Though the Nationals have until 10 a.m. on Friday morning to announce their NLDS roster, we’re learning more about what it will look like by the day.
Dusty Baker revealed after Thursday's workout that Game 1 starter Max Scherzer will be paired with 23-year-old catcher Pedro Severino. The rookie backstop, on the roster after All-Star Wilson Ramos was lost for the year with an ACL tear, has only has appeared in 18 regular season games in his career.
"He's pretty good against left-handed pitchers," Baker added. "I don't think he's seen one quite like this in Kershaw before. He's worked with our guys and you know, [Jose] Lobaton is a little bit injured and that's one reason why he's not catching tomorrow."
"In most scenarios, having a rookie catcher behind the plate, you probably have pause for concern," Scherzer added. "But Severino is completely different. First off, he's way more mature and understands the game way further than any rookie catcher I've been around. He gets it."
The other development from Thursday's press conference was Baker's announcement that infielder Wilmer Difo would make the roster. It's a bit of a surprise move, but the speedy 24-year-old could give the Nats a late-game pinch running option.
"Number one, he's a switch-hitter," Baker said. "You know, he has speed. He's very good from the right side and also he can play all three infield positions, and with Daniel Murphy still coming off an injury, he gives us a possibility at second base late in the game and run for Daniel Murphy, as well."
Difo’s addition on the bench means there could be only one reserve spot left to determine. If that’s the case, that means Baker must choose between first baseman Clint Robinson and outfielders Ben Revere, Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin.
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.