The Nationals didn’t do much off of starter Justin Verlander except for Brian Goodwin, but they sure made the Astros bullpen look bad. By the end of the game, it was a Nationals 8-to-1 win while improving their Grapefruit League record to an even 4-4-1 which translates to 4 wins – 4 losses and 1 tie.
Once again the Nationals pitchers were stingy with giving up runs. Strasburg looked great and he was pumping the hardball smacking the mitt at 97-98 mph. The Astros could not put much together while the Nats had a 7-run inning on 5 walks and a bunch of errors.
Brian Goodwin and Kelvin Gutierrez were the offensive stars for the Nats, and Victor Robles turned in the play of the year with a sprint to the gap he made a backhand diving play on a ball behind him on a dive that nobody makes — but him. It immediately gets Nats fans once again pondering, where was Victor Robles in the NLDS? That my friends becomes one of those unsolved mysteries. He has tools that are for real. If you aren’t hitting, what are you doing for me? Robles with the bat legged out a routine grounder that the infielder hurried the throw for a forced error and then that defensive play shows what this kid can do.
The game also highlighted the Kieboom brothers of Carter Kieboom and Spencer Kieboom as well as the debut of Yasel Antuna who hit a no-doubter just foul. Who knew he had so much pop in his bat.
The Nats have split squad games tomorrow against the Tigers and the Mets. Some will get to see the debut of Juan Soto. With this win, the Nationals have now won 3 games in a row which means they are streaking.
Gio Gonzalez starts at home against the Tigers and the road game will have Edwin Jackson starting against the Mets. Soto will debut in the home game and Luis Garcia in the road game. Dave Martinez has done a good job of having his regulars split up for both games. Anthony Rendon will return after three days off to play behind Gio Gonzalez.