Washington Nationals: Spring Opener...With Lacuna You Can Forget.

• I know, I know, it's just the first game...of Spring Training. It doesn't mean anything. Plus, I'm told there's an addendum to the old maxim that pitchers begin Spring Training ahead of hitters in terms of how close they are to peak form, which states that relief pitchers arrive behind both starters and fielders developmentally, or maybe I made that up to help me forget what happened to Washington's relief corps this afternoon, since as a fan of the Nationals I know that this is just tradition. So what if Matt Capps gave up what would have been career HR no. 50 in nine MLB seasons for Houston Astros' outfielder Jason Michaels if this were the regular season, and so what if it was on the first competitive pitch Capps threw for the Nationals? Sean Burnett did the same thing, sort of, surrendering a HR to the Marlins' Cody Ross in the first at bat, on the seventh pitch he threw for Washington after he was acquired in a trade last July. Heck, even Drew Storen did it, on the second pitch he threw as a professional...It just means Matt Capps is one of us...

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• Nationals vs Marlins.

• Quotes of the Day.

• It wasn't just Capps, however, getting lit up in the split squad game with the Astros. Right-hander Shairon Martis surrendered 6 ER on 6 hits (one a HR), in 1.1 IP. Joel Peralta followed Martis, giving up 1 HR and 3 runs on 3 hits in 0.2 IP. Then Capps gave up the HR, 2 ER and 3 hits in 1.0 IP in his DC debut..."Everyday" Eddie Guardado? 4 hits, 3 ER, a HR allowed. Washington gave up a total of 21 hits, 5 doubles, 5 HR's and 15 ER's today...and that was just one half of this afternoon's split squad Spring opener...The good news out of the game in Oceola County Stadium with the NL Central's Astros? Drew Storen's scoreless frame? The Nationals' second '09 1st Round pick pitched a perfect inning, throwing just 9 pitches, 8 for strikes in his first outing this Spring...My pick for the back end of the 2010 rotation, right-hander Garret Mock got off to a good start at least, with 2.0 scoreless innings in which he allowed just 3 hits... 

Game 1 of 2: Nationals 5 Astros 15. Box Score.

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• Nationals vs Marlins.

In Roger Dean Stadium, the Marlins' spring home, another new Nationals' reliever, right-hander Brian Bruney gave up a walk, 2 hits and 2 ER in the 1.0 IP in Washington's 10-4 loss today. After J.D. Martin threw 2.0 hitless, scoreless frames for Washington, right-hander Collin Balester came on and gave up a HR and 2 walks in 2.0 innings of work, allowing Florida to tie it at 1-1 after four innings. Bruney allowed 2 runs. 24-year-old righty Luis Atilano managed to surrender 5 hits and 4 ER in 1.0 inning. Ron Villone gave up 3 ER on 1 hit and 3, yes 3 walks. Josh Wilkie, (aka Storen and Strasburg's AFL teammate), retired the final two batters of the game. Highlights: How about Ian "I want to stay right here" Desmond's 2 for 3 start, with a double in his Spring debut? Or a patient Derek Norris taking two walks. Kevin Mench hitting Washington's 1st Grapefruit League HR? 

Game 2 of 2: Nationals 4 Marlins 10. Box Score.

• Quotes of the Day.

• Drew Storen on his debut as a Nationals, as quoted in MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Storen makes Nats spring debut": 

"'I wouldn't say it was easy, but it was quick.'"

• Nats' catcher Wil Nieves, as quoted in Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's Nationals Journal post entitled, "Day 1 of Nationals' spring schedule is in the books", after a wild pitch from Shairon Martis (who was apparently up in the zone all day and hit hard) bounced in before reaching the plate and allowed a runner to score from third:

"'At least he kept the ball down,' Nieves said."

Game 3: 1:05 pm EST on Friday from...(ed. note - "Is that really the name of the stadium? OK.")...from Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports, it's the Washington Nationals vs the Atlanta Braves, with DC righty Miguel Batista on the mound against ATL right-hander Derek Lowe.

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