VIERA FL - FEBRUARY 25: Nyjer Morgan #1 of the Washington Nationals poses for a portrait during Spring Training Photo Day at Space Coast Stadium on February 25 2011 in Viera Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
• Today's Top 5:
5. A leadoff walk by Nyjer Morgan? That's how the game started. Nyjer Morgan going against character, patiently working the count full and taking ball four from New York lefty Chris Capuano. Ian Desmond popped up a bunt attempting to move Morgan into scoring position and then Morgan got thrown out going for second by Mets' catcher Mike Nickeas and all the questions about the top of the Nationals' order were raised again. Morgan was caught stealing 17 times last season!! And picked off seven times! Combine the caught stealings and pickoffs with his low OBP and it renders him relatively useless or more politely ineffective!!! Morgan got on base again when he led off the third, dropping a nice drag bunt between first and the mound and racing down the line to leave the Mets with no play, but Ian Desmond followed with a DP grounder that erased Morgan's effort and another leadoff runner. This having men on for Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman thing is going to be harder than expected...
In the fifth Morgan took a four-pitch walk from Taylor Buchholz, and then stole second and then third on a double steal with Desmond after the Mets' right-hander walked the Nats' shortstop too, but Jerry Hairston's grounder stranded both runners when any other day Zim or Werth would have gotten a shot with two RISP's. The Nats' center fielder and presumptive leadoff man flew out uneventfully for the first out of the seventh, but hustled around first on a line drive to left for his first double of the Spring in the ninth to set the Nats up to take the lead in what was then a 3-3 tie. Alex Cora got a sac bunt down to move the runner up but Alberto Gonzalez, facing Blaine Boyer (watch out for that slider) couldn't make contact on a suicide squeeze that left Morgan helpless three-quarters of the way down the third base line where he was tagged for the second out of the inning.
4. Did You Say 64?: It was the next-era Nats' center fielder (getting ahead of ourselves, I know) who ended up scoring the winning run, however. 20-year-old Eury Perez, who stole 64 bases in 131 games last season at Class-A Hagerstown, singled on a backspin liner to short right, stole second with ease and scored what would end up being the winning run in the top of the 10th when Laynce Nix lined a double into the right center gap that allowed Perez to trot home after a brief moment of confusion as he came around third.
3. "Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-R-S-E!! - souldrummer. Michael Morse, who has a career .313/.375/.518 line against lefties, posted a .295/.374/.625 slash line against left-handed pitchers last year. Morse had a .289/.352/.519 line overall with 15 HR's in 293 plate apperances in 2010, and he earned himself an opportunity to play a bigger role on the Nats' roster this season by crushing HR's like the one he launched to lead off the Nats' second against NY lefty Chris Capuano. Mets' left fielder Nick Evans tracked it for a moment but pulled up at the track and watched it sail out for Morse's 3rd HR of the Spring. 1-0 Nats early. After going 2 for 4 today, Morse is now 8 for 20 with a double and three HR's in 6 games.
2. Dead Eyes: Nats' starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up a one-out double in the first, and the 24-year-old right-hander had a runner reach on an error in the second. No runs scored. In the third the '07 2nd Round pick out of Wisconsin-Stevens Point issued back-to-back one-out walks to Jose Reyes and Willie Harris before striking out David Wright with a 93 mph 0-2 fastball and getting Daniel Murphy looking at a full-count fastball inside for the third out of the inning. With that, the one-time-top pitching prospect in the organization was done. Zimmermann's Line: 3.0 IP, 0 R, one hit, two walks, four K's, 57 pitches, 35 strikes. That's 6.0 scoreless on the Spring for Zimmermann, in which he's give up five hits and three walks while recording five K's.
• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful were watching...