The rivalry between fellow NL East Division rivals, Washington and Philadelphia, continues to grow and again took root in a simple Grapefurit League game yesterday. Stephen Strasburg hit the Phils' Chase Utley with a pitch in yesterday's spring game. Bottom of an inning later, Phil starter Roy Halladay threw behind Nats OF/1B Tyler Moore. Halladay acknowledged after the game that the ptich slipped, but did say protection of his guys is not out of the real. The heated exchange between the division rivals dates back to last season when Phils' pitcher Cole Hamels hit Nats OF Bryce Harper. Hamels was suspended five games after admitting the pitch at Harper was intentional. You can chalk it down to sore losing. Phillies are used to being mandhandled the way the Nats mandhandled the divison last season.
Strasburg did take the loss, allowing 5 hits and 2 runs over 3.2 innings. He also fanned 6 Phillies. Fernando Abad and Cole Kimball also allowed 2 runs out of the bullpen. Erik Davis struck out the side in the final inning for the Nats.
Offensively, Carlos Rivera was 2 for 2 with a run drive in. Micah Owings, a pitcher attempting to land a roster spot as a position player, also drove in a run. What would be a spring game recap without the mention of Anthony Rendon's bat. He did it again yesterday. Rendon went 1 for 3 and smacked his team leading third home run. Overall, Rendon is now batting .400 as he is 8 for 20 fromt he plate. Of the 8 hits, 6 hits are for extra bases, including 3 doubles and 3 home runs. Although Rendon will not crack the 25 man roster, because the Nats want him putting in a full season at the minor league level, he likely is playing himself onto AAA Syracuse, rather than AA Harrisburg.
On Strasburg, Wash Times notes that four of the six strikeout ptiches came on Strasburg's change up.
Game Recaps: Yahoo, Wash Times, Wash Post, Express Times, More from the Times on Halladay throwing at Moore, Federal Baseball, Nationals Prospects, Nats Official Site, CSN Washington, The Nats Blog, More on that pitch from Halladay, More notes from Dan Kolko, MASN
Beyond the Scoreboard wonders if the Nats can eclipse 105 wins. The article is a spin off fr4om ESPN's David Schoenfield article ont he Nats exceeeding 2012.
It can be done. As I said, the toughest road will be all the games against the Braves and Phillies. But even that can be overcome. The 2004 Cardinals went 8-10 against the Astros and 9-8 against the Brewers. The '98 Braves went 3-6 against the Cubs, 4-5 against the Astros and 1-3 against the Yankees. The '86 Mets went 8-10 against the Phillies.
Anyway, it should be a fun ride. That's how good I think the Nationals can be: We could be seeing an all-time great team.
Nice article from Chuck Culpepper on the character and enthusiasm in the Nats' clubhouse.
Maybe there's a coolheaded way to say this: The fans of the 2013 Washington Nationals are uncommonly lucky. Not only do they support a clear contender. Not only do they get to bask in newness with only one gaudy season in stash. Not only do they witness the blooming of thrilling young players. Not only do they have a pitching staff that figures to go easy on their nerve endings. Not only do they get one of those do-it-the-right-way organizations with a pretty emphatic no-jerks policy.
No, they also get one of the last kernels we'll always be able to pluck from sports no matter how cynical things get. They get to study healthy collaboration, and except for a few scattered malcontents here and there, we all love some healthy collaboration.
Great feel for a Nats fan indeed. The strong attrraction of this franchise right now is not just the winning, the explosing youth talent, but the clubhouse dynamics. This team is fun. Fun to watch. Fun to be a fan of. That dynamnic may nbe the key ingredient for a big run by these Nats.
The Washington Post caught up with former Nats' pitcher and current Phil John Lannan.
Before Adam LaRoche got the news that Eric Hosmer would replace Mark Teixeira on Team USA in the WBC, he was undecided what he would do if he got the call to take Teixeira's place. The Yankees first baseman will miss 8 to 10 weeks with a broken forearm.
MASN looks at the Nats past trades with the Minnesota Twins as ones that have changed the Nationals.