Nationals Fall to 0-6 With 11-2 Loss to Marlins

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, March 08, 2010 | , , | 0 comments »

The Nats still have yet to realize that elusive first "Curly W" of the spring training season, as they fell to familiar foe Florida Marlins today 11-2, before a paid crowd of 2,216 at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL.

The Marlins aren't even much of a draw in their own state either.

There should be close to three times that many fans for tomorrow's game.  Not that the Detroit Tigers are that interesting, but a certain No. 1 overall draft pick will make his debut in a Washington National uniform.

But I digress.  Today it was Scott Olsen making his first start of the spring, as he tries to regain his touch that once made him a promising prospect.  This was his first opportunity to pitch in a game situation since having surgery on his pitching shoulder last summer.

According to eyewitnesses, his fastball sat in the mid-80's as he labored for two innings against mostly J.V. players from the Marlins.  He gave up seven hits in two innings, including a couple of bloop hits, but also including a three-run home run by Jorge Cantu, one of the few regualrs the Marlins brought north for the game.

Olsen didn't walk a batter, bit did not strike anyone out either.  He induced two grounders and four fly ball outs.

Olsen will have to get his velocity back up to the high 80's to make his slider and change effective again at the big league level.  His development in spring training is important, as the Nats front office is practically depending on him to return to the level he pitched at in his first two seasons with Florida, and not the obviously injured version that surfaced at Nats Park last spring.

Today's list of ineffective pitchers included Collin Balester (2.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 1 K) and Eddie Guardado (1.0 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 1 K, 0 BB).  Balester was a little unlucky, as some of the damage came in his third inning of work, the longest any Nats pitcher has been asked to pitch yet this spring.

Tyler Clippard was good, striking out the side in his inning of work.  Brian Bruney made things interesting in his inning, sriking out two, but walking two as well.  That's vintage Bruney.

The Nats offense consisted of two solo home runs, by Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Willingham, in his first at bat this spring.

Other mildly interesting tidbits:  Nyjer Morgan turned a single into a double on a base hit to left field, and slid headfirst into second, after vowing publicly to change to a feet-first slide to protect the thumb he broke that ended his season in 2009.

Cristian Guzman was 0-for-3 in his first start at SS.

Manager Jim Riggleman brought Ian Desmond into the game late -- in center field.

Willie Harris was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a hit by Elijah Dukes.  That's the third runner the Nats have had thrown out at home inthe last two ball games.
Zimmerman struck out on check swings his other two at bats.

Tomorrow is the big day, the debut of Stephen Strasburg.  The game is on MASN and MLB Network, so for manyit will be their first opportunity to see the phenom pitch in person.  The Tigers are bringing a representitive squad over for the game, and Miguel Cabrera has already told the media he's looking forward to facing Strasburg.

Should be an interesting spring training matchup.