Nats Pitchers Rocked Again; Fall 11-8 to Braves

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, March 05, 2010 | , , | 0 comments »

The bats woke up a little bit today, but for the third game in two days, the Washington Nationals pitchers couldn't get the job done, as the Atlanta Braves pounded out 17 hits en route to an 11-8 win in Grapefruit League play.

The Nats are now 0-3 in spring training.

Miguel Batista, battling for a spot in the rotation, started for the Nats.  He managed to get through the first inning unscathed, but gave up two runs in the second.  He walked two and gave up three hits overall.

Craig Stammen took over in the third inning, and was torched for three earned runs on four hits and a walk in an inning and a third.

Jesse English, picked up off waivers from San Francisco, was no better, surrendering three runs (twoearned) on fourhits in two-thirds of an inning.  Ryan Speier and Victor Garate both allowed a run in an inning of work as well.  Doug Slaten and Tyler Clippard escaped damage by pitching scoreless innings.

The Nats pitchers struck out just two on the day.  It's one of the problems of being a pitch-to-contact squad.  The Braves only hit one home run today, but everything else was just falling in.  You'll have days like that.  If you can make batters swing and miss, it keeps balls out of play.  But the Nats have precious few pitchers like that on the squad. 

For now, anyway.

The hitters joined the party today.  Well, some of them did anyway.  The star was Ian Desmond, again.  He went 2-for-3 with a homer and six RBIs.  And as he did yesterday, spend part of the game at short and part in right field.  I'll spare you the diatribe.  Today, anyway.

Mike Morse, fighting to keep a bench spot, went 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs.  Elijah Dukes singled and doubled, and Chris Duncan, Adam Kennedy and Roger Bernadina all added hits.

Dukes and Morse both stole bases, and Desmond was cut down attempting in the third inning.

Kennedy booted a ball in the infield for his first error of the spring, and Willy Taveras threw out a runner trying to stretch a single into a double.

Tomorrow, the Nats host the Mets from historic Space Coast Stadium at 1:05 pm.

Today's "big" news is that John Lannan will indeed be the 2010 Opening Day starter, facing the Philadelphia Phillies and likely their new ace Roy halladay.

This marks the second year in a row Lannan has enjoyed the duties.  He told's Bill Ladson, "As a pitcher, you would like to face the best, and I want to face the Phillies. I want to go against the toughest guys and really compete," Lannan said. "It's going to be exciting."

"I wanted that [Opening Day] game, so I can make up for last year, and I definitely want to do better than last year."