It has been 116 days since we last saw our Washington Nationals playing in a baseball game. While these Spring Training games do not count for much, there is still some fun in it all. As expected, Max Scherzer will start the game on a strict pitch limit of approximately 30-pitches. Top prospect Carter Kieboom is starting at third base. There is a familiar outfield of Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Michael Taylor, and if there is any significance with that, you will notice that Robles is manning centerfield and Taylor is in rightfield. Last year, Robles was shifted to righftfield when Taylor was playing in the first half of the season. That was a move in which manager Dave Martinez was criticized for, and as a good manager he adjusted as Robles proved to be one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball in many metrics.
Speaking of adjusting, earlier this morning, Laura Peebles wrote in her Day Two article that there was a policy at the FITTEAM complex with the ushers that fans could be thrown out after a warning for yelling “CHEATER” and several people reached out to the Nationals for comment to which they said is not accurate. I stand by Laura’s report as told to her by an usher, but wisely the Nationals are reporting that nobody will be thrown out for yelling that word. Note that FITTEAM rules does prohibit taunting of players which has been deemed subjective in the past.
The Astros unfortunately are not playing any of their projected starters today, and expect the Nats starters to only be in the game for a few innings. This game will be broadcast on MASN beginning at 6pm with Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo in the booth.
As we all know, former Nats manager Dusty Baker will be in the other dugout as he manages the Astros now. Isn’t that special. At his Astros press conference he said he was rooting for the Astros in the 2019 World Series. Like any good politician he flipflopped to his new questioner, Mark Zuckerman of MASN telling him the new answer. Zuckerman wrote on MASN:
During his Jan. 30 introductory press conference in Houston, Baker claimed he wanted the Astros to win the 2019 World Series: “Don’t tell the Nationals, but I was rooting for this team to beat the Nationals.”
Reminded of that statement Thursday, Baker turned up his eyebrow and smirked: “What am I supposed to say?”
Well Dusty, say the truth or option three was saying nothing. You have been managing long enough to know how to talk around a question.
There were some tweaks to the starting lineup and here is what it looks like now as Welington Castillo was scratched with shoulder soreness:
- Victor Robles CF
- Michael Taylor RF.
- Juan Soto LF
- Eric Thames 1B
- Yan Gomes C
- Andrew Stevenson DH
- Carter Kieboom 3B
- Wilmer Difo 2B
- Adrian Sanchez SS
Max Scherzer RHP