In the final spring tuneup before Opening Day on Thursday, two starting pitchers made their first appearances as members of the home team at Nationals Park this afternoon.
Trevor Williams, who signed a two-year, $13 million contract this offseason, and MacKenzie Gore, one of the top prospects acquired from the Padres in the Juan Soto trade last summer, made their Nationals debuts on South Capitol Street during a 3-0 exhibition win over the Yankees in front of 13,012 fans.
The plan for both was to pitch three innings and throw about 50 pitches. But Williams, who had a strong spring, was so efficient, he was able to go out and complete a fourth frame, allowing just one hit, two walks and a hit batter with a strikeout of Aaron Judge and a pickoff at second base on 52 pitches, 30 strikes, over a scoreless outing.
“It was good to complete four. We were shooting for about 50 pitches,” Williams said. “So to get up there, get four ups and have some clean innings was good. It's nice to pitch in a big league atmosphere, a big league stadium. It was a fun first date wearing a white jersey here or white pants here. I took a minute to kind of look around the ballpark from a different angle today and I can't wait to get the regular season started.”
Williams has actually made five appearances (three starts) at Nats Park while being a member of the Pirates and Mets over his seven-year career. But his first appearance with the Nationals, one that still doesn’t officially count, was still about getting ready for when it actually matters.