Game #5 Gio Gonzalez makes his Grapefruit League debut against Miami

It is the Grapefruit League debut today for Gio Gonzalez at the FBOTPB near his hometown which usually brings out a few more fans from Hialeah. The Marlins are putting out a watered down line-up today, and Gio will not have to face J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro. The only readily recognizable name is Northern Virginia native Justin Bour.

This will also mark the first time that Bryce Harper and Don Mattingly will be on the same field since “Donnie Baseball” sent a stern message back to Harper that began after Harper responded to reporters about the changes with the 2018 Marlins.

“I was very shocked that they were going to let go of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton because that [was] one of the best outfields in the game,” Harper said while he did not mention Dee Gordon who was also traded and Ichiro Suzuki who was not re-signed. “You can’t say enough about what Stanton did last year, what Ozuna did last year, and what Yelich has done the last couple years. I thought they were a great team. I thought they just had to add a couple more pitchers and they would’ve been pretty dang good.”

The Marlins under Derek Jeter have slashed payroll to well under $100 million.

“Take care of your business and we’ll take care of ours,” Mattingly told reporters Tuesday. “It’s not really [Harper’s] place to comment on us. He doesn’t really know what goes on over here. He may think he does, but he doesn’t know what’s going on over here, what the discussions are. He doesn’t know our players that we know.”

The Nationals absolutely know the Marlins players. Not only do the Marlins and Nationals oppose each other 19 games a year in the regular season — they will also face each other 3-to-4 times in Spring Training each season as both teams have their Grapefruit League homes in Palm Beach County. On top of that, the Nationals were also rumored to be “in” on trades for Yelich and Realmuto. One thing about Bryce Harper is that he knows opposing players as he is a student of the game.

Of note, Ryan Zimmerman still has not appeared in a Spring Training game, but at least today he took batting practice as he will sit a little longer with general soreness. As expected Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy are not in the line-up.  Trea Turner is the lead-off batter today with Matt Wieters in the 2-hole.

Top prospect Victor Robles is 4-for-8, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs with a walk and a stolen base. Robles is certainly impressing.  We should also get another look today at Wander Suero who has faced 3 batters in the Spring and struck each of them out.

Wander Suero; Photo by Luis Albisu for TalkNats

Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium:  FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, Florida
1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT
Nats Radio: (Marlins radio)

Line-up subject to change (without notice):


  1. Trea Turner SS
  2. Matt Wieters C
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Anthony Rendon 3B
  5. Matt Adams 1B Miguel Montero DH
  6. Howie Kendrick 2B
  7. Brian Goodwin LF
  8. Michael Taylor CF
  9. Miguel Montero DH Chris Dominguez 1B

Gio Gonzalez LHP

Photo by MicheleS for TalkNats

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