Watched the game on the replay on mlb.tv (Nationals announcers, who, by the way, are awful – one of em is a former player, who, whoever he is, will NOT shut up, like EVER, because I wanted to get a look at Correa and Singleton. Not sure how Singleton, who is serving a 50 game suspension for drug use, was allowed to play, but whatever.
Also, because this is a National League BASEBALL game without no stinkin DH!!!!!! YESSSSSS!!!
Lucas Harrell threw 4 innings of no hit ball against the Nationals – their real lineup, not minor leaguers. Impressive. AND only 49 pitches. Guess he was pulled because he hasn’t pitched much and had been sitting out with a groin strain. He must have been ordered by Bo Porter not to, for any reason whatsoever, move that bat off his shoulder, because Strasburg threw him 3 FB right down the middle, and although Lucas twitched, he didn’t move. Poor guy.
- No Jose Altuve – Jake Elmore (the guy we picked up on waivers from the Dbax – didn’t hit there, isn’t hitting here) was at second. He CAN field, however. Too bad he can’t play short or third.
- Brett Wallace was at third (shudder) and fortunately, he didn’t get a single ball hit to him
- Carlos Pena was at first
- Marwin Gonzalez at short – this team is gonna figure out WHEN that he can’t play any other position?
- Trevor Crowe in left
- Rick Ankiel in center
- Fernando Martinez in right
Which reminds me – I have heard tell that absolutely positively Chris Carter, lead feet/glove and all, and Rick Ankiel are going to be on the 25 man. Period. At least Ankiel can catch and throw. And run. I’m hearing that the starting OF absolutely WILL be Carter, Maxwell and Fernando Eff Martinez. Sigh
Anyone here wonder why Billy Beane would dump a 30-40 homer a year guy plus a young, supposedly stud starting pitcher for a crappy middle reliever and a utility IF?
Where was I? Oh yeah. Strasburg started for the Nats – went 5 1/3, faced 21 guys, struck out 8. He has 3 very good pitches – his FB, which he located well except for 1 pitch to Ankiel which was right down the middle and got promptly swatted over the LF fence, a deadly slider, and a changeup. Three A+ pitches = ace pitcher.
It’s an all lefty lineup, except for Elmore, because we all know Strasburg can’t get leftys out. Roll eyes. Trevor Crowe is the only guy who is apparently seeing the ball well – gets a solid single and a double to center. Bad baserunning, he can’t decide whether or not to commit for third, dances a little too far off second, and gets picked off. He’s too old to make that kind of stupid mistake.
Wesley Wright and Hector Ambriz pitched the scoreless 5th. Wesley faced only LaRoche, gave up a single. Wesley is not having a good spring.
Sixth inning, stuff happened.
- Singleton in at first for Pena
- Domingo Santana (an actual prospect who gets no pub) in right for Fernando Martinez (who left the game for a sore/pulled something)
- Robbie Grossman in CF for Ankiel
- Correa at short for Marwin
- Marwin at third for Wallace (remember I keep saying what a bad idea it is to have him there)
Correa, the #1 pick in last year’s draft, is not getting very much national media attention. It’s not like he’s Harper or Strasburg or Price. (Year before was pitcher Gerrit Cole, who certainly doesn’t get Strasburg hype – probably because he’s not ready for the majors immediately after getting out of college. 2007, the Rays picked Tim Beckham, who hits like Jake Elmore. Stat geeks don’t ALWAYS get it right neither). I am not counting whatever Houston media idiot compared him to Alex Rodriguez, who was ML ready at age 19 and in the majors for good at age 20, posting a 1.045 OPS. In 1996, yet. Correa might could turn into Tulowitski, which would be beyond awesome, but he ain’t no ARod, who, drugs or no drugs, is a once in a lifetime sort of player. But I digress.
Where was I? Oh yeah…
Josh Fields, the 27 year old Rule V righty is pitching. First time I’ve gotten to see him pitch. He has an interesting over the top 89 MPH fastball which appears to be tough to pick up, and a Wandy type curveball, which he located pretty well. (You know that Wandy pitched 6 innings of 2 hit no walk, no run ball for the DR vs PR yesterday in the WBC thingy. Ah LUUUUVVVV mah Wandy…)
Anyway, Josh is one of those guys who needs the corners because he doesn’t have an overpowering FB. So Snyder walks (yes, Chris Snyder, looks as if he has a decent chance to be the Nat’s backup catcher). Denard Span hits a routine, dead easy popup lazy flyball to center, and Grossman BADLY misplays the ball, runs the wrong way, loses it in the sun, bobbles it, throws it so poorly that Snyder, and you know he runs like a pregnant girl, who wasn’t even to second, and dances about when he reaches second, is easily able to get to third on the lousy throw. No errors on the play, either the missed catch of bad throw, neither. Poor Fields.
Then Werth hits a shallow flyball to right for out #1, and Snyder has no chance of getting home. Span might could have challenged the arm, but Snyder isn’t that dumb. Harper walks. Then, something interesting happens.
Chad Tracy, a lefty pull hitter, hits a ball right to Singleton, playing first, who plays the ball 10 – 15 feet in front of the bag. Now, you have bases loaded, a double play ball, and an incredibly slow runner at third and a very fast runners on first and second. What do you do? Singleton chooses to throw to home, not second (Correa is there to catch the ball) so Snyder is out. Corporan handles the ball well, BUT
- Singleton has not gone back to first to cover – INEXCUSABLE
- Fields has not gone to first to cover – INEXCUSABLE
- Elmore has not gone to first to cover – can’t see where he was because cameras don’t show
so, because of fielding effups, instead of a GIDP, we have bases loaded 2 outs. I had heard Singleton has a lead glove for a first baseman, and I guess so. Even Brett Wallace woulda had that play.
LaRoche pops up the next pitch between third, home and the mound. Everyone rushes near the pitch, Marwin puts out his glove, and drops it. Run scores, bases loaded. Like I keep saying, Marwin has NO business anywhere but short. Corporan actually had the best chance at that ball, and should have called off everyone else. But it was a high popup, not one of those low dribblers/bloopers that no one can get, and it SHOULD have been caught. You shouldn’t make the pitcher try to make plays like that – Brandon Backe woulda gotten that, but he was originally an infielder and he was a super fielding pitcher.
Tie game, blown save for poor Fields, who should have been out of the inning LONG ago. He then gives up a solid single to left for Desmond and another run is in. Espinoza flies out.
Astros behind 2-1.
Craig Stammen, former starter, turned into a reliever after
1 – stinking at starting
2 – hurting himself
pitches 2 shutout innings.
Bottom of the 7th – change pitcher catcher to Edgar Gonzalez and Rene Garcia, who has spent the last 3 years at high A and still can’t hit, even at Lancaster. Also, Marwin is removed from third, fortunanately, and Jose Martinez, who killed the ball at AA last year, and can play second and short, is in.
First hitter hits a grounder to Correa, who handles it nicely, and fires to first – a little off line. He has a rifle for an arm. Snyder pops out to Jose Martinez, who handles this one fine – calls for it early, and CATCHES it. Span gets a bunt single and Werth hits an easy FB to right.
8th – in comes Drew Storen, 8th inning guy when team is ahead. But it’s not his day. Solid single to right from Jose Martinez, then Trevor Crowe, then Carlos Correa hits the first pitch through the 5.5 hole for an RBI single. Singleton hits a fly ball to deep center for out #1 and Crowe goes to third. Robbie Grossman Ks. Domingo Santana up, Correa easily steals second. Runs fast, too, not a Carlos Lee trot down the line when no one is thinking about him – type steal. Rene Garcia hits a single to left and 2 runs score. Pitcher’s spot up, so in comes a pinch hitter, right?
No. This is Spring Training, and you see managers do stuff they wouldn’t nevah do in a regular season game. Gonzalez has obviously been given very strict orders not to take the bat off his shoulder, as he stands there holding the bat loosely.
9th inning – in comes Henry Rodriguez, who the Nats tried out at closer for a short while last year. He’s one of those guys who throws a FB 100 MPH and expects to strike out every guy every time. But he was too wild, and also, major leaguers can hit that kind of stuff. So they got him to control the FB a little better and told him to use breaking stuff too. Jake Elmore reaches when the Nats RF drops the ball, then steals second. But Jose Martinez flies out, Trevor Crowe Ks and Carlos Correa pops out.
And in comes the closer, right? Nope. He’s off at the WBC. Edgar Gonzalez is left in to finish up. How about that?! He gets a K, a pop out to Elmore, solid single to left from Snyder and a groundout to Elmore – nice play. He’s got some range, and a good arm too.
Wonder if they are still determined to keep Tyler Greene as the starting SS and Marwin as the utility IF. Probably. Greene is an ex-Card, even if he is a terrible fielder and doesn’t hit as well as Adam Everett.
Anyway, Correa looks raw and promising. Santana – nothing stands out. Singleton, well, needs to work on fielding and he didn’t hit today. Martinez and Garcia are filler, not prospects, although I sure prefer Martinez as the utility guy – at least glove wise. But he’s gotta hit AAA pitching first.
Bud Norris pitches today – he’s been AWFUL so far, says he’s “working on stuff.” OK. Better be working on dealing with your past troubles of suddenly losing control and having a Bad Inning he can’t seem to pitch himself out of.
Oh yeah – to nobody’s surprise, Cisnero (who had a snowflake’s chance in hell of making the 25 man, no matter HOW he did, which was 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER), Cosart (who they even gave a start to – 7 IP over 4 G – 7 ER), Oberholzer (7 IP over 4 G, 8 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 5 K, 3 ER) and Seaton (2.2 IP, 3 hits, 3 R/0 ER) were cut.