END 9: The Phillies won but, really, there was much more to this game than just Stephen Strasburg vs. Roy Halladay on March 6. A winter of words waged between both teams, and on Wednesday this rivalry added another chapter.
END 7: The right-handed reliever allowed his first run of the spring. He served up a home run to Josh Fields. And then worked around a walk and single. Phillies lead, 6-3.
MID 6: Fernando Abad, who emerged from obscurity, struggled through some growing pains in the fifth inning. He was effective against lefties Ben Revere and Chase Utley, but then hit a wall. Per a friendly scout, he was generally between 90 and 92 mph on his fastball.
Anthony Rendon hit a wind-aided, opposite field solo home run. Rendon is now 8 for 20 with three doubles and three home runs in spring training. Micah Owings returned to action after battling a wrist injury and hit an RBI double. Carlos Rivero added an RBI single. Phillies lead, 4-3.
END 4: Stephen Strasburg appeared to right the ship to start the inning with two quick outs. But he allowed another weak single to Tommy Joseph and walked Yuniesky Betancourt. Davey Johnson then pulled him for Fernando Abad to face Ben Revere.
Strasburg threw 67 pitches, 40 of them for strikes.
Earlier in the inning, Hallady, who is known for his impeccable command, missed on a pitch and threw it way behind Tyler Moore. Was it retaliation for Strasburg hitting Utley? Curiously, Moore was the third batter of the inning, and not the first right-hander up to bat.
Per Todd Zolecki, who covers the Phillies for MLB.com: Halladay, on Feb 13: “I know Chase suggested drilling a few guys this year so I might mix that in.” Maybe he wasn’t kidding.”
Phillies lead, 2-0.
END 3: A lesser-composed Stephen Strasburg pitched this frame. He gave up singles to three of the first four batters he faced and then plunked Chase Utley on the back ankle with a pitch. Only one of those singles was hit hard — Tommy Joseph’s single to lead off the inning. Roy Halladay is still dealing. Phillies lead, 2-0.
END 2: Davey Johnson joked before the game that Stephen Strasburg — and Gio Gonzalez — were mad at pitching coach Steve McCatty for drawing up a pitching schedule that had both of the pitchers make most of their starts so far on the road.
Strasburg looks incredibly motivated today. He has struck out five of the last six batters. All of the lefties he has sat down (Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Laynce Nix), he did so on his diving change-up away.
Roy Halladay has also been sharp, too. He made the Nationals hitters uncomfortable with his location and array of pitches. He hasn’t allowed a baserunner and gotten mostly groundouts. Tie game, 0-0.
END 1: It’s been only one inning but Roy Halladay is dealing, as is Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals righty struck out Michael Young with a fastball on the outside corner. He then struck out Chase Utley with an inside change-up. Strasburg looked like he had good tempo on the mound, a point of improvement. Tie game, 0-0.
PREGAME: The Nationals got to catch up with John Lannan before the game. They made the long trip across the state, leaving early this morning, to Clearwater for the first meeting of both teams. Save for Denard Span, Stephen Strasburg, Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore, the travel team is minor leaguers. So, expect to hear some previously unheard-of names. It was an easy trip for Span, who is from Tampa and can stay at his house on this side of the state. The lineups are here.