With Spring Training winding down, the WBC ending this week and Opening Day fast approaching, it’s time to read way too much into lineups, count the days to guess if Stephen Strasburg’s going to start the season opener in D.C. and speculate on what Dusty Baker’s roster will look like on April 3rd, not necessarily in that order, now that I’ve gone back and read the rest of what follows...
Daniel Murphy will likely not play one or two more games for the United States before he returns on Wednesday or Thursday to get some at bats, and Tanner Roark, who will be on a relatively low pitch count according to Dusty Baker, will start for Team U.S.A. when they take on Japan in the semi-final of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
The rest of the Washington Nationals are in West Palm Beach, Florida this afternoon, where the defending NL East Champs welcome the New York Yankees to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches for Grapefruit League action at 1:05 PM EDT.
The good news? Today’s game is being broadcast on MASN in Washington, D.C. and the MLB Network outside of the nation’s capital, so you get to watch... Vance Worley? Yep, Vance Worley is getting the start for the Nationals this afternoon with Michael Pineda on the mound for the Yankees.
Dusty Baker’s lineup for this afternoon’s game?:
OMG! Jayson Werth batting second? Is that what Baker’s going to do to break up the lefties at the top of his lineup? I thought they acquired Adam Eaton to hit at the top of the lineup! What’s going on?!?!?!
Baker asked rhetorically earlier in Spring Training, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes, “Do I bat two or three left-handers in a row and let the manager wipe out my whole lineup with a couple lefties during the course of a game? Or do I try to achieve balance?” Is this his idea of a balanced lineup? That last line sounded more critical than I intended, go back and read it will a less critical tone.
We have to fit Murphy in there when he comes back from the WBC right?
Actually, with Murphy’s lack of at bats, Baker suggested yesterday that he might have to revamp his Opening Day lineup since the Nationals’ everyday second baseman will return with just over a week to get in work before the season opener after having not played or hit all that much in live action in the WBC, and the Nats’ skipper has said a couple times now that the runner-up to the NL MVP last season didn’t have his stroke down before he left for the World Baseball Classic, so will Murphy be ready for Opening Day?
And speaking of the season opener, as Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler noted on their broadcast of Sunday’s win over the Miami Marlins... if you do the math, it’s looking like Stephen Strasburg, who started yesterday, and is still pitching exclusively out of the stretch, is lined up to start against those same Fish in D.C. in Game No. 1 of 162 on April 3rd.
I believe we’ve answered all remaining questions at this point, job well done, so enjoy today’s game against the Yankees! We’ll talk again soon.