Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ross Detwiler faces Josh Johnson tonight at Space Coast Stadium.
The Nationals counter with a lineup you very well could see at Wrigley Field on Thursday ... if Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel aren't ready to play. Morse definitely won't be ready. Ankiel, who was just formally added to the 40-man roster this afternoon, hasn't totally healed from a quad strain, and Davey Johnson said he's "a little concerned" he won't be ready come Opening Day.
Don't look for the Nationals to go pick up any new bodies from outside the organization, though. GM Mike Rizzo said "barring something out of the ordinary, I think you're looking at the 25-man roster from inside this camp." Seemed pretty emphatic when he said it.
You can catch tonight's game on TV, as Bob, F.P. and new sideline reporter Kristina Akra have the call. (Clarification: Though Kristina is here, she won't be making her on-air debut until Tuesday.) And, of course, plenty of updates to come here...
MIAMI MARLINS vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Gametime: 6:05 p.m.
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 14 mph in from CF
STARTING LINEUPS6:07 p.m. -- We are underway as Ross Detwiler fires a fastball to Jose Reyes for strike one.
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
CF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Mark DeRosa
RF Xavier Nady
C Wilson Ramos
P Ross Detwiler
SS Jose Reyes
CF Emilio Bonifacio
3B Hanley Ramirez
RF Giancarlo Stanton
LF Logan Morrison
1B Gaby Sanchez
2B Omar Infante
C John Buck
P Josh Johnson
6:11 p.m. -- Really nice top of the first for Detwiler. He got both Reyes and Hanley Ramirez reaching, leading to a soft fly ball to right and a pop-up to third. He also struck out Emilio Bonifacio, leading to a very clean, very quick inning for the left-hander.
6:21 p.m. -- Who says the leadoff man has to take a pitch. Ian Desmond just defied that logic by destroying Josh Johnson's first offering off a light pole behind the fence in left-center. I've said this a few times in the last 7-10 days, but it bears repeating: Desmond has really looked locked in at the plate. ... And then there's Danny Espinosa, who struck out for the 21st time in 61 at-bats. Folks, this is starting to become a concern. 1-0 Nats after one.
6:29 p.m. -- When Giancarlo (don't call me Mike!) Stanton hammered a pitch from Detwiler well foul down the left-field line, you started to wonder whether Detwiler's next pitch would end up on the berm in left field. Instead, Ross came in with a high fastball and blew it past Stanton. Impressive strikeout there. Still 1-0 Nats in the middle of the second.
6:38 p.m. -- There's a giant, inflatable chicken roaming the concourse here tonight for some reason. That's your set-up line, everyone. Have at it...
6:50 p.m. -- Detwiler finally ran into some trouble in the third, beginning with a leadoff double by Omar Infante and continuing with a base hit up the middle by Josh Johnson. Reyes' single past a diving Desmond gave the Marlins their first run of the night, and they were poised to really break things open when Detwiler walked Ramirez to load the bases for Stanton. But once again, the young lefty got the best of the fearsome cleanup man, getting him to loft a high pop-up down the first-base line. Nice play by Espinosa to track that tricky ball down and end the top of the third with the game now tied 1-1.
6:57 p.m. -- Oy, another Espinosa strikeout on an ugly-looking swing. That's 22 Ks in 62 spring at-bats. Obviously, Josh Johnson is a really good pitcher. But this has become a real problem, folks. Still 1-1 after three.
7:13 p.m. -- Three straight base hits for the Nats off Johnson brings two runs home in the bottom of the fourth. LaRoche, DeRosa and Nady all delivered singles up the middle. Good sign for all three. Nats lead 3-1 after four.
7:25 p.m. -- That should be it for Detwiler, who looked very sharp tonight aside from that third inning. His line: 5 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 bb, 5 k, 69 pitches, 50 strikes. Obviously he'll be opening the year in the bullpen, but we'll see him in the rotation at some point.
8:06 p.m. -- Back up in the clubhouse after talking to Detwiler, who obviously was pleased with his outing. He also dropped a great reference to Miguel Batista, comparing himself to Miss Iowa for the way he wound up starting on a night Stephen Strasburg was supposed to. Full article on Detwiler coming postgame. Meanwhile, Craig Stammen gave up a run in the sixth. It's not 3-2 Nats at the seventh-inning stretch.
8:26 p.m. -- A scoreless inning from Ryan Mattheus, who at the moment appears the frontrunner to win the final spot in the bullpen. It's actually a tough call between Mattheus, Stammen and Chad Durbin. All have pitched well and merit a spot on the team. In this case, Mattheus probably wins out because he's a power arm who can be used in more of a set-up role, which the Nats will need with Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez filling in as closer. Stammen and Durbin are more long men. Still 3-2 Nats in the middle of the eighth.
8:36 p.m. -- Yes, that was indeed Angelberth Montilla grounding out to short in the bottom of the eighth. Number 33 on your scorecard. Angelberth Montilla.
8:46 p.m. -- Another strong inning of relief from Henry Rodriguez. He did surrender a two-out single to Austin Kearns. No, seriously. But he responded by striking out Jose Reyes to end the game. Nats win, 3-2.