Spring Training: Game 5 Game Thread: Washington Nationals vs Baltimore Orioles.

Spring Training Game 4: Nationals 2 Cardinals 9

GAME REPORT:

The reviews are in on DC's Own DC, Daniel Cabrera's first start in a curly-W, and they're not glowing...Here's Cabrera's line:

D. Cabrera - 2.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K's, 10 BF, 4 GO, 1 FO. 

Washington Post writer Chico Harlan starts a post at the Nationals Journal entitled, "The Line on Cabrera", by writing, "Daniel Cabrera was getting the ball over the plate. And given Cabrera's penchant for wildness, that was a good sign. At least until the Cardinals swung at those pitches." Washington Times' writer Mark Zuckerman went with, "Cabrera...actually found too much of the plate," and Cabrera threw, according to Mr. Zuckerman, "...22 of his 34 pitches for strikes."

MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports, however, in an article entitled, "Nats have tough day on mound", that the Nationals' Manager Manny Acta, was pleased with what he saw out of the 6'7'', 27-year-old right-hander, telling Mr. Ladson:

"He was aggressive. He threw strikes," Acta said. "He was able to get out of [jams] with the help of our defense. He actually threw seven out of 10 first-pitch strikes. The knock on him are the walks. He probably had the best control of all the guys we threw out there today. We like what we saw."

The fact that Cabrera faced ten batters, and didn't walk anyone, as Mr. Acta notes, or strike anyone out, and had all ten batters connect, 4 on ground outs, 1 on a fly ball out and 4 for hits, (+1 on an error on a grounder = 10), including three straight hits in the first...ahh, it was the first start, with what is probably the 100th variation of his delivery that Cabrera's tried during his time in the Majors, none of which have yet harnessed his unmistakeable potential...(ed. note - "That's just really a guess, I didn't count the number of iterations Cabrera's delivery's gone through with different pitching coaches over the years...")...(ed. note - "Can I get away with 'iterations' there?)

But, I just can't help thinking back to Baseball Prospectus' Eric Seidman's article** from early February entitled, "Risking Daniel", in which Mr. Seidman noted that, "In the final three months of the ('08) season, Cabrera's velocity and movement fell into oblivion," and with Cabrera, "...throwing close to 80 percent fastballs...hitters don't have to think much," so the hitters, according to Mr. Seidman"...simply stopped swinging at pitches out of the zone, necessitating a higher frequency of pitches inside the strike zone,"...at a decreased velocity, with less movement, someone get a radar gun...? 

Will Daniel Cabrera figure it out? Can Randy St. Claire solve another mystery? 6'7'' doesn't seem so big after Jon Rauch...The quotes from Mr. Harlan and Mr. Zuckerman about Cabrera, when combined with Mr. Seidman's observations, make me uncomfortable, that's all I'm saying...

(ed. note - " ** = You'll need a subscription to read the entire article, but as I say every time I quote Baseball Prospectus, it would be a wise investment, and I benefit in no way from saying so...")

My Notes On the MLB Network's 30 Clubs 30 Days: Expos, Nationals Edition:

• First, I have a question...When did “bleeding in" become a commonly-used phrase, they just said it 3 times in a minute...? As in, MLB anchor Mitch Williams, for example, saying, 'the Nationals are bleeding in young players with the veterans?...

 

• Clean bill of health this season is the key according to the MLB Networks' Hazel Mae...

 

• OF Situation? Acta's gonna use spring to see how healthy Nick Johnson is, Lastings Milledge in center, competition in right...Rotation? Draft picks finally getting up here, everyone knows it's about pitching, they would like to have a 1 or 2 starter...they're working on it..."

 

• Dunn definitely going to make Zimmerman better...(I think Mitch WIlliams said this, it was a voiceover, over a highlight...) 

 

• Took them all of 5 minutes to get to Smiley, Bowden...

 

• Adam Dunn on Lastings giving him #44: ...Lastings is obviously generous guy Q: What attracted you to the Nationals? Dunn: The young talent, people probably don’t, well I know they don’t know them...so there’s no pressure on them..." Where will Dunn play? "I have no idea, I know I won’t be playing third...”

 

• Best outfield?...MLB anchor John Hart says Milledge in center? Can he develop as a center fielder is the question...? Dukes is a gifted player, a lot of talent there...Willingham is a tough hard-nosed baseball player, may not be an everyday player with DC though...

 

• The Rotation...5th spot? Big Buzz is Jordan Zimmerman(n), he is the Nationals' #1 prospect. Legitimate shot at being fifth starter according to Acta.

 

• Harold Reynolds says, " The pitching coach (Randy St.Claire) is the star of this club.”

 

• All seem to agree that Joel Hanrahan has the perfect personality for the closer’s role.  

SUNDAY GAME THREAD...Spring Training Game 5: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals...1:05 pm EST Live From Space Coast...

Washington Nationals' left-hander Scott Olsen makes his debut in a curly-W against the Mid-Atlantic rivals from Baltimore, the Orioles, who throw Rich Hill. The return of Sunday baseball...Who's listening to Spring Training Baseball...?

There's An Air Of Mystery Throughout...

Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's Sunday March 1st article entitled, "Bowden Saga Continues", which notes DC GM Jim Bowden's recognizable absence from Saturday's Spring Training Game against the Cardinals, and hints that the team might be ready to make some decisive move to resolve the situation, though there's only speculation about even a decision coming down, so what it will be remains a mystery? What's disturbing is the fact that Mr. Harlan actually writes, that while waiting for a decision, "Bowden, meantime, is still responsible for at least minor decisions...Less clear, though, is whether Bowden would be authorized to make major trades..."

?'s For the DC Faithful...

Who's listening to the Nationals?

Scott Olsen gets his first two IP out of the way...Will Scott Olsen start strong or struggle? 

Do you think Alberto Gonzalez has a shot at a roster spot?

Who do you expect the Nationals' GM to be on Monday?

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