Today's Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Gio Gonzalez entered this afternoon's game with a (1-2) record in four Grapefruit League starts and a 2.70 ERA, five walks and 10 Ks in 13 1/3 IP so far this spring over which he gave up 11 hits and five runs, four earned, while holding opposing hitters to a .224 BAA. Gonzalez gave up two runs in a 21-pitch first when Yadier Molina sent a soft liner to center with runners on second and third. 2-0. An error by Justin Bloxom at first led to the Cards taking a 3-0 lead after three. Gonzalez ended up going six innings, giving up only the three runs.
Adam Wainwright, who threw eight scoreless vs the Nationals last week, giving up three hits and striking out seven, added five more scoreless vs Washington this afternoon, giving up one hit and 2 HBPs while striking out six before he was done for the afternoon. 13.0 scoreless, 13 Ks for the Cards' starter vs the Nats this spring.
Nats' prospect Caleb Ramsey drove two runs in with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the eighth, but the Nationals left the bases loaded and ended up losing...
Final score: 3-2 Cardinals.
4. Frandsen!! (ed. note - "This was a separate post too, but included here if you missed it."): Though it was widely reported before the announcement, the Nationals sent out a Tweet making their deal with 31-year-old veteran infielder Kevin Frandsen official just before the start of this afternoon's game:
Frandsen was outrighted by the Phillies on Tuesday, but declined to accept the assignment, which meant he forfeited the $900K deal he signed with Philadelphia earlier this winter, avoiding arbitration.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that a source told him Frandsen signed a guaranteed $900,000 major league deal with the Nationals today which, "... includes 300K in performance bonuses and an awards package of 400K."
In two seasons with the Nats' NL East rivals from Philadelphia, Frandsen put up a .280/.333/.389 line with 20 doubles, four triples and seven home runs in 174 games and 488 plate appearances.
In his seven-year career, Frandsen has a .265/.318/.343 line as a pinch hitter and against the Nationals, the right-handed hitting and throwing infielder has a .248/.280/.366 line with seven doubles, a triple and a home run in 34 games and 107 PAs.
The Nationals made room for Frandsen on the 40-Man Roster by placing 31-year-old right-hander Ross Ohlendorf on the 60-Day DL after optioning him to Triple-A Syracuse earlier this spring:
The #Nats have voided their previous option of RHP Ross Ohlendorf and have placed him on the 60-Day DL with a right lumbar strain.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 26, 2014
3. Gio vs the Cards: Gio Gonzalez stabbed a liner back to the mound, went down on bent knees and popped up quickly, reflexively with the ball in his glove in the first at bat of this afternoon's game. Gonzalez gave up the first hit on the very next pitch when Cards' shortstop Jhonny Peralta poked a one-out single over second and into right field. Gonzalez threw an 0-2 fastball by Matt Holliday, pounding the Cardinals' slugger inside with heat. Allen Craig singled through the left side of the infield on Gonzalez's 12th pitch of the inning, and a passed ball with Yadier Molina up moved both runners into scoring position, so they both scored when the Cards' catcher lined to left center for an RBI single and an early 2-0 lead. 21-pitch first for Gonzalez.
Jon Jay lined to center for a one-out single off Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of the second. Cardinals' starter Adam Wainwright bunted Jay over, bringing Matt Carpenter to the plate with another runner in scoring position with two down, but Carpenter lined out to Anthony Rendon at third to end a quick, seven-pitch inning that pushed Gonzalez up to 28 pitches total after two.
FBB's Recommended Reading, Listening:
Jhonny Peralta rolled a 1-2 change out to short on pitch no.32 of the game from Gio Gonzalez. Matt Holliday fell behind 0-2 quickly as Gonzalez once again pounded the slugger with fastballs inside, but the Cards' outfielder went out and got a two-strike curve low in the zone and sent a soft liner to right for a one-out opposite field single. Allen Craig rolled what should have been an inning-ending double play grounder out to second in the next at bat, but Nats' first baseman Justin Bloxom missed the throw over to first after the force. Yadier Molina went the other way with a fastball in the next at bat and drove Craig in from second with a single for a 3-0 Cards' lead. An 0-2 fastball outside got Matt Adams looking to end a 15-pitch inning that pushed Gonzalez up to 43 overall.
Mark Ellis flew out to Nate McLouth in a windy center field in Roger Dean Stadium to start the Cardinals' fourth. Jon Jay grounded out to short on Gio Gonzalez's ninth pitch of the inning and 52nd pitch of the game and Adam Wainwright... singled to the right-center gap to prolong Gonzalez's fourth. Matt Carpenter stepped in for the third time today (0-2) with two down, and went down looking on a check-swing strike three on an 0-2 fastball inside. 59 pitches total for Gonzalez after a 16-pitch fourth.
Jhonny Peralta flew to Jayson Werth in right on the second pitch from Gio Gonzalez in the fifth. Gonzalez and Nats' catcher Jose Lobaton kept throwing fastballs inside to Matt Holliday, who missed 3-1 and 3-2 heaters to go down swinging for out no.2 and the Nats' starter's fourth K. Gonzalez got up 0-2 quickly on Allen Craig and thought he got him swinging with back-to-back pitches in the dirt, but the first base ump said Craig hadn't gone on either and the Cards' right fielder took the same pitch in a 3-2 count for a two-out walk. Yadier Molina got up 3-0 in his two-out at bat, went to a full count but grounded out to short to end a 22-pitch inning that left Gonzalez at 81.
That was it for Gio: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 81 P, 6/3 GO/FO.
2. Harper Argues, Ejected: Cards' second baseman Mark Ellis made a nice sidearm/underhand toss to first on a weak grounder off Bryce Harper's bat in the Nationals' fourth and when Harper strenuously and objected to the call on the field, which wasn't reviewed, 2B Ump Jeff Gosney tossed the Nationals' 21-year-old outfielder.
When play was delayed momentarily as Harper left the field, Nationals' Manager Matt Williams came out for a heated conversation with home plate ump Angel Hernandez, but walked back to the dugout before getting himself ejected along with his left fielder.
Denard Span, watching on television, was shocked:
Just turned on the game........... Smh lol #hegone— Denard Span (@thisisdspan) March 26, 2014
1. Wrapping Up: Ross Detwiler replaced Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of the sixth inning, tossing a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning vs the Cardinals that ended with Jon Jay watching a 2-2 fastball all the way in. Daniel Descalso doubled off Craig Stammen in the first at bat of the seventh, but the Nats' right-hander retired the next three batters he faced.
The Nationals loaded the bases against Cards' right-hander Carlos Martinez in the top of the eighth, got two outs without a run scoring, but gave up a two-out, two-run single to right by Caleb Ramsey. 3-2 Cardinals.
Aaron Barrett, in his first outing after being told he made the Nationals' bullpen, dominated the three batters he faced in a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 inning.
Trevor Rosenthal came on in the top of the ninth, gave up a two-out triple by Stephen Perez, but stranded the tying run at third. Ballgame.
Cards win, 3-2 final.