As NatsGM has been quiet in recent weeks due to a bad case of writer’s block, I thought this evening would be the perfect time for our first Live Blog of 2013, as the Nationals play at home in Viera against the New York Mets, televised on MLB Network. Join me Live at 6pm with your comments, questions, jokes, and predictions for the season ahead as we say goodbye to February and get one step closer to Opening Day and the upcoming season.
** A few minutes before 6 o’clock on the east coast and we are LIVE from the NatsGM headquarters! My infamous butterfly chair was a casualty of my lackluster exercise and diet routine this winter, but otherwise everything in the office remains the same as last season. With a cup of coffee in hand and Stephen Strasburg on the mound, lets begin this 1st Live Blog of 2013.
I encourage each of you to leave your questions or comments in the comment’s section at the end of the article, or send them to me @NatsGMdotcom or NationalsGM@Gmail.com.
6:05pm – Excited to watch d’Arnaud this evening, but not exactly the “A” squad sent from Port St. Lucie by the Mets this evening. Let’s see how Strasburg attacks this lineup and if he has better fastball command than he did last Saturday during his 1st start of the spring.
6:09pm – High praise from F.P., comparing Anthony Rendon’s swing with former Seattle Mariner superstar Edgar Martinez… I prefer a right-handed John Olerud but either way, his swing is supermodel-quality beautiful.
6:10pm – So Jordany Valdespin is now officially the Met equivalent of former Philly Raul Ibanez
6:13pm – Love the fact I can hear the local Space Coast beer man through the broadcast microphones yelling “Ice Cold Beer! Beer that is Cold and in Ice!”… I’ll give him props, he does keep his beer extremely cold. He is one of the main things I miss about Viera, FL
6:16pm – Not Strasburg’s best inning, but he did show some solid composure, not to mention a devastating curveball followed by an even more impressive changeup to strike out the Kirk Nieuwenhuis to end the inning. To the bottom of the 1st, Mets lead 1-0.
6:21pm – Terrific leadoff at-bat by Denard Span… Worked a 2-2 count, then fouled a ball off to left field, then next pitch pulled a double down the right field line.
6:25pm – I will never get tired of watching that AB from Jayson Werth in Game 4. If you want to teach kids plate approach and how to hit, tell them to look up that at-bat on YouTube. “Best AB I’ve ever seen” – F.P.
6:29pm – After Span’s double, the Nationals go down rather easily as Suzuki, Werth, and LaRoche go 1-2-3… Onto the Top of 2, Mets lead 1-0.
6:36pm – Strasburg is mixing in more curveballs in the 2nd inning. He’s still struggling with his command, especially with his fastball, but the curveball and changeup look midseason form.
6:38pm – Strasburg strikes out former National Brian Bixler on a lethal changeup… Wow that was filthy! Mets still ahead 1-0, bottom of the 2nd-
6:44pm – The Mets starting pitcher Montero looks like an excellent prospect in his own right. I have seen some comments on Twitter about him being their breakout star of the spring, and I can see why… power fastball, clean motion, excellent frame with projection, and a solid breaking pitch. He may not be quite as eye-popping as Matt Harvey or Zach Wheeler, but the Mets are developing some pitching.
6:47pm – I heart Anthony Rendon… Oh that swing and approach! Man-crush rapidly developing as he ties the game with a double to the right field gap. Nats tie it at 1, to the 3rd inning we go.
6:56pm – Count me as skeptical that Zach Duke will be able to replicate Tom Gorzelanny’s statistics from last season… I am hoping Bray can take his job as the only lefty in the bullpen.
7:00pm – The last Met hitter missed Strasburg’s changeup by a minimum of a foot as he struck out and Kurt Suzuki threw out a runner at third to end the inning. Strasburg still a little rusty but has been impressive with 6 strikeouts in 3 innings. Bottom of 3, Nats and Mets tied at 1.
7:04pm – Another good at-bat from Denard Span to draw a walk to start the 3rd inning… Looking for a late sleeper in fantasy baseball leagues this year, Span could hit .290 with 20-25 steals and score 100+ runs in 2013. Not a bad value late in your drafts.
7:11pm – Two stolen bases for Span and a sharp ground ball RBI for Jayson Werth and the Nationals take the lead 2-1. Span brings some speed and “play-making” ability the Nats have lacked the past few years and should be another dimension for the offense this year.
7:19pm – Zach Duke relieved Strasburg to start the 4th inning and looks impressive, forcing some swings and misses and flashed a good changeup and curveball and was locating his fastball. The lefties in camp have started fast so far in the competition for spots in the bullpen.
7:22pm – And that quickly Duke gives up a Viera wind-aided ground rule double and the game is quickly tied at 2. Couple tough breaks for Zach as he threw the ball pretty well in the 4th.
7:31pm – Another good at-bat by Rendon to drive in Ian Desmond and get the Nationals back on top 3-2. Love his approach at the plate and that he has a plan for each AB.
7:34pm – Chad Tracy hits a screaming line drive at the right fielder to end the 4th inning. Nats 3-2 over the Mets, onto the 5th inning.
7:37pm – I love Strasburg but he is a tough interview… Great kid but definitely on the quiet side.
7:41pm – I’ve been a critic of his this winter, but Zach Duke has looked solid this evening, locating his fastball and getting ahead of hitters, then getting to chase out of the zone. Strong outing for Duke this evening.
7:47pm – I know it only counts as a groundout to third base, but Chris Snyder has been making some hard contact thus far in Viera. Not sure there is a place for him in DC, but he is a MLB caliber catcher and he’ll latch on somewhere. Off to the 6th inning, still 3-2 Nats.
7:51pm – Now on to pitch the 6th inning is Yunesky Maya, who can only be considered a disappointment in his career with the Nats so far. I can remember being so excited when it was announced the team signed him, as I thought it showed that the Nationals would spend generously overseas to acquire talent.
7:58pm – A hanging what looked like a curveball to Brian Bixler is hit for a single to left-center field and the Mets tie the game at 3.
7:59pm – No internet snark, but I wonder if the Nationals would DFA Maya at some point this season, especially if there is a roster crunch. Tough to admit their mistake and let him walk but not sure he can help them at the big league level this year.
8:05pm – Another solid hit for Chris Marrero, this time a double down the right field line as he took a high fastball the other way. He faces a difficult roster crunch and is limited defensively to first base, but nice to see Chris swinging the bat well. Have always liked him since watching him in Hagerstown and up the organizational ladder.
8:12pm – Good left-handed at-bat from Espinosa in the bottom of the 6th, to work a walk after getting behind 1-2. If he can improve some from the left side this season, Danny could have a monster year for the Nationals.
8:18pm – Good eye from Matt Skole to take a 4-pitch walk from the struggling Mets reliever Ramirez. Tough for a young hitter with the bases loaded to stay relaxed and swing at strikes. Will be interesting to see how Skole produces this season at Double-A, big year in his development path.
8:29pm – Pretty obvious Maya does not have enough fastball to get hitters out consistently. He has good offspeed stuff and can locate the fastball most of the time, but when the hitter knows he is throwing gas, the batter squares it up far too often.
8:31pm – Wild pitch or passed ball by Maya and the Mets tie the game at 4. Now to the bottom of the 7th-
8:39pm – Zach Walters sure looks the part of a big leaguer, but he has struggled in spring training so far. He could help the team this summer if there is an injury in the middle infield, but he needs to show more contact with his bat before reaching the majors.
8:43pm – Nice dig F.P. with the Jeffrey Maier reference… Always nice to make Orioles fans cringe, good work!
8:46pm – Nats miss a golden opportunity to blow the game open as they had the bases loaded and one out and hit two straight fly balls to end the inning. After 7 innings, tie game at 4.
8:49pm – Lefty Patrick McCoy enters the game in the 8th inning as he tries to make a name for himself in the left-handed pitcher competition in the bullpen. He had solid numbers last season in Harrisburg and should be a stalwart in the Triple-A bullpen this season.
8:52pm – A quick 1-2-3 inning for McCoy, as he induces 3 flyouts and the side is retired. He was impressive and is a name to file away as a lefty with a good arm.
8:58pm – The Mets made a mid-inning pitching change… Apparently they do not have dinner reservations this evening.
9:04pm – Virginia Lottery, I can promise you I will not look up the dopey GoToGuy on Facebook, especially after that commercial.
9:09pm – Nice splitter from Ryan Mattheus to strike out Den Dekker… I haven’t seen him throw much of that split-finger before and I want to see him throw it more, it has some late diving action especially to lefties. Solid 1-2-3 inning for Mattheus, still 4-4 bottom of the 9th.
9:16pm – I know Carlos Rivero is unlikely to make the roster out of spring barring an injury, but this kid is a big league quality player and is not going to make it through waivers next month. Here’s hoping the Nats can trade him rather than lose him outright if it comes down to it. Rivero has some real thump in his bat for an infielder.
9:20pm – I jinxed him, Rivero strikes out with men on 1st and 2nd to end the 9th inning. Time for some free baseball, off to extra innings tied at 4.
9:25pm – Impressive and near dominating effort from Ryan Mattheus to go 6 up and 6 down against the Mets. Mattheus had some nasty movement going on his sinker and flashed a good slider and splitter as well. Nice work. Off to the bottom of the 10th still tied 4-4.
9:34pm – Chris Snyder strikes out to end the inning and what looks like the game in a 4-4 tie through 10 innings. Definitely some positives to take from the game, the positive play of Anthony Rendon, Zach Duke, and Ryan Mattheus, and a good outing from Stephen Strasburg.
Thank you for joining me tonight for this Live Blog. I encourage you to Follow me on Twitter @NatsGMdotcom and Like us on Facebook search NatsGM. I will be back tomorrow with a new article – thanks again for reading and please spread the word!