VIERA, Fla. - Gio Gonzalez has completed two scoreless innings of work against a Mets split squad in his spring debut, allowing one hit and striking out one.
It was an easy two frames for Gonzalez, who surrendered a Kirk Nieuwenhuis single through the hole on the left side with one out in the first, only to then get Andrew Brown to tap out to catcher Jhonatan Solano and Brandon Allen to fly out to center.
In the second, Gonzalez got Wilmer Flores to fly out to right, then struck out Eric Campbell swinging and ended his outing by getting Zach Lutz to ground out to third.
Gonzalez threw 29 pitches, 18 for strikes. He gives way to Matt Purke here to start the third inning.
The Nationals have a 1-0 lead after two after Mike Fontenot’s sac fly plated Wilson Ramos in the second. Ramos reached on a two-base throwing error by Mets starter Jenrry Mejia.
On a much broader topic, given the way the Nats have scheduled their starting pitchers of late - Stephen Strasburg going yesterday, Gonzalez throwing today, Jordan Zimmermann set for Thursday against the Braves and Doug Fister scheduled to go Saturday against the Astros - it certainly appears that the order of the starters has been set for the regular season.
It’s important to note that the schedule doesn’t currently have Strasburg lined up to start opening day if the Nats keep their five-day rotation in place. If Strasburg pitches every fifth day the rest of spring, he would get the ball March 29, two days before the Nats’ regular season opener against the Mets.
But manager Matt Williams has said that the Nats will use their off-day on March 18 as a way to adjust their starting pitchers and set things up for opening day. If the Nats give Strasburg an extra day of rest prior to two of his spring starts, he’d be in line to start opening day in New York against the Mets.
I asked Williams this morning whether that was, in fact, how the Nats were planning to handle things and if the rotation (at least the No. 1-4 spots) has been set yet.
“We don’t know yet,” Williams said, cracking a smile. “Thanks for your observation, though. That’s pretty good.”
Williams continues to play his cards on the opening day starter pretty close to the vest.
Meanwhile, Williams said that reliever Ryan Mattheus came out of yesterday’s throwing session feeling good and that he’ll continue in his throwing program as he works back from two weeks off due to inflammation in his chest.
“He threw, he’s fine,” Williams said. “We’ll progress him and keep working toward getting him live BP. That’s the first major step. And then into games.”
Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf is finally ready to make his spring training debut, and is scheduled to do so tomorrow against the Braves. Ohlendorf’s throwing program was slowed early in camp because of tightness in his side, but Williams said today that Ohlendorf has recently been sidelined because one of the fingers on his throwing hand split open.
“He’s been monitored, but he’s scheduled for tomorrow,” Williams said.
Update: It’s now 3-2 Mets after four innings, as Matt Purke got hit around for the second straight time this spring.
Purke allowed three runs (all in the fourth inning) on five hits and a walk. He struck out two, but his location was off again today. The lefty has now allowed seven runs, nine hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings this spring.
Ian Desmond has crushed his second home of spring, a laser to right-center that cleared the row of ads above the fence. Desmond now has two homers and a double in 10 spring at-bats.
Bryce Harper has his first hit of spring - a line shot to left-center that immediately followed a foul ball deep down the right field line that might still be traveling. Jayson Werth has walked and struck out looking in his two plate appearances today.