meltdown last year, gives the team solid numbers almost every time out.

I've always thought of him as a pitcher along the lines of Osteen / Podres / Pascual / McGregor; Never overpowering, but well-suited in a #3-4SP slot.

Posted by: BinM | March 10, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If it falls apart at the end you can blame me, but it looks like we're about to go 8-3 as opposed to 0-11 last year. Yes, ST is ST, and there are lots of examples on both sides of the "Does it translate to the regular season?" debate, but this Nats fan will take it. It beats regretting purchasing a season ticket plan before the season's even started.

Posted by: macman3 | March 10, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

RPrecupjr

I think you are mistaken about split squad games and the ST standings. POOPY's favorites won one and lost one yesterday, to go from 4-4 to 5-5 in the standings.

Posted by: stantonpark | March 10, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I just doublechecked and you are correct, Stanton. It USED to be that SS games did not count, apparently that has changed recently. This is the first time I've been interested in ST in a long time. And yes, I know it's still only ST, but 0-11 last year t0 8-3 this year gives one hope, especially since the starting pitching has been a pleasure to watch.....three more weeks til the reaal thing!!

Posted by: RPrecupjr | March 10, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Well THAT was a little bit of unnecessary drama, Mr. Clippard, sheesh

Posted by: RPrecupjr | March 10, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nats Fans! LOL, I need something for Bullpen Cardiac Arrest! As long as the Doc give me wins for the condition, it's all good! LOL Go Nats!

Posted by: patsgrill4U | March 10, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

6-5 Curly W on the record book. @patsgrill4u, I also almost had a cardic arrest. whew, glad we won though!

Posted by: mink23 | March 10, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's so much Lannan-bashing, per se, as just the fact that I've seen nothing from him the last few years that makes me think he should be starting over Detwiler, assuming Detwiler continues pitching like he has.

Now, my guess is that Livo reverts to his usual 5+ ERA, in which case I'll be happy to say Lannan should be starting instead of him. But if Detwiler is kept out of the rotation for someone like Lannan, I'll be quite unhappy.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | March 10, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Storen pitch out of trouble. I have to give Lannan the benefit of the doubt. He just might be an exception to the sabermetric predictions of doom. He seems to have recovered from his hiccup last year.

Posted by: utec | March 10, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

baltova: I don't understand the Lannan bashing either. He's steady in terms of quality starts (6IP, 3ER) over his career, and save for his 6-week meltdown last year, gives the team solid numbers almost every time out.

Posted by: BinM | March 10, 2011 4:37 PM
-----------------
"But he's a SOFT TOSSER!" "He doesn't throw HARRRRDDDDD!" "Hur, hur, hur."

I have no clue on why this is a problem (since the same folks seem to love Livo who "soft tosses" slower than Lannan!). Frankly, I think I like watching someone bamboozle hitters with slow, slower, slowest (Moyer was {and, hopefully - after he recovers from surgery - can be again} a MASTER at that) better than all hard stuff.

Posted by: OldDude | March 10, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I think the problem with Lannan isn't that he's not a credible 4-5 starter for a normal pitching staff. He definitely is.

The problem is, the Nats have 3 of him -- Livo, Marquis, and Lannan. Soft-tossing guys who get by on guile and ground balls. And that's at least one too many.

Two of those guys in your rotation -- interspersed with 3 power pitchers -- would make a decent staff. I think that's why people want to see more Detwilers and Mayas, and Lannan tends to be the odd man out of the discussion.

Posted by: js_edit | March 10, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Everyone seems to forget this team was #1 (or#2) in errors last year. If they can bring that down, all of the pitchers, including Lannan, are going to look infinitely better.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | March 10, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I know it's early but Storen worries me and based on what i saw last season i'm not convinced about him as the closer and Riggleman has said as much. The 8-3 record means nothing and everything winning breeds pride just like losing becomes a habit and a mindset,they need to understand that when they take the field they should expect to win. The coaching staff needs to continue to preach fundamentals and that 100% effort will be expected at all times.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 10, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Am just loving your live blog. Your comments are just great and I anxiously await each entry. Many thanks for keeping your readers informed!!!

Posted by: sundance6 | March 10, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

@jaycane (& others): Detwiler still needs to show that he can go more than 5-6IP effectively to be a serious candidate for the starting five, IMO.
Livo, Lannan & Marquis, despite their flaws have already proven that value point, while Chico, Atilano, JDMartin, Martis & others have failed the test.

If JZimm can bring his Pitches per Innings pitched below 15 this year, the Nationals could have a decent starting staff.

We'll see if there is "proof in the pudding" later this year.

Posted by: BinM | March 10, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

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