• Today's Top 5:
5. Detwiler Delays Inevitable One More Day: 25-year-old left-handed '07 1st Round pick Ross Detwiler is likely ticketed for Triple-A Syracuse to start the season as the Nationals' Opening Day rotation of Livan Hernandez, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Tom Gorzelanny is all-but set in stone, but he's making one last start this afternoon against the Nats' NL East rivals from Florida. Hip surgery last Spring set Detwiler back and cost him considerable time last season when many were speculating that he'd start the year as part of the rotation. The surgery and recovery limited the lefty to just eight games, five starts and 29.2 IP with Washington in 2010, but Detwiler came to Spring Training this year with a revamped delivery that has him finally looking like a 1st Round talent.
In four games, two of them starts, before this afternoon's outing, Detwiler's allowed 13 hits and six runs, four earned in 12.0 IP in which he's walked three and K'd 10. Against the Marlins this afternoon, Detwiler's strong, getting a double play grounder from Greg Dobbs after a one-out single by Emilio Bonifacio in the first and stranding two in the second after allowing back-to-back one-out singles. Detwiler hits Marlins' outfielder Chris Coghlan with one down in the third, then gives up a two-out double to Greg Dobbs that scores Coghlan from first just ahead of a throw in from Michael Morse in left to Desmond and on to Wilson Ramos at home. The Nats' catcher can't handle it, and the Marlins take the 1-0 lead.
The Nats tie the game at 1-1 in the fourth, and Detwiler returns to the mound to get three groundouts (the third after a two-out single) and finish his Sunday outing with 5.0 IP in which he allows five hits and one earned run while recording two K's. 65 pitches from Detwiler, 44 strikes according to WTOP's Craig Heist (@cheist) on Twitter. After the game, Detwiler told reporters, as recorded by CSN Washington and NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman), that he knows what's in store:
"Detwiler's first step was to 'prove to myself I could compete here and I belong here. Now the next one is to prove it to everyone else.'"
4. Ian "Leadoff Desmond: A half-inning after Detwiler's HBP scores, Ian Desmond hits a one-out triple to center and by a diving Chris Coghlan to bring Jayson Werth up with one down and a runner on third. After fouling off three pitches from Marlins' starter Adalberto Mendez, Werth connects on a fly ball to left that allows Desmond to tag, score and tie it at 1-1.
3. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo with C&D: Nats' GM Mike Rizzo visited with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler during 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Sunday broadcast, and offered the following explanation for this morning's trade which saw the Nationals send outfielder Nyjer Morgan to Milwaukee for Brewers' prospect Cutter Dykstra, who Rizzo said would likely play second in the Nats' system:
Mike Rizzo: "[Brewers' GM Doug Melvin] approached me with a trade several days ago, about three or four days ago. Obviously it makes more sense now that I know that they traded [OF Chris] Dickerson for [RHP Sergio] Mitre. So he was in the market for a left-handed hitting outfielder to either back up the three outfielders that they have, [or] be the fourth outfielder for them and give them a little insurance in case [Carlos] Gomez goes down or one of their outfielders goes down.
"We evaluated what we have here on the big league level with [Rick] Ankiel really stepping up and playing extremely well and Roger Bernadina, who's a longer-term piece for us that can play left, center or right and with several of the other guys that we have in the minor leagues, we feel that we have depth at that position, and we feel that to break the logjam and to get a nice 21-year-old player into the system this was a good time to make a move for Nyjer [Morgan]."
Asked about options in center now, Rizzo said, "Bern[adina] can play center, Laynce Nix can play center, Jerry Hairston can play center, so like I said, we've got options out there."
2. Michael Morse Cannot Be Stopped: A stiff wind. A right-hander on the mound for the Marlins. Michael Morse cannot be stopped. Oppo-boppo into the wind and out of the park, Morse powers his 9th HR of the Spring out to right in the Nats' sixth. Marlins' reliever Brian Sanches surrenders the solo shot that puts the Nats up 2-1 over the Fish. Danny Espinosa hits a one-out single in the sixth, steals second, then one out later third, and scores on a wild pitch by Sanches, 3-1 Nationals, the last run all on Espinosa's aggressive play.
1. Extend Zim: With runners on first and second in the Marlins' seventh, the Nationals went with the Wheel and got what they wanted...Zim charges and fields a bunt by Marlins' shortstop Osvaldo Martinez, but drops it and falls, unable to make a play. Bases loaded against Nats' reliever Brian Broderick. Marlins' prospect Jeff Rodriguez drives one run in with a single to center, but the Marlins hold the tying run at third, not wanting to test Rick Ankiel's arm. Marlins' OFer Chris Coghlan triples to right-center in the next AB, however, driving in three and the Fish take a 5-3 lead over the Nats. Broderick chased. Doug Slaten surrenders a sac fly before he can record the final out of the frame and the Marlins go up 6-3 before the seventh ends.
That's how it ends. The Nats add a run in the ninth but drop a 6-4 decision.