Bot 9, 3:44: The Nats, it appears, are going to lose for the sixth time this spring. They still trail 4-1. One good sign: Drew Storen mowed through the ninth with a strikeout, a flyout and a grounder.
Also, Stephen Strasburg updated his progress for the media. He’s throwing up t0 90 feet now. I'll have a quick update later.
Mid 7, 3:01: Nice inning for Doug Slaten. He struck out Don Kelly, gave up a single and then induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. Good bounce back for Slaten, had a rough outing in his last one.
And Jason Marquis is speaking to the scribes. Might be all from me until after the game.
End 6, 2:53: The Nats went down in order. It’s been mostly a slow day for their bats. Doug Slaten now on the bump.
Mid 6, 2:38: Todd Coffey allowed his first runs of the spring, giving up a double, a single and a homer with two outs. Nyjer Morgan narrowly missed a great catch that would have ended the inning, chasing down a drive that the wind blew away from him to right-center only to have it fall out of his glove. Really hard play; impressive that he even got there. (Then again, MAKING those great catches is why he’s on t he team.) Anyway, Magglio Ordonez wound up with a double, and Brennan Boesch followed with an RBI single.Victor Martinez blasted a wind-aided home run to right. Jayson Werth made a great effort at the wal to rob it. Coffey did strike out two. Tigers up, 4-1.
End 5, 2:31: The Nationals tied it up. Ian Desmond blooped a single to right, scoring Rodriguez to third and sending Morgan to third. 1-1 after five. Jason Marquis is done in favor of Todd Coffey, who sprinted from the bullpen. And they’re playing the Ultimate Warrior music! (It was magnificent.)
Marquis’s line: 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 53 pitches, 38 strikes.
Bot 5, 2:25: Rick Porcello is out of the game, and the Nats have a little something going. Ivan Rodriguez hit a single to right with one out. With two outs and Pudge on second, Morgan smashed a liner up the middle that Porcello stabbed at it, but it ricocehted off his glove and dribbled around the infield. A good, confident swing from Morgan after his two Ks earlier. Enriuqe Gonzalez now in. Two out, runners on the coners.
Mid 5, 2:15: Marquis got back on track with a 1-2-3 inning, which he ended with a strikeout of Cale Iorg.
End 4, 2:12: Quick third for the Nats. Three grounders to short from Zimmerman, Morse (gasp!) and Ramos.
Mid 4, 2:06: Well, the blog thing crashed. Back up running with a manageable level of frustration. Jason Marquis ran into his first trouble in the third, gving up a walk followed by an RBI double by Iorg. He recovered by inducing a weak chopper by Ryhmes , on which Chris Marrero made a nice play. (Marrero has been encouragingly competent this spring at first.) Marquis then struck out Andy Dirks on a sinker in the dirt.
The Nats mustered no offense in third aside from an Ian Desmond single, Nyjer Morgan striking out for the second time. He’s 5 for 31 on the spring.
Ryan Zimmerman ended the fourth with a sick diving catch on a liner to third by Peralta. He then tossed a submarine throw from his knees across the diamond. Marrero made a nice scoop to complete the double play, another example of his improved play at first. Marquis had allowed two singles. It’s still 1-0, Tigers.
End 2, 1:37: Michael Morse led off with a single up the middle, making him 15 for 29 this spring, which works out to a .517 average. Pretty good. The Nats couldn’t do anything else. Wilson Ramos, who offered a reminder that he runs like a catcher, grounded into a 1-6-3 double play. Jerry Hairston walked with two outs, and then went to third on an errant pickoff by Porcello. But Ivan Rodriguez followed by looking at a curve for strike three.
1:27: Jason Marquis continued his efficient, dominant spring in the second. He issued a walk to Victor Martinez, just his second of the spring, but on the very next pitch to Jhonny Peralta Marquis induced a 5-4-3 double play. He has thrown 17 pitches today, 12 strikes. For the spring, he’s used 87 pitches to throw nine scoreless innings. That’s getting it done.
1:20: Nothing doing for the Nats. Nyjer Morgan struck out against Rick Porcello to lead off. Ian Desmond singled to center on a soft liner. Jayson Werth smoked a bullet to left, but right at the left fielder. After the lineout, Ian Desmond stole second. Ryan Zimmerman ended the inning with a broken-bat squib to the right side, handled by Porcello.
1:12: The first inning could not have gone any better for Jason Marquis. He threw seven pitches, all strikes, and struck Wil Rhymes (swinging) and Magglio Ordonez (check-swing). In between, Dirks grounded to second weakly. He’s getting some wicked movement on the sinker.
12:50: First pitch is on the way between the Nationals and Tigers. Last year, you may recall, this Nats and Tigers game in Viera had slightly more interest. (Rick Porcello even pitched that day!)
Just to let you know: If updates stop, it means one of two things. Either 1) I went down to the clubhouse to talk Jason Marquis, the starting pitcher, or 2) our new blogging software crashed and I heaved my laptop out of the press box.