Results tagged ‘ St. Louis Cardinals ’

The Red Hot Corner

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The Nationals continued to score runs and play well in a win over the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals yesterday. They scored single runs in each of the first three innings, then added two in the fourth and three in the fifth on the way to an 8-4 victory. While there were contributions from all over the lineup, one player continues to stand out in the early going: Ryan Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is absolutely dialed in right now. After doubling in his first two plate appearances on Saturday, the Nats third baseman hit two more balls hard to the opposite field, the first for a double and the second for his second home run of the spring. After Monday, he led all MLB players in batting average in Spring Training, sitting at a scorching .583 clip (7-for-12) with five extra-base hits.

The Nationals knocked off the defending champs on Monday.

The question is asked every year of whoever starts the spring hot if they are worried that they are hitting their stride too soon. Zimmerman dismissed that notion and said he was just happy to be seeing the ball well. Needless to say, if this is a precursor of things to come in the regular season, it may be a special year for the Washington third baseman.

Corey Brown also played a solid game Monday. After coming up just short on a diving attempt for a shallow fly down the line in left field in the first inning, Brown made up for it in style in the third frame. Yadier Molina led off with a single to bring up Matt Holliday, who stung a ball towards the gap in left-center. Molina was running all the way on the play, but Brown raced over and made a diving catch, then sprung to his feet and gunned Molina down at first base for the double play. Brown also singled home runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

However, he was one of the casualties of the first round of cuts as he was sent to Minor League camp, along with fellow outfielder Xavier Paul, infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir, catcher Sandy Leon and pitchers Austin Bibens-Dirkx and Rafael Martin. The Nationals also optioned pitcher Matt Purke and infielder Anthony Rendon to High-A Potomac and infielder Carlos Rivero to Triple-A Syracuse.

Such is life in the world of Spring Training, where a 54-man camp must be trimmed to 25 players by Opening Day. The good news for those players is that they will all get more action on the field, as Minor League games begin this week. We’ll have more on those as they happen, but here are the Nationals results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)

vs. St. Louis – W, 8-4

vs. Detroit – Tuesday, 6:05pm

Overall Record: 5-3-2

Weekly Review (3/12)

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Here at Curly W Live, we will be conducting a weekly review every Tuesday morning of all the storylines from the week that was. If you’re new to the site or have just been too busy to stay current with all the day-to-day storylines, this is your way to get caught up on everything going on with the team.

The Nationals snagged their first win of Spring Training at the home of the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Digital Domain Park. The ballpark was reminiscent of a little slice of New York, though it still featured its share of local flavor. The team went from there to Lake Buena Vista on Tuesday to match up with the Braves for the first time this Spring, again earning a victory. Mark DeRosa flashed good early signs of progress from the wrist injury that has hampered him the past two years and everyone enjoyed some old school, live musical entertainment at the ballpark.

On Wednesday, Carlos Maldonado hit a two-run, ninth-inning home run to force a 3-3 tie with the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Living legend Peter Gammons was on hand for the baseball anomaly and lent his thoughts on the 2012 Nationals. Single game tickets went on sale to the general public at 10am Thursday, as fans lined up outside the box office in D.C. Meanwhile, the Nationals played their best game of the Spring to date, shutting out the Houston Astros by a count of 8-0. Washington finally saw its unbeaten streak come to an end at four games with a 3-0 shutout at the hands of Miami on Friday. We paid a visit to Minor League camp and got some perspective from coaches and coordinators on a number of young prospects, including pitcher Alex Meyer.

Saturday brought the first split-squad action of the spring, as the Nationals won their home game over the Mets and rallied late for their second tie of the Grapefruit League schedule, against the Tigers in Lakeland. As one of the minor leaguers called up to fill out the roster for the New York game, Michael Taylor experienced the highs and lows of professional baseball in one trip around the bases. The weekend was capped by a rainout, as Gio Gonzalez’s four scoreless innings were wiped from the record books, leading us to make a Train pun that was too easy to pass up.

Record for the week: 4-1-2 (one rainout)

Drops Of Jupiter

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Something strange is going on this spring at Roger Dean Stadium. Home to both the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins, the nearly 7,000-seat ballpark in Jupiter has found itself right in the jet stream of every storm since the beginning of March. In fact, the Cardinals have had rain at all but one of their home games so far this spring. On Saturday, when they were “hosting” the Marlins, they waited out a two-hour delay before finishing.

We weren’t optimistic that we would buck that trend on Sunday morning. After all, if the weather at first pitch had been anything like what we experienced on the drive down, there would certainly have been no baseball played Sunday in Jupiter. A torrential rain storm washed over Interstate 95 just south of Viera, dragging the usual torrid pace of drivers on that stretch to a near halt. Even with the wipers on high, you could only see a couple of dashes ahead on the lane lines.

Some fans waited out the weather delay, but ultimately Sunday's game was cancelled.

We ended up with pretty nice looking skies by first pitch, but our optimism was short-lived. Just as the Nationals began to put a rally together in the top of the fourth, the rain began to fall. And as Gio Gonzalez finished his fourth and final scoreless frame, the skies really opened up, chasing both teams to the dugout. While the rain brought the tarp crew onto the field, the wind nearly blew them back off, sending all the fans in attendance, save a few brave, ponchoed souls, running for cover.

After a delay of better than an hour, with no improvement in the weather, the game was cancelled. However, there was still good news on Sunday, as Gonzalez looked sharp again. He pitched around a pair of errors in the third inning, inducing a double-play ball to help him get out of the frame. He also showed he can field his position, snaring a line shot right back at him by Daniel Descalso, saving a run and ending the second inning. In all, Gio has allowed just three hits in 7.0 scoreless frames so far.

There was also another silver lining to this cloudy and wet day. The lack of a result leaves the Washington’s unbeaten streak intact, and leaves them with this bizarre line through the first 10 games of Spring Training: four wins, three losses, two ties and a rainout. We’re back home against these same Cardinals on Monday, where hopefully we’ll end up with a real result. For now, here’s a recap of the Nationals results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Canceled (rain)

vs. St. Louis – Monday, 1:05pm

Overall Record: 4-3-2

Youth Is Served

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One of the great parts of Spring Training is the excitement of the young players getting their first shot in a big league uniform, facing off against players they were watching on television just a couple years prior. With split-squad games (which started today, the Nationals hosting the Mets and traveling to face the Tigers), those opportunities become more abundant. Teams will take a handful of players from Minor League camp to fill out each roster, giving them an opportunity to get a few innings in. Their youthful exuberance is fun to watch, although sometimes it betrays them.

Enter Michael Taylor, one of the most talked-about young outfield prospects in the Nationals system, who came in as a defensive replacement in center field in the fifth inning of the Nationals 8-2 victory over the Mets in Viera today. He showed some nice patience in his first plate appearance, working a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth. He was then put in motion on a hit-and-run, as Sandy Leon pulled a ball perfectly through the hole vacated by the second baseman, who was covering the bag with the runner going. Taylor motored around second on his way to third, but got a little too far ahead of himself, his weight out over his front feet. Try as he might, he couldn’t stay upright, tumbling to the dirt about 50 feet shy of third base.

A handful of players from the Nationals Minor League camp got a chance to play Saturday.

Mets right fielder Cesar Puello, another minor leaguer added to fill out the roster, saw the opportunity to make a play as he went to collect the ball. In fact, he saw it clearly enough that he took his eye off the ball, which he bobbled, allowing Taylor enough time to collect himself and lope down to third safely, both he and third base coach Bo Porter laughing the whole way.

“The umpire came over and was explaining to me about second base and how you have to step on it and stay on your feet,” said Taylor after the game, as his wide smile denied his attempt at deadpan humor.

Taylor will no doubt hear from his teammates about that play for the rest of camp, but he can take solace in one fact – at least this game wasn’t on television, so it’s unlikely to make him a YouTube sensation. He said that he didn’t even feel that nervous playing on a bigger stage – his body simply didn’t want to cooperate.

“I was actually kind of surprised, I was comfortable and relaxed,” Taylor said. “But for some reason my feet didn’t want to stay underneath me.”

Taylor was rewarded for continuing on to the next base, though, as players are taught to do in those situations. With runners at the corners and one out, Blake Kelso lifted a ball into right-center, where Puello redeemed himself with a nice catch. Leon had advanced almost all the way to second, and Puello fired back to first for the inning-ending double play. But Taylor made a heads-up play and tagged at third, crossing the plate before the final out was made at first base. Since the double play was not of the force out variety, the run counted. Who’s laughing now?

Posted in the clubhouse. Don't forget to set your clocks for tomorrow.

In other news, Ryan Zimmerman had a pair of doubles and two RBI, and Wilson Ramos also drove in a pair on two hits. Brad Lidge looked very sharp, pitching around an error and striking out the side in the sixth. The first two batters never got the bat off their shoulders on strike three, as Lidge locked up each of them with his signature slider.

Tyler Moore had a nice game as well, with two hits and an RBI. The second of his hits was a rocket to dead center field, high up off the 30-foot batters eye. Needless to say, it would have been a home run in any big league ballpark, but Moore had to settle for the RBI double.

Meanwhile, the other half of the split squad overcame a 4-0 deficit to earn a 10-inning, 5-5 tie with the Tigers.

It’s back to Jupiter tomorrow, as Washington takes on St. Louis at 1:05pm. Here are the results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

@ Miami – L, 3-0

vs. New York (NL) – W, 8-2

@ Detroit – T, 5-5

@ St. Louis – Sunday, 1:05pm

Overall Record: 4-3-2

On The Network

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In a great moment from the baseball classic Bull Durham, Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh, the young pitcher who has just reached the big leagues, drops the following line in a television interview:

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose… sometimes, it rains. Think about it.”

Today in Viera, we didn’t have a win or a loss, but we got it all in before the rain. That’s right, we had ourselves a tie, an option that Laloosh never offered, and one which baseball fans are not used to considering.

Nationals Principal Owner Mark Lerner visits with Peter Gammons in Lake Buena Vista on Tuesday.

Here’s how it all went down. The Nationals plated an early run, thanks to an Ian Desmond leadoff double and a Jason Michaels two-out, RBI-single. The Cardinals pushed in front with a run in the fifth and two more in the seventh. The home side trailed 3-1 into the bottom of the ninth, when Koyie Hill dropped a high foul pop off the bat of Tyler Moore, giving the Nationals prospect new life. He took advantage, singling up the middle, and Carlos Maldonado followed by swatting a deep drive to the opposite field over the wall to tie the game at three apiece.

As it turned out, Davey Johnson had told Cardinals manager Mike Matheny around the sixth inning, when the game was tied at 1-1, that he only had enough pitching on hand to go nine innings. Matheny acknowledged that, and the two agreed that the game would go no further, no matter the score. And so, let it go down in the record books that the Nationals and Cardinals played to a 3-3 draw Wednesday, one of the anomolies of Spring Training.

Of course, ties aren’t the only aspect unique to Spring Training. It also provides some great opportunities for fans of the game that they can’t always take advantage of during the regular season. The ability to be up close and personal with those who play and report on the game is truly unparalleled, even at the Minor League level. While fans are generally most captivated by the players themselves, there are a handful of other figures around the game that can generate the same level of excitement. One of those individuals is MLB Network’s Peter Gammons.

We saw Gammons yesterday in Lake Buena Vista, as he took in the 5-2 Nationals victory over the Braves. That was when we discovered he would be traveling to Viera today to interview Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper for MLB Network. We were excited to get his take on the buzz and excitement surrounding the organization this spring. After all, when Peter Gammons talks, you listen. A three-time Sportswriter of the Year recipient and J.G. Taylor Spink Award Winner (given by the BBWAA), there is no greater authority on the modern game. We asked if he might share some of his first impressions of the 2012 Nationals so far in Spring Training, and he was more than happy to do so. Here is a glimpse of what he had to say.

Gammons interviews Stephen Strasburg in Viera on Wednesday.

“We all realize there’s a great deal of talent here,” Gammons said of Nationals camp. “I think the thing that’s really struck me, other than watching batting practice, is the job Mike Rizzo’s done in getting really good players. I hate to say ‘complimentary players’, because it’s an insult – anyone who makes the big leagues is a good player. But to be able to go out and get a Mark DeRosa, to have Brad Lidge, to have Chad Durbin, they’re some of the best people you could ever meet in your life. They’re rocks for the young players to follow.”

Look for much more from Gammons including which Nationals he expects to break out in 2012, which minor leaguer not named Harper to keep an eye on, and which team from recent history he believes this year’s team compares to best, all in the first Inside Pitch of the season, coming in April at Nationals Park.

The Nationals have another home day game tomorrow, taking on the Astros at 1:05pm. Here are their results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – 1:05pm

Overall Record: 2-2-1

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