When the Nationals take the field the for their Grapefruit League opener on Saturday against the Houston Astros, Washington skipper Davey Martinez isn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary from his players.

“I’m hoping that on our side—I can’t tell you anything about the Houston Astros or what they’re going to do, whatever—but for us that we act professional, we go about our business and get ready for the season,” Martinez said. We’re going to “go out there and compete and just get ready to play.”

Max Scherzer will be making the start for the Nationals and is only expected to throw a couple of innings. He’ll be facing reigning Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year Cristian Javier, manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday.

The Astros and Nationals, who faced off in the World Series last October, have shared the FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches spring training facility in West Palm Beach since 2017. They’ve opened their respective Grapefruit League seasons against each other every year since.

Although the Nationals didn’t lose to the Astros in a pivotal postseason series like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers did, several of their players including Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, Kurt Suzuki, Howie Kendrick, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Zimmerman have weighed in on the scandal that’s dominated baseball’s headlines for most of the offseason.

Saturday’s contest will be the first of six Grapefruit League games between the two teams.


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