The Washington Nationals recorded their second tie in the Grapefruit League, evening out a 4-4 tie with the NY Mets yesterday. Stephen Strasburg made his second spring start, tossing 3 innings, allowing 3 hits and 1 run while fanning 6 Mets. Strasburg is working on making his sinker a more effective tool in his pitching arsenal, but gave up two singles to start the game, both on sinkers. He then settled and fanned 6 over three innings. He also knows the sinker is a work in progress.
''I need to get over the idea of throwing it harder will make it better,'' he said. ''I feel like I'm just kind of throwing through the sink and it's kind of flattening out. I want to throw it a little bit slower, let it move a little bit more and I'll get better results.''
''Being so early, I don't feel like I've had enough mound time for it to just click, and not really think about it,'' Strasburg said. ''I'm still trying to feel it out a little bit. The good thing is I felt good when I came out. That's the bottom line.''
Washington's offense pounded 11 hits and 4 runs off Mets pitching. Anthony Rendon continues to swing a mean bat, going 1 for 2 with a double and 2 RBI. The 6th overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft is 5 for 12 (.417) on the spring with 2 doubles, home run, and has driven in 5 runs. Jayson Werth and Matthew Skole drove in the other two Nats runs. CF Denard Span was 1 for 1 with a walk, 2 stolen bases, which allowed Span to score on a ground out by Werth.
On to Nats Links:
Bloguin Partner, The Nats Blog, writes that ESPN ranks the Nationals fourth overall in their future rankings. Apparently, this ranking is how teams will fare over a five year period. Go read it. More on that from Byron Kerr at MASN.
Amanda Comack at the Washington Times projects the Nats 25 man roster.
Many teams have pretty potent camps with tons of positions up for battle. Not the Nats. Nats have a quiet camp and that is a good thing.
C Wilson Ramos will be examined by team doctor on Saturday in hopes that he will be cleared to slide. Ramos is recovering from ACL surgery.
The Nats are keeping up with technology as they plan to roll out the smart card system for ticket holders.
3B Ryan Zimmerman is readying his spring debut for Sunday. He will join the Nats lineup as a designated hitter. He will take the field at third base about a week after Sunday. Zimmerman had off-season shoulder surgery and is working himself back into third base duties.
We've all heard and know about the lack of lefties in the Nats bullpen. With Sean Burnett and Tom Gorzelanny departing via free agency, Zach Duke is the only left hander right now on the Nats roster in the bullpen. However, the Nats are keeping a close eye on veteran Fernando Abad. Davey Johnson has been impressed thus far.
“I was really impressed with the way he threw the other day,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “The way he attacked the hitters [Wednesday], he threw a couple good curveballs. That was great. [Pitching coach Steve McCatty] wanted him to throw another inning. I said, ‘No. I want to see that again the day after tomorrow.’”
The emergence of another southpaw out of spring training would certainly give Johnson more bullpen flexibility.
Ryan Mattheus got multi-inning work yesterday and feels pretty strong.
As Henry Rodriguez hopes to return form off-seasons urgery, he is currently facing some forearm tightness.
Here is a Washington Nationals season preview from SB Nation Cubs site.
New Nats signee Chris Young threw live bullpen yesterday. He is hoping to see game action this weekend. Young, a veteran, was signed to a minor league deal with a spring training invitation.
You attending Opening Day for the Nats this year? If so, Gordon Biersch Brewery is making their debut near Nats park that day as well.
Bryce Harper joins Mike Trout on the cover of Mens Health.