#Nats stay home for Cardinals: Leake and Gio Gonzalez to start

It is difficult to rank the biggest stories in baseball now as the World Baseball Classic is in full swing, and while those games might overshadow the Spring Training schedule, we still have Nationals baseball games to play on the Grapefruit League schedule. The Nationals will play on without six  players in big league camp who are on WBC rosters like Tanner Roark and Daniel Murphy who are on the Team USA roster, Rafael Martin and Oliver Perez are with Team Mexico, Enny Romero is with Team Dominican Republic, and Jhonatan Solano is with Team Colombia.

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats with photo enhancement by ReverendP

SportsFacts.org ran a poll of MLB fans this week, and even with the Nationals inability to ink an elite closer this off-season, Nats fans are the 2nd most optimistic fans in baseball according to the report. The Cubs had the most optimistic fanbase, which should not surprise anyone, and they were only one point in front of the Nationals.

Tell us how optimistic (or not) you are using our poll.

Fan optimism is a good thing, and it helps that the Nats have few question marks. Max Scherzer remains a question mark as he appears to be doubtful for making his start on Opening Day, but we all know to never to count out Scherzer. The updated news on Matt Wieters looks like he will debut Sunday, and Joe Blanton will debut in today’s game against the Cardinals.

The Nats offense has been struggling in the early innings in the last few games as several starters are struggling to get on-base. Exactly a year ago, Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner were both batting .091, Jayson Werth was batting .125, and Michael Taylor was at a Hall-of-Fame pace batting .333. It is not the time to panic at this point in time.

Today’s starters are Mike Leake for the Cardinals and lefty Gio Gonzalez for the Nationals as this 1:05pm game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches should be well attended by fans clad in red clothing.

This game is not televised and the radio will be provided by the Cardinals crew.

Dusty Baker‘s starting line-up is:

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Jayson Werth LF
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Anthony Rendon 3B
  5. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  6. Stephen Drew 2B
  7. Adam Eaton CF
  8. Pedro Severino C
  9. Derek Norris DH

Gio Gonzalez LHP

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