Yesterday’s game was such a Spring Training game. There was a lengthy rain delay where most regulars did not return. There was a tie, and the game result didn’t matter*.
*Also applicable to the 2002 All-Star Game
I haven’t looked, but I really hope that a lot of people aren’t freaking out about Drew Storen‘s blown save after he gave up a run in the ninth inning. This isn’t a repeat of Game 5. This was his first appearance of the Spring in a game where the result didn’t matter. This doesn’t justify signing Rafael Soriano and it doesn’t mean that he will never be the pitcher he once was. He gave up two hits and a run. That’s all there is to it. It doesn’t matter if it happened in the first inning or the ninth. Speak to me again in April.
This game’s offensive exploits for the Nationals came courtesy of Anthony Rendon, who showed why he is the top prospect in the organization with an opposite field two-run home run off Ryan Webb in the fifth inning. Webb is a major league reliever, so it is significant that Rendon showed power like that. Rendon can be making his major league debut as early as this season, so him having good performances against major league caliber pitching is a good sign. Of course, it is one at bat in Spring Training and not much can be taken from this, but it’s baseball and it’s all we’ve got.
Jordan Zimmermann allowed two hits and a run over three innings and should be satisfied with his start. Yunesky Maya also had a very good game as well, going three innings allowing only one hit and one walk. If Maya proves he can pitch against Major League hitting, he just adds to the pitching depth. He has been mostly a disappointment since coming over to the United States, but with lower expectations he might be able to have a role as a swing guy between AAA and the majors.
Zach Duke only pitched one inning, and while I initially thought that shows the Nationals are keeping him for the bullpen, he was interrupted by the rain delay and probably finished his workload in a simulated game indoors.
Things are often blown out of proportion this early in Spring, so I will try to not contribute to that, but with Chad Tracy playing in the field two days in a row it looks like Davey Johnson may be looking to see if Tracy can play a role on this bench. The Nationals have a lot of options on how to configure their bench, but keeping Tracy around as only a pinch hitter is maybe not the best way to go about things. If he can show he can be at least somewhat serviceable in the field, that makes him even more valuable.
The Nationals are back at it again tonight at 6:10 again against the New York Mets (and again in Port St. Lucie.) The game is available on MLB.tv and MLB Network. Gio Gonzalez will be getting the start for Washington.