Nationals lineup vs. Twins (with Twins lineup)

The Nationals are stretching in right field, Dusty Baker is about to address the media and fans are already lining up at the center field gates at Nationals Park.

Who cares if it’s a meaningless exhibition game? It’s baseball and that’s what counts.

Dusty-Baker-spring-sidebar.jpgWe’ll have to see if the weather gods will cooperate to allow the first of two exhibition scraps against the Minnesota Twins to be played tonight. Earlier in the week, it was supposed to rain most of today; the current forecast for tonight’s 6:05 p.m. game - which will be broadcast on MASN - calls for 77 degrees and partly cloudy skies with a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms.

For those fans who didn’t make it to Viera for spring training, today’s game marks a first look at Baker’s stamp on the team. Whatever the new manager did in Florida seemed to work, as the Nats posted an 18-4-3 record, the best in the Grapefruit League, and averaged 6.8 runs per game.

An old baseball adage warns against putting too much stock in spring numbers, but can the Nationals take something from their camp into the regular season?

“It’s been great,” said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. “We obviously played very well down in spring. More importantly, everyone seems to have come out, for the most part, pretty healthy and I think that’s the biggest key.”

Today’s lineup could be identical to the one Baker will trot out for Monday afternoon’s season opener in Atlanta, save for the pitcher’s spot. It features alternating left- and right-handed hitters for the first six spots with right-hander Tanner Roark making the start.

No, your eyes do not deceive you: The visiting American League team is using the DH, while the home club from the National League is having its pitcher hit.

For the Twins:

2B Brian Dozier
1B Joe Mauer
RF Miguel Sano
3B Trevor Plouffe
LF Eddie Rosario
DH Byung Ho Park
SS Eduardo Escobar
C Kurt Suzuki
CF Byron Buxton

RHP Phil Hughes

For the Nationals:

CF Ben Revere
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Bryce Harper
1B Ryan Zimmerman
2B Daniel Murphy
LF Jayson Werth
C Wilson Ramos
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Tanner Roark

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