Today, the Washington Nationals play their first game against a team they didn’t play last season. Today they travel to Lakeland and play the Detroit Tigers. Dan Haren will be making his third start of the Spring and he will be facing Rick Porcello for the Tigers. Porcello has been the subject of trade rumors for most of the off-season. Porcello made his Major League debut at age 20 and the Tigers had high hopes that the first round pick would become a top flight starting pitcher, but that has not happened as of yet. He is still only 24, and his Major League experience makes him an interesting player.
Today, Haren will be backed by a mostly back-up and prospect lineup with only Wilson Ramos and Bryce Harper playing behind him with hopes to start on Opening Day. Of note, Ramos will get another chance to catch as he prepares for the season. And Anthony Rendon gets another start at shortstop. For the Tigers, it looks like a lineup with a lot of regulars but notably absent is Miguel Cabrera. Haren will have to face Major Leaguers so it will be a good test for him as we get into the middle of March.
Last night, Ross Detwiler pitched a tremendous game against Team Italy for Team USA, picking up the four inning save in the World Baseball Classic. That was a great game for him, although it comes with the caveat that Italy had replaced most of its regulars in an attempt to get everybody into a World Baseball Classic game as they had already qualified for the next round.