VIERA - They tell me this was the nicest day, weather-wise, they've had here since spring training started.
Low 70's, partly cloudy, a nice breeze, and Stephen Strasburg on the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals.
It wasn't a pretty result - a 7-3 loss - but Strasburg tossed three scoreless frames, giving him 5 innings of shutout ball through two starts. I got down to the clubhouse late after he came out of the game, but he was no less cordial. spending a lot of one-on-one time with a Japanese reporter, who asked him if he felt any difference between throwing ball nearly 100 mph, as opposed to throwing it in the mid-80's.
"It all feels pretty much the same, to be honest," he said. "Hitting 100 on the gun doesn't strain my arm, but I know I don't have to throw it that hard all the time."
Speaking with Assistant GM Bob Boone after that, he acknowledged that Stephen will likely start the year in the minor leagues, but praised his performance thus far this spring.
"He's always around the glove," he said, "and it makes the catcher's job that much easier. His command is outstanding. I haven't caught him myself, but I bet he's a pleasure to catch."
I asked Boone about the exhibition won-lost record, which now stands at 0-10. "I'm sure the fans are upset about it, and no doubt, we'd rather be winning. But once the regular season gets underway, if you get off to a decent start, they'll forget about these games down here."
The Nats take on the Braves on MASN here tomorrow night, Garrett Mock against Derek Lowe.