Capitol Baseball spent the day in Viera running around, eating at the Barry Svrluga Memorial Panera, and playing Wiffleball in the parking lot (pictures to follow). Then the game finally began. In a chilly night at Space Coast where the temps dropped into the mid-40s, the home team fell after a valiant comeback attempt against an Astros team that started a #95 and #93. The deets are as follows...
- Starting Pitcher Livan Hernandez threw 77 pitches in just 3 innings of work, allowing 7 hits and 3 runs. At times Livan seemed to be having trouble controlling the ball, getting to several 3 ball counts. As has been the case in the past few days, Livan was no exception to the struggles of putting guys away. 3-2 counts would lead to hard hit balls.
- After all was said and done, Houston's batters had notched up 17 hits against the combo of Livan, Wood, Detwiler, and Barthmaier.
- Hat tip to Jesus Flores who got his first hit of the Spring in dramatic fashion, crushing a ball over the wall in Right-Center for a 2-run Homer. Good to seem him starting to find his stroke.
- The phenom had another youthful effort tonight, going 1 for 2 with a first-pitch RBI single and making an impressive catch on the run in the field. Harper ran into some issues when he came in to run for Jayson Werth though, as he committed one of baseball's cardinal sins - making the last out of the inning at 3rd base.
- The Nationals defense was particularly brutal tonight, with Nyjer Morgan being the ring-leader yet again. In one inning Nyjer had a ball drop in front of him that went off of his glove, and then got burned badly on a ball that he just flat out missed; not very impressive. Ian Desmond added his 4th error of the spring as well... Not a good sign for my prediction that he would reduce his error count by 15....
- Lefty Ross Detwiler continued to show why he should be considered for the 5th spot in the rotation. Giving up 6 hits in 4 innings (4 of which were 12 hoppers into the gap/seeing eye singles), Detwiler showed impressive command; striking out 2 and walking none. Detwiler is going to have a great year, no matter where he ends up.
- The #1 Star of the Day once again goes to Michael Morse, who went 2 for 2 with a monster home run to deep Right Center. Morse needs to be our starting LF, he has earned that much this spring. In his 25 ABs, he has 12 hits; 4 of which are home runs. He needs to be playing every day, providing power and size while hitting for a high average.
- Big shout out to Dave and Cheryl Nichols of Nats News Network, Tom from We Love DC, Drew from Nats NQ, Bill Ladson, Phil Wood, Bob Carpenter and Capitol Baseball reader F.P. Santangelo for taking the time to talk baseball with both Joe and I. Thanks Everyone!
Nats are now 8-5 on the Spring, what are you looking forward to in the next 3 weeks til Opening Day? Sound off in the comments.