March 24, 2012; Sarasota, FL, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Edwin Jackson throws during the bottom of the first inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
• Two-Out Runs: A two-out walk by hairy-chested bench bat Chad Tracy brought Wilson Ramos up with runners on first and third in the opening frame against the Baltimore Orioles and O's right-hander Jake Arrieta. The Washington Nationals' 24-year-old catcher came through/got lucky with a broken bat single to right that brought Danny Espinosa around after the Nats' second baseman had doubled with one down and taken third on a Rick Ankiel groundout. 1-0 Nationals after a half. Nats' starter Edwin Jackson retired the first two batters he faced in the O's first before Wilson Betemit's two-out single to right field. Betemit took second on an Adam Jones grounder to third that Steve Lombardozzi dove on before throwing late to second looking for the force. A two-out bloop single to center by O's catcher Matt Wieters brought Betemit home, 1-1 game, but Adam Jones tried to test Rick Ankiel on the play and the Nats' strong-armed outfielder threw him out at home. Not even close. Don't run on Ankiel!!
• Oppo-Boppo: After a quick 1-2-3 second by E-Jax, the Nats' right-hander got in two-out trouble again in the third. Robert Andino led off with a single, took second on an errant throw to first on a pick attempt by Jackson, and scored on a two-out single to right by Wilson Betemit. 2-1 Orioles. Adam Jones follows with a two-out single to left and Matt Wieters goes all the way the other way with a [slightly] wind-aided towering two-out, three-run HR to left field. 3-run blast and a 5-1 O's lead off Edwin Jackson. It only gets worse in the 4th.
• Things Fall Apart: A one-out throwing error by Steve Lombardozzi on a grounder to third puts a runner on with one down. A single by Andino, an RBI hit by Ryan Flaherty, a walk to J.J. Hardy, a bases-loaded walk to Wilson Betemit and a two-run infield single by Adam Jones follow and Steve Lombardozzi tries to make a play and throws this one away too, and it's 9-1 before Matt Wieters steps up and singles to bring Jones in too. 10-1 O's when Edwin Jackson's lifted. Jackson's Line: 3.2 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's. Talking to reporters after the game, the Nats' right-hander told reporters (including NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman @MarkZuckerman) that he isn't too concerned. "'I've never had good spring trainings,'" Jackson said, "'So definitely games like this don't affect my confidence.'"
While Jackson's confidence may not be shaken, he has been hit hard in his last three starts, in which he's given up 23 hits, 18 R, 13 ER and seven walks.
• Positives: Dontrelle Willis walked the bases loaded when he came on to get some work in the sixth. A groundout and a throwing error brought runs in, but the Nationals couldn't really take advantage of the veteran left-hander's struggles. Ryan Mattheus and Tom Gorzelanny each gave up a run, Mattheus in 1.1 IP, Gorzelanny in 2.0 innings. Henry "Lightning" Rodriguez gave up a hit but dominated the O's and hit 100mph on the radar gun in a scoreless inning of work in the eighth. With Drew Storen questionable for the start of the season it will be interesting to see if Davey Johnson turns to Rodriguez or veteran reliever Brad Lidge if Storen isn't available from Day One. Nats' prospect Michael Taylor made a nice diving attempt in center, but came up empty... that's all I've got. 12-3 Orioles win.