PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - On a broad level, in the grand scheme of things, today’s 5-4 Nationals win means absolutely nothing.
But for new manager Matt Williams, it was still nice to see his team do some of the minor things necessary to win games in the regular season, even though this was just the Nats’ first game of spring.
Williams said he enjoyed his first game as Nats skipper, in which his team trailed 4-1 after five innings but scored twice in the seventh, once in the eighth and once in the ninth to come away with a win.
“It was fun,” Williams said. “It was good to get in that last inning. If Koyie (Hill) got on (leading off the ninth), Goody (Brian Goodwin) was going to run for him. Kinda set the game up that way. It was fun. It was fun to strategize.”
Williams said before the game he wasn’t sure whether he’d be the type of manager who paces all around the dugout during a game. So was he?
“No, wasn’t a pacer today,” he said. “I was pretty calm standing there. I got the chance to work with Bobby (Henley, third base coach) a little bit on some signs. It was good. Good day all around.”
Here’s more from Williams on what he saw in his first spring game as Nats manager:
On starter Taylor Jordan, who threw two scoreless innings, striking out two: “Command of all three (pitches). Threw the ball well. More of the same that we’ve seen so far this spring. Aggressive within the strike zone and went after it.”
On right-hander A.J. Cole, who also threw two scoreless: “We wanted him to throw two innings and he was ready to do that. He was good. His fastball moves. He was able to get in on right-handers. Gave up a couple hard-hit balls but other than that he was fantastic. He was good.”
On Christian Garcia, who allowed four runs in the fifth: “I think he just got one breaking ball (up). Fastball pulled down the line and then a hanging changeup. His offspeed pitches were a little off today. That was all. I feel like he threw the ball well and it wasn’t a really long inning for him pitch-wise so he worked through it. It was good. It’s not going to be perfect every time out for everybody. He’ll be fine.”
On Michael Taylor, who drove in the game-winning run with a triple in the ninth and then made a heads-up baserunning play to stay in a rundown between third and home, allowing Steven Souza to move to second: “It was good. You want him to be aggressive there so we sent him on contact, too. He did a really nice job of staying in the rundown and getting another guy in scoring position. That’s feel of game. And I think he’s got all the talent in the world.”
On reliever Manny Delcarmen, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee and delivered a scoreless eighth today: “He’s one of the guys that’s competing a job in the bullpen. That’s great. He does have experience. He’s been here before. So far, he’s thrown the ball really well. I like how he looked today.”