NATIONALS QUICK WRAP
Score: Astros 10 Nationals 9
Recap: Tanner Roark threw 3 1/3 innings, throwing 62 pitches (37 for strikes). He allowed three runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning. It was McLouth’s first home run of the spring. The Astros scored three runs in the ninth off of Xavier Cedeno.
Need to know: Replay was used twice during the game. Nationals manager Matt Williams unsuccessfully challenged a close play at first base in which catcher Jose Lobaton was called out. Astros manager Bo Porter challenged the third out of the seventh inning, which was overturned.
On deck: Thursday, home vs. Mets, 1:05 p.m.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - We got our first Nationals instant replay challenge here in the top of the sixth inning, as manager Matt Williams came out to ask the umpires to look at a close play at first base in which Jose Lobaton was called out.
Lobaton grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, but the relay to first got there right about the time Lobaton’s foot hit the bag.
Williams briefly glanced behind him in the dugout to get word that he should challenge the call, then went out to talk to the umpires.
He quickly indicated that he wanted to challenge the call, and home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom went over to the far end of the first base side dugout along with the first base umpire, who made the call. One can assume they then put on a headset and communicated with the MLB headquarters back in New York, where the play was reviewed.
After just a 45-second delay, Cederstrom emerged from the dugout and gave a closed fist with his right hand, indicating that the call had been confirmed and Lobaton was out.
With the Nationals leading 9-4 in a meaningless spring training game on March 12, the result of the challenge meant nothing.
What was important was that Williams and his staff got to practice how they would handle such a situation in a game that did matter. Video coordinator Erick Dalton is going to look at the video feeds for the Nationals this season, and he’ll have a phone line to the dugout where he will communicate with bench coach Randy Knorr. Knorr will then alert Williams whether the Nationals should challenge the call.
That all likely didn’t get to happen today, as this case came together pretty quickly. Since it’s the sixth inning (the last that a manager can challenge a call), Williams was likely going to challenge this call anyway.
Still, good to practice it.