We hope you got to visit The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches this Spring, because the 6:35 PM EDT game against the Miami Marlins tonight in West Palm Beach is the last home game of the Grapefruit League season for the Washington Nationals.
Up next, it’s two road games against St. Louis and Boston in their respective Spring homes, then two exhibitions with the Red Sox, one in Nationals Park on Friday and another in Annapolis, MD’s Max Bishop Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Spring Training is winding down... which is why there is some concern about the lack of at bats Daniel Murphy has put together between the Grapefruit League and the World Baseball Classic, where he barely played for the eventual WBC champion United States.
Murphy went 0 for 6 with two Ks in his two starts as the DH for the United States, and 1 for 13 overall including the exhibition games with Team USA, and so far this Spring, the runner-up for the 2016 NL MVP is 5 for 24 (.208/.269/.292) with two doubles, two walks and five Ks in eight games.
Dusty Baker told reporters today, after Murphy was once again not listed in the lineup for tonight’s game, that he is actually a little concerned about the lack of ABs, though he said there’s good reason to believe Murphy will be in the Opening Day lineup:
Dusty concerned about lack of time to get ready but says Murphy won't miss opening day. "Oh, no. He'd kill me if he wasn't in there."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 28, 2017
Dusty said Murphy did not hit on the back fields yesterday because he was sick. IVs, all that. He is out of the lineup today, too.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 28, 2017
Murphy is behind, so illness doesn't help. But Dusty said Murphy would kill him if he weren't in season-opening lineups. So he will be.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 28, 2017
Murphy has been sick the last two days, as noted above, so he hasn’t played in either of the last two games.
Will we be talking all season about how the WBC experience and lack of Spring Training at bats set Murphy back and led to his inability to follow up on last summer’s another-level breakout?
Think about that while you watch Stephen Drew play second base tonight in the last home game of the Spring in The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s game:
NOTE: Tonight’s game against the Marlins is available on MASN in D.C. and via audio everywhere on MLB.com.