This seems like the 100th time this Spring that these two teams have played each other. Tonight, the Nationals started Jordan Zimmermann to face Julio Teheran of the Braves. The Nationals lineup was filled with bench players and minor leaguers galore, with the exception of Anthony Rendon/Danny Espinosa (depends on who you ask). Nationals gave the Braves there second Spring win, losing 3-2 on a walk off single. We look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from this game.
Jordan Zimmermann continues the trend of Washington Nationals starting pitchers who look good in Spring Training, sans Ross Detwiler. Zimmermann’s started the game going 1-2-3, including a strikeout of Justin Upton. In the second inning, Zimmermann got Evan Gattis to ground out, which was then followed up by a Chris Johnson single. However, nothing amounted out of that base hit, as Zimmermann was able to strikeout Dan Uggla and get Andrelton Simmons to ground out. Then, Jordan Zimmermann did something that no other Nationals starting pitcher has done this Spring, pitched in the third inning. The third was Zimmermann’s most eventful inning, as he gave up an infield single to Matt Lipka and a walk to Justin Upton. But Zimmermann was able to get out of a jam by striking out Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. Final line on Jordan Zimmermann: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K’s.
Will Rhymes is a very unlikely candidate to make the Nationals out of Spring Training, but today, he looked very good in the starting role. Rhymes, who started today at third, had a very solid day with the bat, going 2 for 3 with 2 singles. In a game with little offense, Rhymes was a highlight.
Anthony Rendon started this Spring on a sour note, going 0 for 7 with 5 strike outs. However, today, Rendon broke his mini-slump with a 2 for 3 performance with 2 singles. Another player snapping their Spring hitless streak was fellow infielder, Danny Espinosa, whose single in the first snapped his 0 for 10 streak.
Aaron Barrett was recently featured in an Washington Post article, where writer Adam Kilgore anointed him as a potential future closer for the Nationals. Barrett, who was almost out of baseball in 2010, has managed to build his way through the Nationals farm system all the way to AA, where he posted a 2.15 ERA and piled up 69 strikeouts in 501 / 3 innings. Today, Barrett made his second appearance of the Spring, retiring the Braves in order in the 6th.
Chris Snyder‘s chances to make the team were shot down when the Nationals acquired Jose Lobaton back on February 13th. But that won’t stop Snyder from trying, as he hit a big home run in the bottom of the ninth to cut the Braves lead in half, and starting the Nationals ninth inning rally.
Tyler Moore has looked sloppy all this Spring. His woes continued today where he had two poor plays, one with the bat and one in the field. In the top of the third inning, Moore came up to bat with runners on first and second an one out, hoping to take brake the 0-0 tie. However, Moore did no such thing, as he rolled over a pitch to a fastball to shortstop Andrelton Simmons to start a 6-4-3 double play, and end the inning. Then, in the bottom of the third, Moore was holding on the runner, Matt Lipka, at first. When Lipka was slowly walking back to the bag, catcher Jose Lobaton made a snap throw to try to catch the snoozing Lipka. Not only did Lobaton catch Lipka off guard, but he also caught Moore of guard, as Moore wasn’t expecting the throw, and let the ball get by him. The error allowed Matt Lipka to get all the way to third, and made Tyler Moore look foolish.
Ross Ohlendorf did not have a good day. Ohlendorf, who was making his spring debut, started off the sixth inning by loaded the bases on singles and by Edward Salcedo and Andrelton Simmons and a walk to Dan Uggla. Then, Ohlendorf gave up the tie with a single to Todd Cunningham. After that single, Ohlendorf started to feel some discomfort in his lower back, leading to Matt Williams and trainer Lee Kuntz to pull the pitcher from the game.
The Nationals take on the Astros tomorrow at 1:00 PM. Doug Fister takes on Brett Oberholtzer at Space Coast Stadium in Viera. You can hear Charlie and Dave call this game on WJFK 1580 AM and WFED 1500. The game can also be heard on the Astros broadcast through Nationals.com or the MLB At Bat app.