The Nationals were rained out for the second straight day on Friday, and the biggest news from that is the effect it will have on their pitching matchups. Aside from a few minor alterations, things will stay mostly the same.
Scott Olsen will start Saturday’s game against the Astros, and Drew Storen, Matt Capps, Matt Chico and Sean Burnett will also throw in the game. Aaron Thompson and Collin Balester will both pitch in an intrasquad game, as will Jason Bergmann and Atahualpa Severino.
Strasburg’s Sunday start is the same as was scheduled, and Livan Hernandez will make his spring debut in that game, as well. Miguel Batista and Shairon Martis get the intrasquad game.
And Monday, Garrett Mock starts for the Nationals, with J.D. Martin throwing an intrasquad game.
A couple other news items before I wrap up: Jim Riggleman said it’s possible Elijah Dukes will hit seventh, so he can alternate the third through seventh hitters (Zimmerman-Dunn-Willingham-Kennedy-Dukes) right-left-right-left-right.
“If Willingham is swinging good, it’d be nice for a right-handed pitcher to realize, ‘If I don’t pitch to him, there’s a pretty good left-hander sitting behind him,’” Riggleman said. He also mentioned the possibility that Ivan Rodriguez could hit second and said he doesn’t think “we’re going to have a lineup where we say, ‘These are the guys who are going to hit in these slots every day.’”
He also said the Nationals will typically cap their young pitchers at 120 percent of the innings total they threw last year. So, for example, Stephen Strasburg, who threw 128 innings between college and the Arizona Fall League, in addition to another 7-10 in instructional league, would cap out between 153-165 innings this season.
For those of you who were curious: Apple Valley won 2-0 in the Minnesota state hockey tournament quarterfinals yesterday -- nice upset win for the Eagles over Blaine, who was the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Shutout for goalie Aaron Gretz, solid D in front of him, a really good forecheck for three periods and an empty-net goal to pad the lead at the end.
And I was able to find a live streaming broadcast of all the tournament games online. Yep, we take our high school hockey seriously in Minnesota. Now it’s on to the cake-eaters from Edina in the semifinals tonight. (Did you see “Mighty Ducks? Remember Adam Banks, frequently called a cake-eater? Yeah, he was supposed to be from Edina).
Lastly, and before I forget: A special birthday shout-out to reader Adam Gotsberg, who’s been e-mailing me since I was at the Times and who comments here from time to time. Enjoy your day!