Spring Training Game #23 Josiah Gray starts

While technically not a home game for the Washington Nationals, this really is as the Nats share the CACTI Park of the Palm Beaches with the Houston Astros and that makes these head-to-head games so convenient. The Nats will be providing the radio coverage tonight, and the Astros will have the TV coverage. This is also a great pitching matchup between Josiah Gray and Cristian Javier.

With Gray named the Opening Day starter for the Nationals, it lines up to give him the start tonight, and a final tune-up on Saturday on normal rest, then the start in Cincinnati on regular rest to start the season that counts. While we know Gray will start the first game, and Patrick Corbin the second game on Saturday, April 3, manager Dave Martinez has left us hanging on the rest of the rotation. We expect Jake Irvin to start the game after Corbin, and MacKenzie Gore to get the home opener on April 1 at Nats Park. Maybe Gore was left in for a pitch count of 96 for some strategic reason as that is an extremely high pitch count in modern baseball for a Spring Training game. We would expect Corbin to pitch Friday, Gray on Saturday, and Gore on extra rest on Sunday for the Grapefruit League 2024 finale. That’s my thinking, but who knows.

The lineup has Victor Robles back tonight, and most of the projected Opening Day starters are in there tonight except for Nick Senzel and Luis Garcia, Jr. In their places are Trey Lipscomb at third base, and Ildemaro Vargas at second base.

The Nats need just one more win to guarantee no worse than a .500 record in the Grapefruit League as they are sporting a 13-9 record currently going into this game. Of course records don’t mean much in Spring Training — but the Nats sure wish it did! Tomorrow, by the way, is a day-off for the Nats.

Tonight’s first pitch is at 6:05 pm, and as mentioned the game is televised on Houston’s sports channel, and Nats radio can be heard locally in DC on The Team 980.

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