The Washington Nationals are clearly the favorite to win the National League East. In fact, as you have read here often, expectations are even much higher. As they work on managing those expectations, the Nats have hit a rough patch in the Grapefruit League, dropping 4 out of their last 5 and dropping to 6-7 with 2 ties overall for the spring season.
The Nats dropped a 2-1 decision to the Detroit Tigers yesterday. The Nats offense went silent against Detroit pitcghing, managing just 4 hits on the day. Bryce Harper, Chad Tracy, Tyler Moore, and Matthew Skole provided the only singles of the game for the Nats. Skole drove in the only run on the day.
Dan Haren (0-2) took the loss aloowing 5 hits and 2 runs over 4 innings of work. Drew Storen, Yunesky Maya, Ryan Matheus, and Cole Kimball combined for four shutout innings of relief.
WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC
For the World Baseball Classic, both Gio Gonzalez and ARoss Detwiler have departed to join Team USA. Roger Bernadina, playing for Team Netherlands, was hit by a pitch in the wrist. Not what you want to hear as a Nats fan. However, x-rays were negative and Bernadina appears to be fine. Overall, Bernadina has struggled at the plate, batting .111, collecting just 2 hits in 18 plate appearances.
Gio Gonzalez departed Nats camp for Team USA and is schedule to make his first start on Teusday. Meanwhile, the Nats' fifith starter, Ross Detwiler, picked up a svae for Team USA, tossing 4 shutout innings from the bullpen to help lift Team USA to a 6-2 win over Italy on Saturday. In 4 iunnings, Detwiler only permitted 1 hit and 1 walk, while fanning 3 batters to earn the save.
NATS SPRING LEADERS
Here are your Washington Nationals Grapefruit League leaders:
Doubles: Chris Marrero, Anthony Rendon, Carlos Rivera, and Chad Tracy, 3
Triples: Corey Brown, Bryce Harper, 1
Homers: Anthony Rendon, 3
AVG: Ryan Zimmerman, .500 (12 at bats), Bryce Harper, .448 (29 at bats)
Runs: Chris Marrero, 7
RBI: Carlos Rivero, Anthonmy Rendon, 8
Stolen Bases: Will Rhymes, 3
Innings: Dan Haren, 9
Strikeouts: Stephen Strasburg, 13
Wins: Fernando Abad, Gio Gonzalez, 2
Games: Cole Kimball, 6