Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Home sweet home: Nationals Park is back open for business today.
It's a beautiful day here in the District, actually I'd say much nicer than most days in Viera this spring. Funny how that works. The cherry blossoms behind the left-field fence are just starting to bloom; I'd guess they'll be in full bloom just in time for the Nats to head out on the road Friday. Funny how that works.
They'll be playing with AL rules today, so Cristian Guzman is serving as DH. Too bad they can't just use him like that all season.
Check back for updates and analysis throughout the game, and check the homepage for other news and notes...
RED SOX AT NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m.
TV: MASN, MLB Network
Radio: WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 74 degrees, Wind 12 mph out to LF
CF Nyjer Morgan
DH Cristian Guzman
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Willie Harris
SS Ian Desmond
(P Craig Stammen)
LF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
C Victor Martinez
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
3B Adrian Beltre
RF J.D. Drew
CF Mike Cameron
SS Marco Scutaro
(P Tim Wakefield)
4:07 p.m. -- We are underway. Beautiful weather. Big crowd nearly filling the place up. Lots of Boston fans.
4:14 p.m. -- And just like that, the Red Sox are up 2-0. Dustin Pedroia doubles to right-center, and two batters later, Kevin Youkilis mashes a two-run homer to left. Looked like Stammen left a sinker up and in and Youkilis crushed it.
4:26 p.m. -- J.D. Drew adds to the damage with a solo shot into the second deck down the right-field line, one pitch after crushing a foul ball into the third deck. Another fastball up and in. Either Stammen is completely missing his spots, or Ivan Rodriguez is calling for some ill-advised pitches. Red Sox lead 3-0 heading to the bottom of the second.
4:39 p.m. -- Better stuff from Stammen in the third inning, leading to three groundballs. Clearly, he's most effective when keeping the ball down. The Nats' lineup, meanwhile has done nothing with Wakefield's knuckleball so far. Only guy to reach base is Adam Dunn, who managed a slow dribbler down the third-base line for a shift-avoiding single. Nobody has hit the ball out of the infield through two innings.
4:51 p.m. -- And the winner of the first President's Race is ... Teddy Roosevelt!!!! ... Or not. Screech disqualified poor Teddy for elbowing some cat that had already taken out Abe, Tom and George. So it's OK for the cat to throw elbows but not OK for Teddy? Lame.
5:08 p.m. -- Wakefield is done for the day, and not a moment too soon for the Nats, who managed only three singles off the knuckleballer in four innings. Daisuke Matsuzaka now in for probably three or four innings of his own. Looks like Stammen might be done, too. He bounced back from the early troubles nicely, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. Final line: 5 ip, 3 h, 3 er, 1 bb, 2 k, 2 hr. Red Sox still lead, 3-0.
5:32 p.m. -- And the Nats bullpen comes in and makes things worse. (Where have we seen this before?) Miguel Batista and Sean Burnett combine to allow three runs on three hits and a walk in the sixth. Boston now leads 6-0 and has mostly backups in the game.
6:01 p.m. -- The Nats finally got on the board, pushing a run across against Dice-K in the sixth. If not for a fabulous, diving catch in right field by Josh Reddick on Ryan Zimmerman's smoked liner, there might have been more damage. Instead, only one run scored on the sac fly, so the Nats trail 6-1, now in the eighth. Mostly backups playing on both sides at this point.
6:14 p.m. -- Today's official paid attendance: 37,312. Pretty impressive, even if many of those fans are wearing Red Sox gear. As someone just pointed out in the press box, there may be three-game series this year that don't draw that many combined people. (Think: Rockies in April, Marlins in May, Astros in September.)
6:35 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Wakefield, Matsuzaka and Joe Nelson combine to toss a six-hitter as the Red Sox win, 6-1. Not much to get excited about offensively. Craig Stammen pitched well, aside from those two home-run balls. Brian Bruney, Matt Capps, Jason Bergman and Tyler Clippard all pitched well in relief. The Nats' final record for the spring is 10-20. Throw out the 0-11 start and they finished 10-9. Wipe the slate clean and start over Monday.