Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Adam Dunn started at first base today against the Cardinals.
Not that there aren't significant matters taking place today. For one thing, Garrett Mock takes the mound for his second start of the spring, hoping to build off his solid debut last week against the Astros. J.D. Martin, technically also in the running for a rotation spot, is slated to follow Mock out of the bullpen. And Drew Storen will look to keep his fabulous spring (two perfect innings, 19 total pitches) going with another inning of relief on the schedule.
So check back throughout the day for updates, and any other news that crops up will magically appear in new posts...
NATIONALS AT CARDINALS
Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 76 degrees, Wind 16 mph RF to LF
2B Willie Harris
SS Ian Desmond
DH Chris Duncan
1B Adam Dunn
LF Mike Morse
CF Justin Maxwell
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Elijah Dukes
3B Pete Orr
(P Garrett Mock)
2B Skip Schumaker
3B Felipe Lopez
DH David Freese
LF Nick Stivinoha
CF Colby Rasmus
RF Ryan Ludwick
C Yadier Molina
1B Allen Craig
SS Tyler Greene
(P Brad Penny)
11:45 a.m. -- Cristian Guzman has returned to Washington to be with his wife, who is going to have labor induced. No set timetable for his return, but it sounds like it won't be long.
12:26 p.m. -- So much for seeing Mock and Co. face the two best hitters in the NL. Both Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday have been scratched from the Cards' lineup. David Freese now batting third, Nick Stavinoha batting cleanup. Doesn't carry quite the same weight as the other two guys.
1:11 p.m. -- We are underway. Willie Harris and Ian Desmond each fly out. Ex-Cardinal Chris Duncan receives a nice ovation from the crowd -- more on him later -- but grounds out to first to end a 1-2-3 inning.
1:21 p.m. -- Garrett Mock gets into a jam in the bottom of the first, allowing a one-out, infield single to Felipe Lopez (look at FLop hustle!) and then a line drive single up the middle to David Freese. But Mock battled his way out of it, striking out Nick Stavinoha on a nasty 3-2 offspeed pitch which turned into a double play because Lopez strayed too far off second and Pudge gunned a throw to Harris to nail him. (Look at FLop fall asleep on the bases! Where have we seen that before?)
2:08 p.m. -- Mock had another up-and-down afternoon. Allowed a double to Yadier Molina followed by a towering homer to left by Allen Craig in the second. But he rebounded in the third, striking out David Freese and getting more help from Pudge, who gunned down Felipe Lopez trying to steal second (what were the odds?). The Nats lineup did nothing against Brad Penny, getting only Adam Dunn's second-inning single and nothing else in four innings against the big right-hander. Cards lead 2-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
J.D. Martin came on in relief of Garrett Mock.
3:07 p.m. -- Just got back from talking to Garrett Mock and Pudge Rodriguez in the Nats clubhouse. More detailed stuff from them later, but of his new batterymate, Mock did say: "Ivan Rodriguez throws harder than I do. It's like a helicopter whizzing past my ear."
3:10 p.m. -- J.D. Martin's afternoon is complete. He threw three innings, allowed two runs and three hits. Matt Capps now on for the bottom of the seventh, Nationals still trailing 4-3.
3:19 p.m. -- Tough inning for Capps, who allowed two runs, though not entirely his fault. Jon Jay hit a high fly ball to deep left-center, a play Justin Maxwell probably felt like he should have made. But either because of wind or Maxwell's poor route, the ball fell in for a generous triple. Allen Craig (who homered off Mock earlier) sent an opposite-field double to right to score Jay, and then later scored himself on a sac fly. So as we head to the eighth, the Nats trail 6-3 and need a rally to avoid falling to -- gulp! -- 0-8 in the Grapefruit League.
3:28 p.m. -- Justin Maxwell blasts a solo homer to left off Mitchell Boggs. That cuts the deficit to 6-4 heading to the bottom of the eighth. Jason Bergmann has emerged from the bullpen. Looks like Drew Storen won't make it in. This is the downside to using starters in relief. With bock Mock and Martin throwing three innings a piece, and with the Nats trailing on the road, they're only going to use a total of four pitchers today.
3:50 p.m. -- The Nats are 0-8. I repeat: The Nats are 0-8. Drop this one to the Cardinals, 6-4. Mike Rizzo, watching from the front row, isn't concerned. As he said earlier today: "Spring training is spring training. We shouldn't even keep score or keep stats, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not concerned whatsoever with our won-loss record or with the performance of our players."