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Washington Nationals Grapefruit League GameThread: Nats vs Astros

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Today's Grapefruit League game between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros in Space Coast Stadium is being shown live on MASN at 1:05 PM EDT. Jordan Zimmermann vs Mark Appel in Viera. Who's watching the Nats?

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Houston Astros beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Sunday afternoon in Kissimmee, Florida, taking the Grapefruit League matchup in Osceola County Stadium on the strength of a three-run fifth inning which saw Jake Marisnick, Jose Altuve and George Springer all drive in runs off Nats' bullpen hopeful Heath Bell.

This afternoon, the AL West's 'Stros and the defending NL East Champion Nationals go head-to-head again, this time in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium.

The two franchises will share a Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach in 2017, if all goes as planned.

Today it's the Nationals' 2007 2nd Round Jordan Zimmermann on the mound in the Nats' current Spring home against the no.1 overall pick of the 2013 Draft, Astros' prospect Mark Appel.

Appel, 23, missed his last planned start last week when he felt what was described as "tightness" in his right forearm while warming up, though manager A.J. Hinch told reporters that Appel was "... as close to a healthy scratch as they get.'"

"'We had a lot of [pitchers] here, so it was a pretty easy decision, when he's fatigued like that, to not pitch him,'" Hinch explained, as quoted by ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.

Subsequent reports last week, including one by Houston Chronicle writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz, said Appel, "... threw a bullpen session Wednesday and has been cleared to start Monday."

The Nationals get to test their offense against one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

The Astros face one of the top starters in the majors.

In two Spring Training starts, Zimmermann has given up three hits, a walk and one earned run in 4 ⅔ IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a .200 BAA.

Zimmermann threw 47 pitches last time out and Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters, including MASN's Chris Johnson, that he liked what he saw from the right-hander.

"'I thought he was good,'" Williams said. "'All first-pitch strikes to every batter. He was really good. Just getting ahead and throwing the ball in the zone.'"

Start no.3 for Zimmermann gets underway at 1:05 PM EDT.

Here's the Nationals' lineup for the game:

Today's game is being shown on MASN live and on delay later tonight on the MLB Network.

Who's watching the Nationals?