8:23, END 7: The Nats still haven’t scored, but Henry Rodriguez continued his nice spring. With help from a double play, he faced the minimum in the seventh. For the spring, Rodriguez has allowed no runs on one hit, walking two and striking out four. No one ever seems to hit the ball hard against him.
7:54, MID 6: The Nationals could not strike for their first run against reliever Frank Francisco, although Ian Desmond, in his 38th at-bat, drew his first walk this spring. The Nats left the bases loaded on Wilson Ramos’s hard groundout to short. Ryan Mattheus is the new Nats’ pitcher.
7:36, END 5: Strasburg finished his start with a 1-2-3 fifth inning, which included a strikeout of Ruben Tejada looking at an inside fastball at the knees for strike three. Strasburg had by far his best performance this spring. His line: 5 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 85 pitches, 54 strikes.
7:23, TOP 5: Stephen Strasburg is four innings into his fourth – and what so far is his best – start this spring. He has allowed the Mets one run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts. He’s been hitting 94-97 miles per hour with his fastball, at least per the Digital Domain Park scoreboard radar gun. The only run he gave up came when Lucas Duda hit an opposite-field homer on a 2-2 pitch that immediately a curveball that Strasburg seemed to think should have been strike three.
The Nationals trail, 1-0, having mustered only three hits off Dillon Gee. Strasburg is coming back out for the fifth having thrown 70 pitches, 44 of them strikes.
Also, the pitchers are batting for the first time this spring, and in his first at-bat Strasburg ripped a line drive to the right side. Daniel Murphy could not handle the hop, and Strasburg reached on a single. He’s batting 1.000 this spring.