Results tagged ‘ Viera ’

Pitchers and Catchers

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People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. – Rogers Hornsby

Look outside. It has been cold and blustery here in D.C. Your bones may creak and your muscles may ache in the morning as you prepare for your day. The prospect of spring may still seem a distant light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. But today, everything should feel a little warmer inside. Today is first day that truly matters on the baseball calendar. Today, Nationals pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

It's finally time for Spring Training to begin.

It’s finally time for Spring Training to begin.

It has been a difficult winter for many Nationals fans, who saw the magical 2012 season end so abruptly. But with a longer season, one that stretched into October for the first time, and an early report to Viera thanks to the World Baseball Classic, this winter seemed shorter than those before it.

Perhaps that was due to the strategic, piece-by-piece additions of Denard Span, Dan Haren and Rafael Soriano, as the team addressed its most pressing winter needs. Perhaps it was simply the ever-quickening nature of our perception of time. Think about it: as euphoric the aftermath of Game 4 and heartbreaking that of Game 5, doesn’t it all seem like a bit of a distant memory?

That’s because baseball is back. Sure, we’re a very long way from another October, with a more youthful Atlanta squad, a Phillies club looking to rebound from their first missed postseason since 2006, and 27 other teams standing in the way. But none of that matters yet. Not today.

Look outside again, at the sun shining through the clouds. If it’s beginning to feel like spring, it should. It is time to begin again from the beginning once more, but with prospects as bright and expectations as high as they have ever been.

It’s time for baseball. Finally.

A Tale Of Two Cities

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Alright, alright, so we admit we’re not actually comparing Washington D.C. and Viera to London and Paris, even if Viera does sound vaguely French (it’s actually Slovak). Besides, in our scenario, it was the best of times for Nats fans in both cities. At 10:00 this morning, single game tickets went on sale for the most anticipated season in Nationals history, bringing fans out to the ballpark for the first time since last fall. Meanwhile, the Nationals played their best all-around game of the spring to date, shutting out the visiting Houston Astros by a count of 8-0.

First to D.C., where fans expressed their excitement for the beginning of the 2012 season. With the home opener just 34 days away, here’s what fans were saying as they waited in line to get their tickets:

Nationals fans line up at the box office in D.C. this morning to purchase single game tickets.

“I can’t wait to see all the talent come together.” – Andrew P.

“This is the most optimistic I’ve ever been.” – Rick P.

“This is the biggest year for D.C. baseball.” – Tommy V.

Needless to say, Nationals fans understand what is going on with this team right now. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up your tickets yet, make sure you hop online and grab them soon, especially for the big matchups with the Yankees and Phillies.

Now, back to Viera. They may have played together for a couple of seasons, but Livan Hernandez can’t be too happy with Ryan Zimmerman after today’s game. Not only did the Nationals third baseman take Livo deep in the first inning, he literally knocked him out of the game with a rocket comebacker off the veteran righty’s shin in the bottom of the third. After a short discussion with the training staff, Hernandez exited the game in favor of Lucas Harrell.

Zimmerman had a nice game, hitting the ball hard all three times at the plate. He singled home Anthony Rendon in his third and final plate appearance with a solid line drive to right field.

The Nationals piled on late in an 8-0 shutout of Houston on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson continued to impress in his second start of the spring, allowing just two ground ball singles in four shutout innings, striking out three. He has now tossed six scoreless frames – all against the Astros – allowing just three hits over that span. Ross Detwiler followed up by retiring all nine batters he faced, also striking out three.

The offense came alive as the game wore on, plating two runs in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in the seventh. When the day was done, Washington had piled up its highest run total of the spring, while allowing just three hits in the shutout.

Off to Jupiter (the city, not the planet) tomorrow evening for our first look at the new Miami Marlins. Here are the Nationals results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

Overall Record: 3-2-1

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