Though the Washington Nationals were unable to complete their ninth-inning comeback against the Atlanta Braves, and fell 3-2, their second loss to Atlanta this spring provided snippets of insight into what the Nationals roster will look like come Opening Day.
Jordan Zimmermann was unsurprisingly sharp in his three-inning outing. Zimmermann was efficient with his pitches in the first and second innings, and faced one batter over the minimum. In the third inning, he gave up a hit to Matt Lipka and walked Justin Upton, but ended the Braves’ scoring threat with his fourth strikeout of the night.
Washington’s pair of second basemen, Danny Espinosa and Anthony Rendon each had productive games. Espinosa, who was playing shortstop, got his first hit of the spring after previously going 0-for-10.
Rendon went 2-for-3 at the plate with several skillful defensive plays. After being thrown into the second baseman’s role on short notice last season, Rendon is looking like a natural at the position after about five full months of major league experience plus the offseason under his belt. As Rendon continues to excel, he is making a strong case for being selected as the Nationals’ starting second baseman.
Non-roster invitee Blake Treinen worked two impressive innings in relief of Zimmermann. He gave up three hits, walked one and struck out two, and his fastball was reported to have averaged 96 mph. Treinen came to Washington from Oakland as a member of the Michael Morse trade, and this is his first Spring Training with the Nationals. Though Treinen likely isn’t in contention for a roster spot because of his limited experience – he has spent just three years in the minors and never pitched above Double A – it has been good to see firsthand the positive return the Nationals received in the trade.
There doesn’t appear to be room on the Nationals roster for Xavier Cedeno after the team signed fellow lefty reliever Michael Gonzalez, but Cedeno has been excellent this spring, pitching in three scoreless outings. On Thursday, Cedeno added a hitless inning to his spring repertoire.
Ross Ohlendorf, who is competing for a spot on the roster as either a reliever or the fifth starter, gave up the first run of the game, after facing four batters and recording no outs. He left the game with trainer Lee Kuntz at his side after suffering spasms in his lower back.
The Nationals collected 12 hits in the loss, but did not score until the top of the ninth inning, when Chris Snyder hit a home run and Michael Taylor singled. Matt Skole ended the rally with a strikeout, stranding Mike Fontenot on base. The Braves came back to break the tie in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off single given up by Danny Rosenbaum.
Washington will play the Houston Astros on Friday at 1:05 p.m. at Space Coast Stadium.no comments