Nationals vs. Astros – Thursday, March 10th

9:59 (End 9th): The classic walkoff error!  Brian Dopirak lines a one-out double to right and Bryce Harper chucks it wildly to no one in particular, scoring pinch runner Jimmy Paredes.  6-5, Astros win.  Good night for now from Kissimmee…more to come.

9:53 (Middle 9th): 1-2-3 go the Nats in the 9th.  Severino back to the hill for the bottom of the 9th…Manzella, Navarro, and Dopirak due up for Houston.  You’ll get first names if they do something important.

9:51 (Top 9th): Plenty of intriguing prospects in the game now for Washington…CF Eury Perez, the stolen base king of the organization, is up to bat with one out.  Danny Espinosa, the only starter still in the game besides Derek Norris, awaits on deck.

9:48 (Bottom 8th): Shuck pops out to Jhonathan Solano, whose initial “h” is still misplaced…we go to the 8th all tied.  Who’s ready for some extra inning spring training baseball? *reverse jinx*

9:45 (Bottom 8th): Rally time for Houston…after 2 quick outs by Severino, Angel Sanchez draws a 4 pitch walk and Drew Locke lines a sharp single to center…2 on, 2 out for J.B. “Aw” Shuck.

9:40 (Bottom 8th): First time I’ve seen Bryce Harper in person and he did not disappoint.  Lofted a single to left field…except he ran the whole way and turned it, somehow, into a double.  But Harper was stranded there when Rick Ankiel struck out for the third time.  5-5 as we go to the bottom of the 8th…Atahualpa Severino in to pitch for Washington.

9:33 (Top 8th): Wholesale changes at this point…Ross Wolf is in to pitch for Houston with a bunch of subs in the game including Koby Clemens…Bryce Harper is due up 3rd in this inning for the Nats.

9:31 (Bottom 7th): Oh hey, Bryce Harper is in!  And he made a nice running catch to end the 7th…we’re all squared away at 5 heading to the 8th.

9:29 (Bottom 7th): Sorry to all those hanging on my every word, I went to take a bunch of pictures.  We are still tied at 5, through the Astros have 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 7th against Cole Kimball.  Stay tuned…

9:15 (Top 7th):  After ripping a ball foul by inches down the left field line, Espinosa straightens out his swing and lines an RBI single to left.  Tied up at 5.

9:12 (Top 7th): And Bernadina shows off the muscles!  He smacks a 2-run triple off the wall in left-center to make it a 5-4 ball game…and he’s standing on 3rd with one out.  Somebody wants to make the big league team…let’s see what Danny Espinosa can do now.

9:11 (Top 7th): He didn’t, but he walked and then took second on a just-off-the-plate wild pitch.  So Roger Bernadina represents the tying run with runners on 2nd and 3rd and a 3-1 count against the lefthander Wright.

9:06 (Top 7th): You can currently hear a dog yapping from somewhere in the vicinity – that’s how quiet it is in the park right now.  Noise just picked up a bit though as Jeff Frazier rapped an RBI double off of new Astros pitcher Wesley Wright to score Chris Marrero.  After a Rick Ankiel groundout to first, Frazier’s on 3rd with one out in a 5-2 game.  Let’s see if Brian Bixler can get him home…

9:01 (Bottom 6th): The Astros have struck out three times in this game.  Hunter Pence – probably the best player in tonight’s game – has all three of them.  We head to the 7th, 5-1 Houston.

8:59 (Bottom 6th): Balester off to a strong start – fielding his position as he throws out Bourgeois on a bunt attempt and inducing a weak popup to shortstop from Barmes.  Also of note, Garrett Mock’s final line: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.  Three subpar outings for him here in spring training so far.

8:57 (Bottom 6th): Nothing particularly important or exciting has happened since we’ve last spoken, though the Nats have made some changes here in the bottom of the 6th.  Collin Balester is in to pitch with Stephen King (no, not THAT one) in to play third base.

8:46 (Bottom 5th): There’s probably a baseball cliche’ somewhere about 2-out errors…Matt Downs just made the Nats pay with a deeeeep double to center field to score a run.  5-1 Stros.

8:44 (Bottom 5th): Looked like 3 ground ball outs in a quick 5th for Mock…until JHJ threw away a grounder off the bat of Jason Michaels.  2 outs, man on second for Matt Downs.

8:38 (Middle 5th): Sparkling defensive inning by the Astros.  Hall made a nice stab of a hard-hit Bixler line drive and then full-out dove to his left to stop a Bernadina grounder.  Clint Barmes ended the inning with a nice catch in the Astros bullpen of a foul pop by Danny Espinosa.  Back to the Garrett Mock era…

8:35 (Top 5th): Brian Bixler just had another nice at-bat despite the end result…he worked the count full before smashing a one-hop liner to Bill Hall at second, and then nearly beat out a poor throw.  In unrelated news, my stomach just realized I ate chicken on a stick.  I immediately regret this decision.

8:32 (Top 5th): Brandon Lyon time here in the 5th.  Remember when he last saved 20 games?  Oh wait, that was last year.  Final line for Wandy: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.  And the score is 4-1 as well.  Only two digits that matter tonight, I suppose.

8:28 (Bottom 4th): Wandy Rodriguez has been solid, if not spectacular tonight…Nats go down 1-2-3 in the top 4th, capped off by a second Ankiel K.
Big play for the Nats in the bottom of the frame though…a strike em out, throw em out DP as Mock K’s Pence and Ramos throws out Barmes.  A weak Carlos Lee chopper to 3rd and a nice barehand pick by Jerry Hairston, Jr. (JHJ) later, we’re on to the 5th.

8:19 (Bottom 3rd): Roger Bernadina!  Perfect throw home from left field nails Jason Michaels at the plate to mercifully end an 8 batter, 5 hit, 3 run inning.  4-1 ‘Stros after three.

8:10 (Bottom 3rd): Garrett Mock’s second pitch gets lined into left by Chris Johnson for a 2-run single.  His 5th is smacked against the LF wall by Jason Michaels for an RBI double.  Yikes.
Mock’s ST line so far, in 2 games and 2 batters: 2.0 IP, 6 H, 10 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 0 K.
Final line for Gorzelanny…2.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K.
Neither is desirable.

8:06 (Bottom 3rd): A 1 out bloop single by Carlos Lee that neither Bernadina nor Ankiel wanted to catch followed by a line drive double to right from Bill Hall…2nd and 3rd, 1 out, again.  Let’s see how Gorz gets out of this one…
…by heading out to the dugout.  The dreaded spring training mid inning pitching change means Garrett Mock gets to show his stuff here in the 3rd.

8:00 (Bottom 3rd): Sorry for my temporary disappearance there, folks…but if you’ve been following @ChiefsRadio on Twitter, you know Jason’s discovered this delicacy called “chicken on a stick,” which is exactly what you think it would be, so naturally I had to try it out.  It’s…well, it’s chicken on a stick.  It works
.  Anyway, Gorz pulled another magic act to escape the 2nd after just an unearned run and the Chiefs went down fairly meekly in the 3rd.  One note though…Wilson Ramos has wheels for a catcher.  He nearly beat out a slow ground ball to 3rd…so close that the crowd actually booed at the out call.

7:50 (Bottom 2nd): Trouble, trouble.  With 1 out, Jason Michaels lined a single to CF, Matt Downs walked, and Carlos Corporan singled to right field…then Jeff Frazier bobbled the ball, putting a run home and men on 2nd and 3rd with one out.  So, no RBI if you’re scoring at home (and if you are, really?).

7:44 (Bottom 2nd): Lead stays at 1-0 after Roger Bernadina bounced out to end the 2nd.  Gorz on for inning number two after surviving a bases loaded jam in the first.  Of note: the Nats game notes aren’t updated enough to say who’s pitching after Gorz tonight.  So stay and be surprised.

7:37 (Top 2nd): Rick Ankiel continues to struggle mightily against lefthanders with a strikeout against Wandy Rodriguez.  If there’s a reason he doesn’t end up on the big league roster, that’s probably it – .801 OPS vs righties last year, .452 vs lefties.  Eek.
But, hey, Brian Bixler!  The guy can rake…slams a 2-2 pitch into right center for an RBI triple and the Nats lead 1-0.  That’ll up his .538 average on the spring.

7:31 (Bottom 1st): This has the feel of one of those games that could go on for a while as Carlos Lee walks…and as I say that, Bill Hall bounces into a 4-6-3 DP on the first pitch.  I believe the term is “tailormade”…thanks, Billy.

7:27 (Bottom 1st): Rough start for Gorz…Jason Bourgeois (who seems like Michael Born lite) led off with a bloop single to right and stole second, then Clint Barmes walked, and now a wild pitch has moved runners to second and third with nobody out for Hunter Pence-Carlos Lee-Bill Hall.  Although the next pitch to Pence got the job done with strike three.

Hello Chiefs fans – Kevin Brown here live from (actually) chilly Kissimmee, Florida, where the Nationals and Astros are doing battle.  Lots of guys to keep an eye on here for Syracuse purposes – here’s your starting lineup…

LF Bernadina
2B Espinosa
3B Hairston, Jr.
C Ramos
DH Norris
1B Marrero
RF Frazier
CF Ankiel
SS Bixler
SP Tom Gorzelanny in his Nats debut…probably the man with the inside track on the 5th spot.  For now.  Chad Gaudin threw 5 sparkling innings in the Nats’ first game of the day against the Mets.
I’ll update this post as I see fit.  For now, we’re underway, and Norris stranded Hairston and Ramos in the first despite a sharp line drive – right into the glove of Carlos Lee.  El Caballo!

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