Split squad day/night doubleheader; Daniel Murphy is in the house! Fedde shines in the rain!

A ‘split squad’ is the term used during Spring Training when a team has two games that overlap at the same time in two different locations and have to split their squads in order to field two teams to play those two games. Today’s situation is really like a day/night doubleheader. Technically, players could play the day game at 1:05pm at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and then travel the 14 miles to the night game up I-95 in Palm Beach County in Jupiter, Florida against the Marlins for the 7:05pm game….but that won’t happen.

Photo by Kevin Nibley for TalkNats

Dusty will make two separate line-ups, and most of the regulars will play the day game at home in West Palm Beach, and the reserves will play the night game in Jupiter. About all we know at this point is that Jeremy Guthrie will start the home game against the Cardinals and Michael Wacha at 1:05pm at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, and Jacob Turner gets the night game in Jupiter against the Marlins who will pitch Jose Ureña.

What we do not know yet is what Stephen Strasburg is doing as today was supposed to be his day to pitch to keep him in-line on regular rest for Opening Day in Nats Park on April 3rd. Maybe Strasburg will throw on the minor league side today or maybe he will take extra rest and make just one more start in Florida to align him for Opening Day or maybe he will be lined up for a different day to make his 2017 regular season debut. Just add this to the list of unknowns that will be solved in time. Dusty Baker and Mike Rizzo know the plan, but they have not revealed it….yet.

The good news of today has many facets, and we can start today with the roll call that Daniel Murphy and Tanner Roark are both back in the house! The duo returns victorious from the World Baseball Classic as Team USA champions, and you can expect the media to interview both about their experiences. Daniel Murphy will not be in the line-up today. Murph will return tomorrow against the Astros at TBOTPB, and Tanner Roark is expected to pitch in that game and will need to ramp up from the 48 pitches he threw earlier in the week against Team Japan to 60 to 70 in his arm-strength progression.

Associated Press photo

Other good news is that Erick Fedde was dominant yesterday against the New York Mets “A” team and spun a 2-hit shutout over 5 innings with 3 strikeouts and 10 groundball outs. Fedde actually had a no-hitter going until Asdrubal Cabrera and homeplate umpire Angel Hernandez got into it which threw off Fedde’s rhythm and on the next pitch Droobs singled to break up the no-hitter. Fedde then worked out of his only jam of the day to finish on a high note.

Fedde is from Las Vegas, Nevada and went to Las Vegas High School with Bryce Harper who was his battery mate as some may have forgotten that Bryce was a catcher in his amateur career.

“I think my biggest problem last game was not attacking and falling behind. That’s what I did this time,” Fedde said after yesterday’s game. “I told myself no matter what, I’m going to attack the guys, and whatever happens, happens.”

Fedde was the Nats 1st round pick at #18 overall out of UNLV in 2014. Fedde chose to go to college and forego going straight to the minor leagues out of High School when he was picked by the Padres.

In 2014, Fedde was 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts for UNLV when he had excruciating pain in his right elbow. An MRI revealed a torn right UCL right before the draft. That did not scare away Mike Rizzo and the Nats gladly took the hard throwing righty, and entered him into the Tommy John protocol. It also means Fedde will be on the TJ pitch limit that Rizzo has all of his youngsters on, and you can expect Mike Rizzo as always will not disclose that pitch limit. But that won’t stop us from speculating that the innings limit will work off of the 121 innings Fedde threw last year between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. That will put Fedde in between 140-to-160 innings for 2017.

Photo by Kevin Nibley for TalkNats

The two-seam sinker was working as you could see with all the groundballs yesterday. Fedde had a rough start last week which he said he attributed to not being aggressive enough and not being in a good rhythm. Fedde has spent many hours this spring training working with Mike Maddux on that slider and even a curveball, but mostly concentrating on working in a tempo.

“Mostly everything works off of my 2-seam fastball,” Erick Fedde told us about his repertoire.“Mix in a 4  [four-seamer] every once in a while. Slider and change-up (circle change) is the rest of my arsenal. Work in that [front hip 2-seamer] to the lefties.”

As mentioned yesterday, he is a taller version than Jordan Zimmermann at 6’4″, but his mound demeanor and his pitch-to-contact style relying on weak contact is very reminiscent of JZim…and that’s a good thing. Fedde appears to be the Nats 6th starter on the depth chart without any competition for that coveted spot.

Fedde will now move back to minor league camp and unless he is needed for a spot start this could have been the last we see of Fedde for a while with the big league club.

The day game can be heard on the Nationals radio feed with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler. The night time radio feed will be on Marlins radio on the MLB app. Neither game is televised.

Today’s starting line-up for Game #1 is:

  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Corban Joseph 2B
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Anthony Rendon 3B
  5. Jayson Werth LF
  6. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  7. Adam Eaton CF
  8. Matt Wieters C
  9. Michael Taylor DH

Jeremy Guthrie RHP

Here is your lineup for Game #2:

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