There are just three Grapefruit League games and one exhibition game in D.C. left on the schedule this spring, including this afternoon's matchup with the New York Mets before the NL East rivals play for real next Monday.
Today in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium, Opening Day starter Stephen Strasburg makes his final start of the spring. When the 25-year-old, '09 no.1 overall pick talked to reporters about getting the nod in Game 1 of 162, he explained that when he's done pitching in the majors, he hopes he's remembered for something other than starting season openers.
"I've said this before," Strasburg explained. "I hope my career isn't reflected in how many Opening Day starts I have. I think there are a lot of guys in this rotation that deserve it and I'm just the first one out and I think every game is going to be just as important and the biggest goal as a team is that we're playing in the playoffs and I would definitely want to focus on trying to make starts in the playoffs more so than trying to make Opening Day starts."
Coming off a 2013 season in which he was (8-9) with a 3.00 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 16 HRs (0.79 HR/9) and 56 walks (2.75 BB/9) allowed and 191 Ks (9.39 K/9) collected in 30 starts and a career-high 183 IP, Strasburg has put together a strong spring, going (3-0) in four starts and 14 IP over which he has a 0.64 ERA, allowing eight hits and one earned run while walking four, striking out 10 and holding opposing hitters to a .178 BAA.
As he works towards Opening Day, Strasburg said he's just hoping for more of the same.
"Definitely just building arm strength and just kind of staying where I'm at," he explained. "I feel like I'm on a good program to where I feel fresh and I think it's going to do well for me this year."
• Here's the Nationals' lineup that will take the field behind the right-hander in his final spring start:
Anthony Rendon is back in the lineup (and hitting second) after dealing with a chest cold this week. Jose Lobaton is behind the plate catching Strasburg.
• Game time: The Nats and Mets start play in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium at 1:05 pm EDT this afternoon and the game is being broadcast live on MASN and MLB.tv.
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