Leap Year!: Ryan Zimmerman’s start this afternoon was the second of the Spring for the 35-year-old, 15-year veteran, who, before today, had not started in two Grapefruit League games in the month February since 2009. Luckily, the extra day in this leap year provided an extra opportunity.
Zimmerman sent a long fly to the track in left field in his first at bat this afternoon, and the second time up against St. Louis Cardinals’ starter Carlos Martínez, he went down swinging at a 2-2 fastball for the final out of the top of the third inning. That was it for Zim’s day...
Patience: Juan Soto and Kurt Suzuki, today’s 3-4 hitters for the Nationals, took back-to-back walks from Cards’ starter Carlos Martínez in the top of the first, pushing the right-hander’s pitch count up to 25 before he got the final out, striking Yadiel Hernandez out looking with a 1-2 fastball up high that was called strike three.
Carter Kieboom took a five-pitch walk from Martínez in the first at bat of the second, but he was doubled up on a well-struck one-hop liner off Andrew Stevenson’s bat in the next AB.
Kieboom walked again in the top of the seventh, taking a four-pitch free pass from Cards’ right-hander Jake Woodruff in front of Luis Garcia, who hit an 0-1 fastball out to right-center field for a two-run blast that made it a one-run game, 3-2 Cards, before the Nationals tied it up on an RBI groundout by Tres Barrera, 3-3 after seven.
Corbin’s 2020 Debut: Patrick Corbin walked the first batter he faced this Spring, putting Kolten Wong on after missing with four straight pitches in his Grapefruit League debut. Wong got thrown out trying to run on Corbin and Kurt Suzuki, however, and a groundout and fly ball out followed in what ended up a relatively quick, nine-pitch frame.
Paul DeJong led off the bottom of the second with a solo shot to right, taking an 0-1 fastball for a ride that got caught up on the wind and sailed out to put the Cards up 1-0.
A two-out walk (Corbin’s second of the game) extended the second inning, but he stranded the runner in a 15-pitch frame which left him at 24 total after two.
Bullpen Action: Erick Fedde needed 14 pitches to get through a 1-2-3 third after taking over on the mound for Corbin, picking up a K with a 2-2 fastball outside to Tommy Edman for out No. 3.
Fedde came back out for the fourth and picked up two Ks in a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 frame which let him at 28P total.
Dylan Carlson dropped a flare into short left field for a one-out single in Fedde’s third inning of work, and he moved up on a groundout and scored one out later when a hard-hit ground ball to third off of John Nogowski’s bat got through Carter Kieboom’s legs and let the Cards’ second run of the game come in.
The wall was no match for Ravelo! pic.twitter.com/osw1Q2tu28— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) February 29, 2020
Fedde hit Kolten Wong with his 48th pitch of the game, and the Nationals went to the pen at that point, bringing on Ryne Harper with two on and two out, and gave up an RBI hit, 3-0.
Ben Braymer, the only player the Rule 5-eligible player the Nats added to the 40-Man roster this winter, came on in relief in the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in order in an 11-pitch frame.
It was tied up at 3-3 in the seventh when Braymer returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a leadoff double and a one-out walk, putting Dylan Carlson and John Nogowski on in front of Max Schrock, who hit a go-ahead single under first baseman Brandon Snyder’s glove. E:3, 4-3 Cards, and 5-3 on a flare to center that dropped in for an RBI hit, and Schrock scored on a sac fly by Andrew Knizer, 6-3.
Kyle McGowin threw a scoreless bottom of the eighth, and Jake Noll singled in the top of the ninth, but the Nationals came up empty and dropped today’s game.