Tuesday, March 01, 2011

From Torrential Downpour To Let's Play Ball In 90 Minutes

At 11:30AM this morning you would have never believed Our Washington Nationals were going to play The New York Mets in their spring home opener at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida. The sky had opened up and dumped down enough rain to put out the brush fires that have raged through Brevard County near Titusville and I-95 over the past week.

What a storm.
Then just like that--from torrential downpour to Let's Play Ball in 90 minutes. The sun came out, the temperature heated up to 70 degrees and Livan Hernandez stepped to the mound and threw the game's first pitch at approximately 1:05PM. A ball one to Jose Reyes. It was like it had never rained.

Clearly though, many fans must have figured this game would be cancelled or didn't wish to sit in possible rain--so the announced crowd of 3,658 seemed decidedly less.  Except for when Washington's Danny Espinosa slammed out a two-run homer down the right field line off New York's Manny Alvarez in the bottom of the 4th, the ballpark was fairly quiet.  A final 5-3 win for Our Washington Nationals that never seemed as close as the final score.
There were some other moments though:
Jose Reyes tested Jayson Werth on a short fly ball to right center field in the top of the first inning. The Mets David Wright blooped a Livan Hernandez pitch just over second base. Nyjer Morgan originally called for the ball. But with the speedy Reyes tagging up at 3rd base, Werth called him off, caught the ball, but missed slightly up the first base line on his throw to Pudge Rodriguez at the plate. Jose Reyes scoring the game's first run.
Michael Morse continued his early hot streak with two more hits. One a little bit of a gift when the Official Scorer ruled that "Mikey Mo's" hard hit ground ball to David Wright's left between 3rd and Short was not an error--even after Wright "Ole Scooped" his glove--Matador Defense.

Pinch hitting for Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper sliced his first hit of the spring season--a single to right off New York's Pedro Beato. But Harper showed some inexperience when he nearly got picked off a bit later by Mets Catcher Josh Tole when Bryce roamed too far off base on an outside pitch to the plate. Harper also got crossed up playing right field when a Lucas Duda baseball hit off the right field wall caromed away from him in the 7th inning. Although Harper did make a nice throw to the plate in the top of the 9th in an attempt to throw out Duda. Bryce just missed with a throw slightly up the 3rd base line--but it was a good toss.  That's just inexperience that's going to go away with more professional games under his belt.
Livan went three full innings giving up that one run scored by Reyes in the 1st. He showed some of the loop-de-loop slop he's known for and set up Josh Thole beautifully in his final frame when he threw nothing but off-speed until he struck New York's catcher out on a fastball right on the outside corner of the plate. Beautiful pitching there.
Ross Detwiler struck out three batters in two innings of work and got the win--thanks to Washington's four run bottom of the 4th while Ross was on the mound. Detwiler pitched with confidence and really looked in control out there on the mound.
Drew Storen struggled getting in his first workout in the 9th frame--giving up two runs on three hits. It was his first game of the spring--many pitchers are just beginning to get their arms in shape for the regular season. There should be nothing to worry about.
Corey Brown suffered a sprained left ankle when he collided with Mets Catcher Raul Chavez in the 7th inning. Trying to score from 3rd on a ground out to second, Corey's hook slide away from the plate left his ankle exposed to Chavez's shinguard. Needing help off the field, team doctors are reporting nothing serious for one of the two young men Washington received in the Josh Willingham trade from Oakland.
Just doesn't look right with "The Mets Must Hate Willie Harris" wearing a Mets uniform.
On the right centerfield wall at Space Coast Stadium is a script "Nationals" Logo. Outside of kids clothing in the team stores, this is the only other use of that new logo we've noticed anywhere else.
And finally, Mets fans know how to go for the autographs during a game. They simply stood down the left field line near the visiting bullpen and just waited for New York's players to do their running on the warning track after exiting the game. Something that fans can't do on Washington's side of the field.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

Smirkman said...

The Nationals script logo is also on the MLB At Bat 11 iphone/ipod app.