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Gonzalez goes 6 innings as Nationals top Braves 7-2

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Gonzalez goes 6 innings as Nationals top Braves 7-2

VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- Gio Gonzalez pitched six innings in his longest outing this spring and the split-squad Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 7-2 Sunday.

Gonzalez didn't walk a batter and gave up seven hits. He was especially with the zero walks.

"I know that I was behind on a couple of guys, but I'm just happy I still pounded the strike zone and attacked the hitters," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez credited Nationals pitching coach Mike Maddux and the team's director of mental conditioning, Mark Campbell, for helping him slow down his motion and his approach.

In the past, Gonzalez has been known to get the ball and go, which sometimes led to an inconsistent delivery. Now he is giving his arm time to catch up with his body.

"It gives me time to throw all three pitches," he said. "It's finding a rhythm. Once you find a rhythm, things start clicking together, and I think that's what it was."

"Just giving (myself) a chance to trust my curveball, trust my changeup and trust my fastball. All three pitches worked for me very well today," he said.

Campbell has given Gonzalez a breathing technique to use, particularly when he finds himself in a jam.

"He's definitely helped me out," Gonzalez said of Campbell. "He's got a little catch phrase for me that's pretty cool -- `Feed the family.' It helped today, just constantly slowing the game down. You get yourself in a situation, go back to that word."

Ryan Zimmerman got three hits and drove in three runs. Jayson Werth, Daniel Murphy and Ben Revere each had two hits and Bryce Harper had an RBI single and scored twice.

Atlanta starter Jhoulys Chacin went five innings, giving up two earned runs and 10 hits.

Gordon Beckham had two hits for the Braves, including a first-inning home run off Gonzalez.

Chacin also delivered an RBI single against Gonzalez in the fifth inning. Earlier, Gonzalez hit a bloop double off Chacin.

RUNS IN BUNCHES

The Nationals have scored seven or more runs in four straight games and 11 of their 23.

A DOUBLE FOR GIO

After legging out a bloop double in the second inning, Gonzalez and umpire Laz Diaz appeared to share a laugh.

"Laz was like, `Do you want that ball?'" Gonzalez smiled. "I was like, `No. I didn't hit it hard enough to get it.'"

STARTING TIME

Braves: It was an important start for Chacin, who is trying to make Atlanta's rotation. He went five innings and gave up five runs (two earned) on 10 hits.

"The way I assess it, he threw the ball over the plate," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He threw strikes. He's a contact type pitcher. Some of the runs he gave up, some of the hits were tough plays to make."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Getting out of spring training healthy has been an emphasis of the Nationals all spring, particularly after last season, when they dealt with a number of injury issues. So far, so good.

"I think we're doing outstanding, knock on wood," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "I don't believe in jinxes, but things are going pretty well right now."

UP NEXT

Braves: Mike Foltynewicz gets the start as the Braves host Doug Fister and the Houston Astros.

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg will start in the Nationals' final home game of the spring against the Miami Marlins.

DUSTYISM

In discussing the possibilities for the Nationals bench this season, Baker was asked if he would prefer to have speed on the bench.

"Maybe," Baker said. "But speed that can't hit ain't speed."

MORE NATIONALS: Wright and Conforto homer off Petit as Mets tie Nationals

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, the next step in our long journey to Opening Day is the spring training games themselves. Not every game is televised, so get ready to follow along with your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll still be exciting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Bryce Harper homered again, or if Max Scherzer is perfect through 4 innings (spoiler: both of these will happen).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing contracts in the next few weeks. The Nats are always willing to make a big splash, and even beyond the available free agents, have been linked to impact players like J.T. Realmuto in trade rumors.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the roster has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be happening while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for their seasons, so bookmark this page to check on the Nationals spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Nationals 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Braves at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Feb. 26 - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 1 (SS) - Nationals at Braves, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Tigers at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 (SS) - Nationals at Mets, 1:10 pm
Monday, Mar. 5 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 6 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 - Nationals at Astros, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Nationals at Tigers, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 13 (SS) - Mets at Nationals, 7:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 (SS) - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Mar. 17 - Mets at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Nationals at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Nationals at Marlins, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Astros at Nationals, 1:05 pm (ESPN2) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Nationals at Mets, 6:10 pm
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Astros at Nationals, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 - Nationals at Marlins, 7:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Marlins at Nationals, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Cardinals at Nationals, 1:05 pm (MLBN)
Tuesday, Mar. 27 (at Nationals Park) - Twins at Nationals, 4:05 pm
 

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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?

RELATED: 2018 SPRING TRAINING REPORT DATES

Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.

RELATED: FORMER NATS PITCHER ARRESTED WITH MORE THAN 40 POUNDS OF SUSPECTED COCAINE