Nats close out spring with another offensive outburst (Nats rip Mets 12-1)

NATIONALS QUICK WRAP

Score: Nationals 12, Mets 1

Recap: After two straight rainouts, the Nationals finally got a chance to play a full game without interruption this afternoon, then proceeded to stomp on their National League East rivals in their Grapefruit League finale. Ryan Zimmerman homered off Matt Harvey, Jayson Werth homered off Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Drew homered off Zack Thornton to lead the power attack. With Max Scherzer held back in Viera to pitch in a minor league game, the Nationals used nothing but relievers all afternoon. Trevor Gott tossed two scoreless innings to get things started, then handed off to his bullpen mates, who kept churning out zeroes of their own against the Mets’ regular lineup until Jonathan Papelbon served up a ninth-inning home run.

Need to know: It’s spring training, so of course you can’t put too much stock in anything. But the Nationals wrapped up Grapefruit League play with an 18-4-3 record. They scored an average of 6.8 runs per game. They gave up an average of 3.5 runs per game. They clubbed a total of 33 homers. Meanwhile, the Mets went 7-16-5, failing to win any of their last 13 exhibition contests. They scored an average of 4.3 runs per game, while giving up an average of 5.6. Come next week, none of this means anything. But it’ll be interesting at season’s end to go back and look at these numbers, just to find out if they actually were a precursor to anything.

On deck: Friday, vs. Twins at Nationals Park, 6:05 p.m.
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - If nothing else, the Nationals proved this spring they’ve got plenty of thunder up and down their lineup. Whether that translates into the regular season remains to be seen, but the Nats have to be encouraged by what they saw over the last month.

They closed out their Grapefruit League slate this afternoon with a flourish, scoring five early runs off two of the Mets’ young aces (Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard) by getting big blasts from two of their most important veterans (Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth).

zimmerman-close-swing-back-white-sidebar.jpgZimmerman launched a three-run moonshot off Harvey in the top of the first, giving the Nationals a quick 3-0 lead. That came moments after Bryce Harper drew a walk, the kind of scenario that could play out with extreme regularity this season if Zimmerman can stay healthy and provide major protection behind Harper in the lineup.

It was Zimmerman’s third homer of the spring, raising his RBI total to 14. That ranks second on the roster, behind Michael A. Taylor’s 15 RBIs, despite the fact Zimmerman has played in only 12 games as the club held him out early to protect against a flare-up of the plantar fasciitis that plagued him last season.

Three innings later, Werth took Syndergaard deep to left, a two-run shot that expanded the lead to 5-0 and continued the veteran left fielder’s late spring surge. After a 4-for-24 start to his Grapefruit League season, Werth now has six hits in his last 10 at-bats with four RBIs.

Stephen Drew also added a two-run homer in the sixth off reliever Zack Thornton, extending the lead to 7-0.

The Nationals have been the hottest-hitting team in Florida all spring, and they’ve only become more productive over the final stretch of camp. They’ve now scored at least seven runs in seven of their last 10 games. Overall, they’ve hit 33 homers in 25 games.

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