Your morning Nationals links are a little late (we had to drive a family member to the airport at 4:00 AM and it messed up our sleep pattern), but all the news on Washington’s ballclub that you need is right below here, and the defending World Series champions are playing a Grapefruit League game at 1:05 PM EDT in West Palm Beach. Oh, and Stephen Strasburg is on the mound against the Houston Astros. Just like in Game 6 of the Fall Classic, but with a much smaller crowd and significantly smaller stakes. But, baseball. Go read your links...
Max Scherzer defies age the way he battles hitters: Relentlessly - (WaPost)
"As he enters the penultimate season of a seven-year, $210 million contract that has been, by almost any measure, a bargain, Scherzer is at perhaps his most interesting juncture."
Scherzer saga feels eerily familiar - (MASN)
"If you paid any attention to the saga that was Max Scherzer’s summer of 2019, the sequence of events that took place here over the last few days should not have surprised you."
Scherzer on side pain: 'Purely a fatigue thing' - (MLB.com)
"In preparation for his 13th Major League season, he worked over the winter to get back to where he was pre-injury."
Notes: Braymer on debut; Soto hits another HR - (MLB.com)
“'Any time you get a chance to start a game with the regulars behind you, that’s exciting,' [Ben] Braymer, ranked Washington’s No. 22 prospect per MLB Pipeline, said.'"
Braymer tries to make the most of fill-in start for Nats - (MASN)
"With Max Scherzer held back in West Palm Beach due to what the three-time Cy Young Award winner described as an 'ailment' on his right side, the Nationals needed a fill-in starter against Miami."
Other Nats Stories:
Juan Soto's second home run of the spring is an absolute moonshot - (NBC Sports Washington)
"At the beginning of spring training, Nationals outfielder Juan Soto told reporters his goal prior to Opening Day was simply just to make the team. Well, it's safe to say he's earned his spot."
How does Nationals closer Sean Doolittle stay calm in big moments? The Grateful Dead - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Three years later, Doolittle still makes the Grateful Dead part of his pregame routine—to the point where he’s even timed his pitching delivery to the tempo of one of their songs."
Episode 092: Phish & Baseball w/ @whatwouldDOOdo— Beyond The Pond (@_beyondthepond) March 10, 2020
Part I of our conversation with Sean Doolittle. We chat about winning a World Series, going from Metal to Phish & The Dead, deep dive Sean’s favorite Phish shows, and more!https://t.co/GKWwRHoO3v
LOVERRO: Less locker room access for reporters may become norm - (Washington Times)
"First they came for the reporters. Then … well, nobody knows what happened then because there were no reporters to tell everyone about it."
10 NL East Hitters Looking For Bounce-Back Years - (MLB Trade Rumors)
Yan Gomes - C, Nationals - "A slow start doomed Gomes to a .223/.316/.389 line in 358 PA, though he did experience a major offensive rebound in the second half."
Nationals season preview: World Series champs won't repeat - (Sports Illustrated)
"They might not win back-to-back titles after losing Anthony Rendon to the Angels, but the Nationals did enough to upgrade their roster to make a return trip to the playoffs."
NL EAST UPDATES:
Yuengling unveils retro Phillies beer can perfect for Instagram at the ball park - (NBC Sports Philadelphia)
"Yuengling announced today that they will be named the 'Official Lager of the Philadelphia Phillies' and will have the most fantastic retro packaging."
Mets suddenly facing their first bit of adversity - (NY Post)
"Life was too good for the Mets. With Disney no longer being home for the Braves, Port St. Lucie was the happiest baseball place in Florida. The Mets were having all kinds of fun and good times."
Marlins system now No. 4 in Pipeline rankings - (MLB.com)
"Over the past few seasons, the Marlins repeatedly asked their fans to be patient as they went about building up their farm system. Now, it’s looking like it was worth the wait."
Austin Riley A Different Slugger This Spring For Braves - (Forbes)
"The Braves are looking for some assurance that Austin Riley has grown as a hitter. They want no arguments when they put him at third base to start the season."