After wrapping up Grapefruit League action and the final exhibition game this past Saturday, second-year Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker was asked if he’d accomplished what he wanted to this Spring.
“Well, I wish that we could have been better with runners in scoring position,” Baker said, “especially less than two outs, because that was — we had bases loaded, one time and less than two outs and had a runner on third, less than two outs, so we definitely have to get better at that if we’re going to play winning baseball, especially if you’re going to play low-scoring, one-run ballgames.
“Definitely we have to get better at picking those runners up from third, less than two outs.”
So, that’s his biggest concern?
“Yeah, probably,” Baker said.
“We started out scoring a lot in the Spring, but we didn’t score much down the stretch.
“That’s probably my biggest concern, but early in the year you depend on your pitching and your defense a lot, so I know our offense will come around because we have the personnel to help it come around.”
As the Nationals noted in a press release on the Opening Day roster, that personnel includes just five new players who’ve been added since the end of the 2016 season.
We discussed the addition of those players (Adam Eaton, Adam Lind, Matt Wieters, Enny Romero and Joe Blanton), Opening Day starter Stephen Strasburg’s decision to pitch out of the stretch exclusively, what we expect from Nats’ slugger Bryce Harper after what is for him considered a down year in 2016, and the decision to go with Blake Treinen as the closer after a winter-long search for the next ninth-inning arm on Nats Nightly last night.
Nats Nightly, if you’re not familiar, is the official Federal Baseball podcast, which we try to record after each and every game, touching on the night’s events and talking about the big picture throughout the season.
We recorded out 2017 Nationals Season Preview episode last night. <— this is a link.