Yesterday was not a very good day to be a Washington Nationals pitcher, as Andrew wrote. Today, was slightly better and at least today they won the game.
Mar 8, 2013; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) flies out against the St. Louis Cardinals during the bottom of the first inning of a spring training game at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Young pitched his first major league game of the year today, and some reports have his fastball at 80-84 miles per hour. It’s still early, obviously, but that isn’t very good but Young is a veteran and is more concerned with getting ready for the season, then impressing scouts radar guns in his first start.
He pitched three innings, allowing three hits including a home run and walked three, perhaps showing his command was a little off. He struck out two and allowed three runs. His outing was better than Craig Stammen‘s. The birthday boy allowed four hits, hit a batter and allowed three runs in his worst appearance of the Spring. He only managed to get two batters out. Nationals pitching the rest of the way was pretty good, until Jeremy Accardo was a little shaky in the ninth. Erik Davis allowed a hit in 1.1 innings. Ryan Perry continued his bounce back from a very rough Spring debut pitching two scoreless innings allowing only a hit. Fernando Abad pitched the eighth and Accardo pitched the ninth allowing a run on three hits with two strike outs.
The Nationals got a look at Marlins top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez. He pitched two innings allowing only one hit with two strike outs. Fernandez is widely regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.
Offensively, the Nationals had a big day from Ryan Zimmerman which was a nice thing to see. Zimmerman was 3/3 and had a home run which shows that his power his coming around in time for Opening Day. Bryce Harper also hit a opposite field home run as he continues his very good spring as he gets ready for his first full season as a Major Leaguer.
Adam LaRoche, Zach Walters (with a home run, and who is making a lot of noise this Spring as another potential backup infielder), Danny Espinosa, Steve Lombardozzi (with two) and Carlos Rivero had the other runs batted in as the Nationals spread the offense around with a lot of players getting some key hits.
If there is any concern at this point in the Spring, it is the slow start of Denard Span. Span was 0/3 today and his average dropped to .158 for the Spring. It is an extended Spring, so I’m not worried about Span when it comes to the regular season, but you would like to see a few more hits from the Nationals lead off man.