Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
George M. Steinbrenner Field, spring home of the New York Yankees.
New York manager Joe Girardi is starting all his regulars, including A-Rod, Tex, Jeter and old friend Nick Johnson. Washington manager Jim Riggleman is fielding a travel lineup that boasts cleanup hitter Josh Whitesell.
But for those of you baseball-starved fans back home, tonight's game is on MASN, so be sure to check it out for yourself. If nothing else, you can watch Livan Hernandez attempt to further his case for a spot in the rotation.
Check back here for game updates throughout the late afternoon/evening and check the homepage for any non-game news, such as the news that just came out a little while ago that J.D. Martin will start tomorrow night against the Tigers, not regularly scheduled starter Garrett Mock...
NATIONALS AT YANKEES
George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70 degrees, Wind 4 mph LF to RF
LF Roger Bernadina
SS Cristian Guzman
3B Willie Harris
1B Josh Whitesell
CF Justin Maxwell
2B Adam Kennedy
DH Ian Desmond
C Wil Nieves
RF Willy Taveras
(P Livan Hernandez)
SS Derek Jeter
DH Nick Johnson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
C Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
LF Brett Gardner
(P Javier Vazquez)
7:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a strike from Vazquez to Bernadina.
7:12 p.m. -- Easy 1-2-3 inning for Vazquez, who strikes out Bernadina and Harris around a weak groundout from Guzman. Why do I have the feeling this is going to be a recurring theme tonight given the lopsided matchup?
7:19 p.m. -- Good bottom of the first for Livo. Got Jeter to fly out, old pal Nick Johnson to ground out to first and then struck out Teixeira on a high, 86 mph fastball. Proof you don't have to be able to blow it by a great hitter, just the ability to fool him.
7:21 p.m. -- Speaking of Nick, said a quick hello to him during BP this afternoon. Stood around the Yankee clubhouse for 30 minutes hoping to talk to him more in-depth later, but he never emerged. Looked good, though, and according to some New York writers he's played well this spring. The plan is for him to almost exclusively DH, in part because Teixeira is a Gold Glove first baseman but also in an effort to keep Nick from getting hurt (always a concern).
7:27 p.m. -- This isn't fair. Vazquez is just mowing through the Nats' B lineup. He's faced six batters so far and retired all of them, four by strikeout. Justin Maxwell was one of the K victims, he's now batting .098 (4-for-41) this spring. Gotta think his chance of making the roster has just about gone poof.
7:40 p.m. -- And the Nats have their first baserunner of the night. Willy Taveras (who more and more looks like someone who might make this club) singles to left with two outs in the third, ending Vazquez's streak of eight straight batters retired. Of course, Taveras then was gunned down trying to steal second and he's been barking at umpire Vic Carapazza throughout the commercial break. Still scoreless here in Tampa, with Livo returning to the mound for his third inning of work.
7:44 p.m. -- Mike Morse is now in right field for the Nats. Not sure if Taveras was ejected. Hopefully we'll find out shortly.
7:51 p.m. -- Taveras was indeed ejected.
8:05 p.m. -- The Bronx Bombers have struck first. After Nick Johnson draws a leadoff walk in the fourth and Mark Teixeira strikes out on another 86 mph fastball, A-Rod drills an RBI triple off the right-field fence. Nick comes motoring around third graceful as ever to score the night's first run. Yanks lead, 1-0, after four.
8:22 p.m. -- Can we just go ahead and put Livan Hernandez in the rotation now? Seriously. Five innings of three-hit ball tonight, allowing just one run (on the A-Rod double). He's walked two, struck out three and basically looked perfectly comfortable facing the mightiest lineup in the majors.
8:32 p.m. -- Jason Bergmann coming on to pitch the bottom of the sixth, with the Nats still trailing, 1-0. They've managed three singles off Vazquez so far.
8:46 p.m. -- Unlike his predecessor on the mound, Bergmann can't handle the meat of the Yankee order. Johnson doubles off the right-center field wall. A-Rod sends an RBI single up the middle, then takes second on a poor throw to the plate by Justin Maxwell. Cano sends an opposite-field single to left to score A-Rod, then gets thrown out himself trying to stretch it into a double. Bergmann then walks Posada, allows a single to Granderson before finally striking out Swisher to end the inning. Yankees now lead 3-0 after six.
8:56 p.m. -- Justin Maxwell is absolutely lost at the plate. He just had the worst swing of anyone this spring, striking out on a pitch from Damaso Marte. Now 4-for-43 this spring.
9:33 p.m. -- Sorry, was down in the clubhouse interviewing Livo for much of the last two innings. Game just ended, Yankees win, 3-1. Nats scored their lone run in the seventh, on a single by Cristian Guzman and a double by Alberto Gonzalez. Otherwise, not much doing at the plate tonight for the lads. Check back on the homepage in a little while for a full Livan story.