All photos (c) C. Nichols 2009.

We traveled across central Florida to follow the Nationals over to Lakeland to take on what's left of the Detroit Tigers. If you've been watching the WBC, the Tigers are missing their leadoff and 3-4-5 hitters (Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen). So we have been treated twice now to the likes of Jeff Larish, Wilken Ramirez and Alexis Gomez.

Nonetheless, the Nats lost again today 5-2. Gary Sheffield hit a mammoth home run in the first inning, and the Replacement Tigers put up a four-spot on Collin Balestar in the fourth inning. Bally sandwiched two good innings with two lousy ones. He gave up three hits in the first, including Sheff's bomb, and was roughed up for six hits and the four earned in the fourth.

Bally tossed four complete, 73 pitches, and gave up five earned on nine hits, one walk and three Ks.

Ryan Wagner threw in the fifth and sixth, and dare I say it, looked good. He was hitting 89-91 on the stadium gun with the fastball, and his slider kept the mostly minor league hitters off balance. Could he be a wild card for the pen? He's been all but discounted, but if the Marchant Stadium gun was credible, then so was Wagner today.

Gary Glover and Steven Shell mopped up. Glover needed 31 pitches to get through the seventh inning, and he did so stranding runners at first and third. The triple he surrendered should have been a single to the less-than-fleet Clete Thomas, but Milledge was playing a deep second base at the time and didn't pick up the ball until it was well past him.

Milledge was the LVP today all around, as he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts at the plate in addition to the blunder in the outfield. The Weapon went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Jose Castillo knocked in the other run. Justin Maxwell, called over for the bus trip after being sent down the other day, went 1-for-2 and scored, and almost homered into the wind in the eighth.

The Tigers' spring home, Joker Marchant Stadium is a nice venue, if a bit quirky. There is very little box seat area, so the 200 level is very close to the field. also, there is a protective net that runs all the way up the first baseline. It's only purpose is to discourage fans from seeking autographs, something that seems to be frowned upon in this otherwise quaint facility.

And the place was full of Michiganders.

Tomorrow we participate in the Alzheimer's Memory Walk sponsored by the team's wives and families inthe morning, then see the Nats host St. Louis. At least their WBC guys are back.


  1. Tyler Radecki // March 21, 2009 at 1:27 PM  

    Looks like you had good seats! We were in 204.