JUPITER, Fla. - We're in the eighth inning here, and the Nationals have stretched their lead to 8-0 after scoring five runs in the seventh inning. Danny Espinosa added another hit, driving in a run with a single to right, and finished his day 3-for-3 with four RBI, two runs and a hit-by-pitch.
The Nationals have allowed just two hits, and haven't made an error after committing 13 in their last six games. This is probably the best they've looked all spring.
There's only so much correlation to be drawn from this and the regular season, because the Nationals fielded a lineup full of players fighting for a roster spot today. But on the other hand, they're getting impressive performances from all of the players in the lineup today who have something to prove: Espinosa, Roger Bernadina, Michael Morse and Alberto Gonzalez. If nothing else, their emphasis on competition is pulling some crisp baseball out of those players.
Todd Coffey struck out the side in the fifth inning, and Craig Stammen has followed with a pair of 1-2-3 innings. And Bryce Harper made an appearance, driving in a run when he singled to right on the first pitch he saw from former Nationals reliever Brian Sanches. When Jesus Flores hit a harmless pop-up to end the seventh inning, Harper took off from first and sprinted full speed all the way to third.
It's a little thing, but it's another sign the 18-year-old is going to play the game the right way.