By Michael Marzzacco
Highlights from the Nats Spring Training games as well as Nationals players who are participating in the World Baseball Classic.
March 8: at Cardinals L
Nationals 3, Cardinals 9
Stephen Strasburg struggled as he faced nine batters and gave up four runs in the first inning. He allowed five hits on 26 pitches and then surrendered two more runs in the second inning. Strasburg threw 48 pitches and 24 of them were for strikes.
The Nats offense had difficulty solving Michael Wacha as he pitched three scoreless innings for the second straight start. Pedro Severino and Michael Taylor each had two hits. Washington scored their first run in the top of the sixth with a double by Grant Green that scored Neftali Soto. Taylor followed with a single to bring home Green. The Nats scored their third run in the seventh with a single by Chris Heisey that scored Wilmer Difo.
March 9: vs. Marlins T
Marlins 2, Nationals 2
Bryce Harper and Derek Norris each hit solo home runs. Harper homered to center field in the sixth inning for his third of the spring. Norris followed with a home run in the seventh inning for his second long ball of the spring. A.J. Cole had a great outing on the mound in the start as he allowed no hits through four innings of work. He walked one batter and struck out two.
March 10 vs. Cardinals L
Cardinals 7, Nationals 1
Gio Gonzalez had four strikeouts in the loss while allowing one run on four hits. Bryce Harper provided the lone Nationals’ run on a solo shot to right-center field in the bottom of the fourth for his fourth home run of the spring.
ICYMI: Bryce didn’t. pic.twitter.com/rAE8pgKarr
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 11, 2017
March 11 at Mets W
Nationals 6, Mets 0
Nats #2 prospect Erick Fedde got the start and went three innings allowing one hit, one walk and one strikeout. In seven spring innings, his spring ERA is 0.00. Brian Goodwin got the Nats on the board with a sacrifice fly that scored Michael Taylor in the first. In the sixth the Nats added three more runs. Chris Heisey singled home Taylor. Goodwin followed with a single of his own. Heisey came home on a Clint Robinson single. Goodwin scored on a sac fly by Jose Lobaton. Rafael Bautista singled on a line drive into left field that scored Brandon Snyder. Bautista scored the Nats final run when Blake Perkins reached first base on a fielding error by Mets shortstop Amed Rosario.
March 12 vs. Astros W
Astros 4, Nationals 5
Just like in their first game at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the Nationals got a walk-off win over the Astros. This time the heroics came with a game-winning single by Andrew Stevenson that scored Wilmer Difo.
Joe Ross had the start for Washington on the mound. He went four innings allowing no runs on two hits with four strikeouts. The Nats took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth with Adam Eaton’s first home run of the spring.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 12, 2017
In the bottom of the fifth, Bryce Harper smacked a two-run homer into the berm in right field. It was his 5th homer of the spring which leads the Grapefruit League
Sundays are for yardwork. pic.twitter.com/OwWHwluSUX
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 12, 2017
The Astros jumped out in front in the seventh inning on a grand slam by A.J. Reed. Washington would tie it in the bottom of the eighth on a home run by Drew Ward. Matt Wieters made his Nats debut. He finished 0-for-2.
World Baseball Classic
USA: Tanner Roark and Daniel Murphy
Team USA opened up their exhibition slate on March 8th with a 3-2 loss to the Twins. Daniel Murphy went 0-for-4 and struck out. Murphy went 1-for-3 the next day in USA’s 7-5 exhibition loss to the Red Sox.
USA opened up Pool C play at Marlins Park in Miami on Friday, beating Colombia in 10 innings 3-2. Murphy went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Adam Jones of the Orioles won the game with an RBI single in the 10th inning that scored Christian Yelich of the Marlins. USA lost the second game of the round robin on Saturday to the Dominican Republic 7-5. Tanner Roark came into the game in the bottom of the fifth with two outs. He gave up three runs on three hits, two walks, and a home run. Team USA advanced to the second round Sunday night with an 8-0 shutout over Canada.
Israel: Nick Rickles and R.C. Orlan
Team Israel opened up WBC Pool A play on Monday March 6th with two games. They beat Korea 2-1 in 10 innings in the opener and won the second game 15-7 over Chinese Taipei. Both Nats contributed in the second game. Orlan came in the game in the fifth in relief and allowed three runs, one hit and one walk. Rickles pinched hit in the top of the eighth inning and smacked an RBI line drive single into left field that scored Chih-Hao Chang. That put Israel up 12-3 at the time. Israel defeated the Netherlands 4-2 on Wednesday.
Israel opened up round 2 with a win on Saturday over Cuba 4-1.
Dominican Republic: Enny Romero
Dominican Republic faced the Orioles in an exhibition on Tuesday March 7th. The O’s won 5-4. Enny Romero faced one batter in that game with the bases loaded and two outs. He gave up a hit to Hyun Soo Kim on a line drive to right field. Jose Bautista threw out Chris Davis at third base to end the inning. Dominican Republic defeated the Pirates 10-6 the following day.
The Dominican Republic opened Pool C play on Thursday with a win over Canada 9-2 in Miami. They beat USA 7-5 on Saturday in the second game of the round robin. On Sunday, the Dominican Republic took Pool C and advanced to the second round with a thrilling 11 inning win over Colombia 10-3 that saw them score seven runs in the 11th inning. Romero was credited with the win. He came into the game in the 10th and retired all three batters he faced, striking out two of them.
Mexico: Oliver Perz
Mexico began the week with exhibition action on Tuesday the 7th against the Padres. They fell 7-3. Perez pitched in the third inning and faced four batters, allowing one walk and one hit while getting the other two to fly out and ground out for an inning-ending double play. He allowed one run via a sacrifice fly by Carlos Asuaje. Mexico fell to the Diamondbacks 10-4 the following day.
Mexico opened Pool D play on Thursday at Jalisco with a 10-9 loss to Italy. Leading 9-8, Perez came into the game in the ninth looking to close out the game. He came in with the bases loaded which made the task all the more taller. He gave up a base hit to Brandon Nimmo that tied the game and gave up a single to John Andreoli to blow the save. Mexico would lose to Puerto Rico on Saturday 9-4. Mexico got an 11-9 win over Venezuela on Sunday. Perez pitched in the eighth inning with a runner on first. He got Carlos Gonzalez to ground into a double play and Victor Martinez to line out to end the inning. He then came on in the ninth inning and got Rougned Odor to ground out before exiting the game.
Colombia: Jhonatan Solano and Adrian Sanchez
Colombia opened up their exhibition play on Wednesday March 8 with a 9-7 win over the Rays. Solano walked in his only at bat of the afternoon in the fourth inning. Sanchez went 2-for-3 and scored a run in the eighth inning. The following day they had an exhibition with the Twins. Minnesota won that one 10-7. Solano and Sanchez each went 1-for-4. Sanchez scored Colombia’s first run of the game in the third inning.
Colombia opened up Pool C play with a loss to USA in 3-2 in 10 innings. Solano and Sanchez each went 1-for-4 while Sanchez drove in the game’s first run in the top of the fifth with a line drive RBI double that scored Jesus Valdez. Colombia would bounce back on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Canada. Sanchez went 2-for-4 while Solano went 2-3 and drove in a run with a walk while the bases were loaded.
Colombia ended their run on Sunday with a 10-3 loss to the Dominican Republic in 11 innings. Sanchez went 0-for-4 but walked and scored a run in the bottom of the sixth. Solano finished 1-for-3 and had a walk as well.