Spring Training Day Five: We're Tired

Posted by Dave Nichols | Thursday, March 19, 2009 | , | 0 comments »

All Photos (c) C. Nichols 2009. All rights reserved.

Sorry for not posting yesterday. It was a long day. Another doubleheader. Started in Ft. Lauderdale, made a stop in Jupiter to see the Orioles v. Cards and were able to see Chris Carpenter start for the Cards and Chris Ray take the mound for the O's for an inning. We continued up the road to Viera and Nats played a night game and we got in very late. And we're tired. Maybe our schedule was a little too ambitious. Anyway, we've seen a couple of performances the last two days worth talking about.

March 18, 2009, 7:05pm - Marlins 7 Nats 5

Wednesday night, the Nats wore their white home uniforms, instead of the blue batting jerseys worn in most spring training games, and hosted the Florida Marlins. Scott Olsen pitched four innings and threw 77 pitches. He gave up four earned runs on five hits and two walks, striking out two. He also hit two batters and gave up three steals as well. From the very first hitter, Olsen was barking at the home plate umpire. Olsen threw 12 pitches in the first inning, and went up from there in every inning, tossing 19, 22 and 24 in the next three innings.

With two outs in the fourth, after ten pitches, Marlins utility Robert Andino doubled, driving in the second run. Olsen then walked his opposite number, Josh Johnson, before surrendering a triple to former National, Emilio Bonifacio to clear the bases.

On the hitting side, Nick Johnson struck out swinging three times. He looked late on every good fastball. Count me in the group that thinks the Nats would be best served with a healthy Johnson at first and Dunn in left, but Johnson has gone 1-for-8 since we've been here with four swinging Ks. I hope the cumulative effect of his injuries hasn't diminished his capabilities, but he has to start showing something, with Dunn coming back to camp after the weekend.

Ronnie Belliard and Lastings Milledge were both injured during the game and we are hoping that the injuries are minor.

It was "Ladies Night" at Space Coast on Wednesday night. It had a turn out almost as large as Nats Park and Cheryl enjoyed the festivities. Garrett Mock, Luke Montz and Terrell Young signed autographs and posed for pictures.

March 19, 2009, 1:05pm - Orioles 4 Nats 5

Thursday afternoon, the Nats hosted the Baltimore Orioles. Shairon Martis took the hill, and looked really good getting outs against the Orioles minor leaguers they sent on the two and a half hour bus trip. Martis gave up a two-run homer to Nolan Reimold, but other than that he was very sharp.

He went 1-2-3 in the first, third and fifth, and just a single in the fourth. His overall line: 5 IP, 62 PC, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K. With Shawn Hill removed from the competition and Collin Ballester not showing a whole lot so far this spring, Martis may be pitching himself into a job.

Josh Willingham homered in the eighth inning to lead the Nats in a come-from-behind 5-4 win.

Also today, the team made some cuts, sending LHP Gustavo Chacin, 1B Brad Eldred and INF Pete Orr to minor league camp, and optioned C Luke Montz and OF Roger Bernadina to AAA Syracuse. The Nats spring training roster sits at 41.

Tomorrow we trek across central Florida to Lakeland, to see the Nats take on Detroit.