Nationals Recap: Offense Struggles On Split Squad Saturday

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Feb 24, 2015; Viera, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher

Gio Gonzalez

(47) takes bunting practice during spring training workouts at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In the first split squad Saturday of Spring Training, the Washington Nationals had a tough time generating any offense. In the two games against the Miami Marlins (at Viera) and against the New York Mets (at Port St. Lucie), the teams managed a combined two runs as both squads lost 4-0 and 13-4 respectively. Those two runs came against the Mets when catcher Sandy Leon had a two-run single in the top of the seventh inning.

If you look at the starting pitchers for both of these games (Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark), each had their fair share of struggles in the early inning. Before we talk about the Mets’ game, let’s first address the 4-0 loss one Nationals squad took at Space Coast Stadium against Miami.

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Gio Gonzalez got his second start of the spring in this game and struggled in the first inning as opposed to the two solid innings he threw on Monday against the Braves. The Marlins hit him hard right out of the gate. After back-to-back singles by Adeiny Hechavarria and Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna hit a double to center field that scored both players to make it 2-0 Marlins.

Ozuna would tack on another run in the top of the third inning on a RBI single to score Yelich and make it 3-0. Gonzalez would leave the game in the middle of the third inning after giving up four earned runs on four hits. He struck out two and walked two in his outing. Matt Thornton would come in during the inning and give up the fourth run charged to Gonzalez on a RBI single by Donovan Solano.

As for the Nats’ offense, which featured most of the everyday starters, they only managed three hits in the entire game. Miami starter David Phelps shut out the Nationals over the first three innings, as he gave up one hit and struck out four. The only hit the team got against Phelps came from Jose Lobaton on a two-out single to center.

Even though Michael Taylor had two strikeouts out of the leadoff spot, he did show his speed when he led off the sixth inning with a triple to center. Unfortunately, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman were not able to drive him in.

On the plus side, the bullpen was able to shut out the Marlins for the final six innings of the contest. The combination of Thornton, Craig Stammen, Xavier Cedeno, Aaron Barrett, Blake Treinen, and Bruce Billings combined to strike out two, walk one, and give up one hit.

Now that we talked about Game 1, let’s move on to Game 2 up in Port St. Lucie.

Next: Split Squad Game 2 Recap In Port St. Lucie