The Nationals were held to four singles in a 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., on Friday night.
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg started for the Nationals, went three innings and took his second loss of the spring. Strasburg allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out two. It was the first time in his career he had started a Grapefruit League game in a venue other than Space Coast Stadium, the Nats’ home park during spring training.
Wade LeBlanc, a lefty trying to make the Marlins’ 25-man opening day roster, turned in an impressive performance. He yielded only one hit in four innings, fanning five. Five other Miami pitchers worked a scoreless inning each, with Sandy Rosario getting the final three outs for a save.
Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore, Jesus Flores and Corey Brown had the Nationals’ hits.
The Nationals play a pair of split-squad games Saturday. They host the Mets in Viera, Fla., and travel to Lakeland, Fla., to take on the Tigers, who will send defending American League Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player Justin Verlander to the hill.
Righty Chien-Ming Wang gets his first Grapefruit League start against the Mets, while lefty John Lannan will face the Tigers.
Update: Strasburg told reporters in Jupiter that he felt much more relaxed than in his first start Sunday, when manager Davey Johnson thought he was a little too amped up.
“I think as far as progressing and building up, I felt a lot more under control out there,” Strasburg said. “I was a little jumpy my first start, and this start, I was able to feel it coming out of my hand and locate it a lot better.”
As for his command, Strasburg added: “Command was a lot better. Threw some breaking balls for a strike, changeups for a strike, fastballs in and out. Yeah, I felt good.”
Strasburg threw 46 pitches, 32 of them strikes. The right-hander, who was expected to throw 60 pitches, threw an additional 14 in the bullpen after exiting the game.
“I like what I saw. He didn’t like the results. ... He’ll be on probably 70-75 pitches next time out,” said Johnson. “Right on schedule for where I want him to be.”