Good Wednesday Morning, Washington Nationals Fans.
Today’s Game Time forecast for West Palm Beach via the National Weather Service:
- 3/24/2021 – Nationals vs. Astros 6:05 pm EST
- 3/25/2021 – Nationals @ Marlins 6:05 pm EST
- 3/26/2021 – Nationals @ Mets 6:10 pm EST
Make sure to follow The Nats Report on Twitter for updates on the latest Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball during the day!
Opening Day: 8 Days
Today’s Morning Briefing was written by Richard and edited by Jonathan.
Today’s Top Story: Starlin Castro at Third Base? It is looking more and more likely.
With Carter Kieboom struggling, the Nationals need to pivot quickly before Opening Day to find a solution. At the beginning of Spring Training, Martinez said that he wanted Kieboom to play “like the job is his,” however, as Spring Training has progressed, Kieboom might be losing his starting job at third base.
Spring Training Game Notes Review: Josh Bell Keeps on Smashing & Nationals tie with the Cardinals
Josh Bell continues to hit the cover off the baseball during the Spring Training. Yesterday, the newly acquired first baseman improved his already impressive stats. Bell went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and also scored a run. During Spring Training, the switch-hitting slugger has five doubles, four home runs, and 10 RBI in 42 plate appearances. Many of these hits have been to either center or opposite field. If Bell and Ryan Zimmerman can continue on this hot streak, Mike Rizzo has successfully put together a great platoon at first base.
Yesterday, LHP Jon Lester allowed one run on three hits over 3 2/3 innings. He threw 30 of his 51 pitches for strikes, and only walked a pair of batters. The Nationals will try to have Lester play two more games before his first Regular Season start. One of those games might be a simulation game. After the game, Lester met with the media and discussed his outing: “I feel good physically, so now I think it’s just a matter of getting those reps and getting my feet under me and building. I think that the big thing is I feel like I’m a little bit behind the eight-ball on some things, and I think (velocity) is one of them. I’m hoping that with … a little bit of adrenaline in regular games, that it will go up a tick. But even if it doesn’t, I feel like I can still do the things I need to do.”
Also appearing in yesterday’s game was Joe Ross. Ross entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and almost finished the game. The 27-year-old righty threw 47 of his 68 pitches for strikes and only allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings . At this point, Ross seems to be the front runner for the fifth spot in the rotation. In 9 2/3 innings over three appearances this Spring, Ross has a 2.79 ERA while holding opposing hitters to a .194 average.
Despite the aforementioned strong outings by Lester and Ross, the Nationals bullpen couldn’t get the final out, so the game ended in a 5-5 tie.
Tonight, Stephen Strasburg will be pitching for the first time since he strained his calf when the Nationals play against the Houston Astros. The first pitch is at 6:05 pm EST.
Two focus points for tonight’s game:
- Strasburg: How will Strasburg pitch after taking a couple of days off while recovering from the calf strain. How many pitches/innings will he throw before Martinez pulls the right-hander.
- Who will be playing third base? Who knew that with less than 10 days left until Opening Day, there would be some issues regarding who would be starting at third base. We might see Carter Kieboom at third base, given that Starlin Castro left yesterday’s game with a “little cramp.” Martinez might want to sit him tonight and save him for Opening Day and the games that count. Something else to be on the lookout for: are there any other players in the Nationals system that might be getting some reps at third base?
We will see, and it will be a very interesting last week of camp before the team heads up north to D.C.
Out of Options
The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty had a piece online today discussing the future of RHP Erick Fedde. Due to a technicality, the Nationals originally thought that Fedde still had a minor-league option that would allow him to be sent down this season without placing him on waivers and risk losing him. This made him the most likely of the fifth-starter candidates (Fedde, Ross, RHP Austin Voth) to be sent down to AAA Rochester at the start of the season. However, Dougherty’s sources have revealed that an arbiter has ruled that Fedde does not have any more options.
With this news, General Manager Mike Rizzo must now decide to either keep all three pitchers on the 26-man roster or risk losing one of them to another club. You can find Dougherty’s article here.
Podcast Alert: In the Clubhouse with the Nats Report
In the latest episode of “In the Clubhouse with the Nats Report,” Richard sits down with Washington Nationals Shortstop Prospect Jackson Cluff. They talk about his first experience in Spring Training, what it takes to be a major league player and a story about facing the 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg. Listen to the full episode on all the major podcasting platforms: Listen to the full epsiode on all the major podcasting platforms:
- Apple: http://apple.co/395B5W5
- Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2PktNXK
- Megaphone: https://bit.ly/2OOcqyE
- Web: http://bit.ly/2OP2x3J
Should the Nationals officially name Ryan Zimmerman “Captain” of the team for this season?
While the Captain’s role in baseball is less formal than in the other sports and most teams do not have captains, the title of Captain is an honor and something that the Nationals should do for Ryan Zimmerman for this upcoming season.
ICYMI: Technology Meet Baseball, Baseball Meet Technology & Should the Nationals officially name Ryan Zimmerman “Captain” of the team for this season?
Just in case you missed it, we published two great articles on the Nats Report that are worth checking out. The first one is about how a company is going to be improving the fan experience at select baseball stadiums across the country. One of these improvements will be the wifi strength. [Click here to read the full article.]
The second article is a perspective on why the Nationals should name Ryan Zimmerman “Captain” for the upcoming season. “While the role of captain in baseball is less formal than in the other sports and most teams do not have captains, the title of Captain is an honor and something that the Nationals should do for Ryan Zimmerman for this upcoming season. [Click here to read the full article.]
ICYMI on the Nats Report
- Special Report: The Women who had an impact on Major League Baseball
- Perspective: Juan Soto Extension Dreams
- Perspective: Welcome to 2021, Where the Nationals Bullpen Is going to be a place of strength
- Nationals Linked to Top International Prospect: Cristian Vaquero
- The Last Washington Nationals Bench Spot: Yadiel Hernandez?
- What Does a Trea Turner Extension Look Like?
- How the Tatis Deal Impacts the Nationals & More Importantly Juan Soto
- “In the Clubhouse with the Nats Report” with Todd Radom, Graphic Designer
- What should the Nationals Do with the 5th Pitching Spot in the Rotation?
Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball Headlines
- Suero likely to be ‘a force’ for Nats’ bullpen via MLB/Washingto
- Nationals Scouts wonder: Can Carter Kieboom be the player the Nationals need him to be? via The Athletic
- Starlin Castro playing third raises questions about Carter Kieboom’s immediate future via The Washington Post
- Washington Nationals’ catcher Yan Gomes got jokes… via Federal Baseball
- Nationals: Two Contingency Plans For Third Base via District on Deck
- What still needs to be resolved in the final week of camp via MASN
- Martinez vs. Girardi vs. Snitker: Who’s the best manager in the NL East? via NBC Sports Washington
- MLB player rankings 2021: Top five at every position, including loaded groups at shortstop, third base via CBS Sports
- Fantasy Baseball 2021: One sleeper from every MLB team to draft via Yahoo Sports!
- No. 3 in the Mets’ Rotation, and Leading the Way in NFTs via NY Times