LOS ANGELES -- Lost amid all the hoopla of last night's game is a bit of a sobering fact: The Nationals are stuck in a three-game losing streak for the first time this season, facing something of a must-win situation in today's series finale at Dodger Staidum. No, a loss today isn't the end of the world. But it would make the overnight flight home a little more enjoyable and better set the stage for an important homestand this week against the Diamondbacks and Phillies.
With lefty Chris Capuano on the mound for Los Angeles, Davey Johnson is going with a right-handed-heavy lineup. He's got only two left-handed batters among his starting eight: Adam LaRoche and ... Bryce Harper. Yep, the kid will make his second start, and this time he'll be in center field.
Tyler Moore, meanwhile, has arrived at the stadium after flying in from Syracuse and will be available to make his big-league debut off the bench. Gio Gonzalez, who hasn't surrendered a run in any of his last three starts, gets the nod for the Nationals.
Plenty of updates and analysis to come live from Chavez Ravine, so please check my live game thread on Nats Insider all afternoon...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Where: Dodger Stadium
Gametime: 4:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 189
Weather: Sunny, 69 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to CF
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
LF Xavier Nady
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Bryce Harper
C Jesus Flores
LHP Gio Gonzalez
LF Tony Gwynn Jr.
2B Mark Ellis
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
3B Juan Uribe
1B James Loney
SS Justin Sellers
C Matt Treanor
LHP Chris Capuano
HP Ed Hickox, 1B Ed Rapuano (cc), 2B Angel Hernandez, 3B Mark Carlson
It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
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Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.