• 0-3...But Desmond Impresses...
• With Ian Desmond's sixth-inning grand slam off Braves' right-hander Takashi Saito, the 24-year-old infielder assured he was all anyone would be talking about after the game, capping off the second-straight 2 for 3 performance to start the first Spring Training in which he's being seriously considered for a spot on the Nationals' Opening Day roster. Starting at short with Adam Kennedy at second, while the Nationals await Cristian Guzman's Spring debut, Desmond stood out offensively and defensively, making a run-saving play on a sharp grounder up the middle in the second on which he threw home to nail ATL outfielder Melky Cabrera at the plate. Desmond's competition for the starting job at short hasn't taken the field yet this Spring, as DC Skipper Jim Riggleman pointed out after the game, but according Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's latest post on his Twitter feed, Mr. Riggleman did say that Desmond, "...was the best player on the field today, really."
• After a quick first inning on the mound this afternoon, Nationals' right-hander Miguel Batista gave up 3 hits, 2 walks and 2 ER in an erratic second inning where he seemed suddenly incapable of throwing strikes. Craig Stammen replaced Batista after the second, giving up a walk, 4 hits and 4 runs, 3 of them earned in 1.1 IP, but a trouble-free outing following offseason elbow surgey is probably all Washington was looking for from Stammen. Jesse English got hit hard, surrendering 4 hits and 3 runs, 2 of them earned, in 0.2 IP, Ryan Speier gave up an RBI double to Braves' backstop David Ross, Doug Slaten walked two, Victor Garate gave up a walk and two hits, one of them a HR by ATL infielder Brooks Conrad...and then the shining light out of the bullpen today, Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless frame to mercifully end the Nationals' third-straight loss to start the Spring Training schedule...Where wins and losses really mean nothing...right?
Final Score: Nationals 8, Braves 11. Nationals now 0-3. Next Up: NY Mets at 1:05 pm EST Saturday. Left-hander, and Opening Day starter (more on that later) John Lannan will get the start for Washington tomorrow, while the Mets will throw Mike Pelfrey.