The Nationals made their spring debut today with less than positive results. The boys down south split into two squads today, as they often will in spring training, sending one group to Jupiter to play the Marlins, and another to Kissimmee to play the Astros.
Jupiter Squad - Nationals 4, Marlins 10
The game started well enough for the Nationals.
J.D. Martin started the game with two perfect innings throwing 14 of his 19 pitches for strikes. Martin struck out one batter and walked none indicating he was well prepared coming into camp.
Following Martin was the stashed man, Collin Balester, who tossed one scoreless inning in the third before allowing a solo homer to Marlins prospect Bryan Petersen in the fourth. Petersen finished the day 2-4 with three runs and two RBI. Balester also had two walks and two strikeouts in his appearance. Honestly the two walks is a little bit more discouraging than the home run. In spring a major goal for pitchers early is to re-learn how to throw strikes. Often you will see them work more on hitting spots than getting outs.
Next up Brian Bruney had a poor Nationals debut, letting up two runs and a walk in his one inning outing. Logan Kensing than tossed a scoreless frame in the sixth before Luis Atilano got shelled for five runs, four earned, in the seventh inning.
Ron Villone came on in the eighth and was only able to record one out before being pulled. The veteran allowed one hit, three walks, and three earned runs.
At the plate the Nationals young shortstop, Ian Desmond, shined. He hit 2-3 with a double and a run. Kevin Mench contributed a homer.
Kissimmee Squad - Nationals 5, Astros 15
Just like in the Jupiter game, the Nationals got a good performance from their starting pitcher. Garret Mock tossed two scoreless frames while allowing three hits and no walks.
Shairon Martis took over in the third and had his wheels fall off in the fourth, allowing six earned runs and six hits. Outings like this wont help his case for making the club in 2010.
Joel Peralta came on to finish out the fourth but let up three earned runs and a homer himself.
Matt Capps made his Nationals debut in the fifth and let up two runs, three hits, and a homer.
It was an ugly pitching performance all around and hopefully for the Nats it was more a matter of getting comfortable than anything else.