April 2011

Tuesday’s lineup for Nats, Marlins

Nationals
Hairston, 2b
Werth, rf
Zimmerman, 3b
LaRoche, 1b
Morse, lf
Ankiel, cf
Ramos, c
Cora, ss
Marquis, rhp

Marlins
Coghlan, cf
Infante, 2b
Ramirez, ss
Sanchez, 1b
Morrison, lf
Buck, c
Murphy, 3b
Bonifacio, rf
Sanchez, rhp

Nats’ Broderick has debut to forget

Nationals reliever Brian Broderick made his Major League debut during an 11-2 loss to the Braves on Sunday afternoon. It was a debut he would like to forget. He allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning.

He entered the game in the top of the eighth inning with Washington down, 5-1. With the bases loaded, Broderick balked in a run. It didn’t help that his cleat was caught on the mound.

“My cleat got caught [during the end of the delivery],” Broderick said. “I’m not sure what I could do. I was going to either throw way over the catcher’s head or not throw it at all.”

Martin Prado then hit a sacrifice fly. Nate McLouth was the next hitter and he doubled to drive in a run. Chad Gaudin replaced Broderick and didn’t fare any better. He allowed RBI doubles to Jones and McCann. In all, Atlanta scored six runs in the inning.

Broderick acknowledged that he was nervous during his first game in the big leagues.

“Who wouldn’t be during your Opening Day in the big leagues. You go out there pitching in a professional ballpark. Yeah, I was nervous,” Broderick said. “I fell behind guys. I can’t do that. You have to throw strikes.”

Sunday lineups for Nats, Braves

Braves:
Prado – LF
McLouth – CF
Jones – 3B
McCann – C
Uggla – 2B
Heyward – RF
Gonzalez – SS
Freeman – 1B
Hudson – P

Nationals:
Desmond – SS
Werth – RF
Zimmerman – 3B
LaRoche – 1B
Morse – LF
Ankiel – CF
Espinosa – 2B
Rodriguez – C
Zimmermann – P

Defense getting better for Nats

Below average defense was the No. 1. reason the Nationals finished in fifth place from 2008 to 2010.

This year appears to be a different story. After two games, the Nationals have yet to make an error and are making sparking plays.

Take Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Braves, as an example. In the third inning, second baseman Danny Espinosa made a sensational backhanded catch off the bat of Martin Prado for the first out of the inning. At first, it looked like Espinosa hurt his left wrist on the play, but he said he was OK.

In the ninth inning, Chipper Jones hit a liner right at reliever Sean Burnett, who made a sensational grab for the final out of the inning.

“I think the defense is great,” Espinosa said. “We have a lot of athleticism. We understand how important defense is. We work hard every day. It going to show. It has already and it will continue to show.”

Even Braves third baseman Chipper Jones took notice of the Nationals’ improved defense after Saturday’s game.

“We could have very easily had 15 or 16 hits today,” Jones said. “It just seemed like they had somebody making a great play on the other end of a line drive somewhere. There’s nothing you can do. You just tip your cap. They beat us today.”

Saturday’s lineups for Nationals, Braves

Braves
Prado – LF
McLouth – CF
Jones – 3B
McCann – C
Uggla – 2B
Heyward – RF
Gonzalez – SS
Freeman – 1B
Hanson – P

Nationals
Desmond – SS
Werth – RF
Zimmerman – 3B
LaRoche – 1B
Morse – LF
Ankiel – CF
Espinosa – 2B
Ramos – C
Lannan – P

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