Game 1 of the Grapefruit League schedule is in the books as the Nats won this one on a booming 3-run Spencer Kieboom home run and a walk-off double by Adrian Sanchez scoring Carter Kieboom. The final score was 7-6. By the way, Max Scherzer is not a fan of the new 20-second clock.
“As players, the [pitch clock] just shouldn’t be in the game,” Scherzer said. “Having a pitch clock, and if you have ball and strike implications — that’s messing with the fabric of the game. There’s no clock in baseball, and there’s no clock in baseball for a reason. So, that’s my thoughts.”
It’s Spring Training and we won’t get too excited for the top performers or too down on those who struggled like Aaron Barrett and Henderson Alvarez. For Barrett, it was a victory just making it back to this point after all of his injuries and surgeries and over 3 years since he toed the rubber on a major league mound. Did we mention Chuck Taylor was 2-for-2 in the game and Spencer Kieboom hit a 3-run home run? Add to that Carter Kieboom hit a gap double off the wall and drew a walk and eventually scored the game winning run.
The pitching from Scherzer, Joe Ross, Sammy Solis and Jimmy Cordero was solid even though the night started off with Max Scherzer serving up a solo home run to the first batter he faced on the evening. Newly acquired catcher Yan Gomes was impressive on defense as he smothered several pitches in the dirt.
“[Max Scherzer] is trying to work on different things,” manager Dave Martinez said. “His big emphasis right now he is developing a curveball and he is trying to get a feel for it. He wants to work on his changeup. But for the most part, it’s just building strength back up to go out there to pitch seven, eight innings throw 90, 95 pitches, 100 pitches. You know how Max can be. He’s very competitive.”
Maybe the most important takeaway was how good Adam Eaton and Howie Kendrick looked in the field. Eaton swiped second base and looked like he gained a step. Kendrick who returned from a ruptured achilles tendon last May looked like he is fully recovered.
On the night, the Nationals scored 7-runs and one came from an unearned run on a throwing error courtesy of the Astros. The other offense came from a Anthony Rendon solo home run and an RBI single from Juan Soto. The Nationals tallied 9 hits in the game along with 3 walks. An added bonus was getting to see teenage prospect Luis Garcia in the game. Garcia looked like he added 30 pounds of muscle.
Four players noticeably missing were Trea Turner, Brian Dozier, Victor Robles, and Ryan Zimmerman. We learned from an in-game interview with Patrick Corbin that he will be starting on Monday with Erick Fedde starting on Sunday.