(David J. Phillip / AP)

The countdown to opening day is officially on, and all the trappings that come with it are arriving. In a sign of the Nationals’ new reality, Stephen Strasburg appears on a regional cover of Sports Illustrated’s baseball preview this week, and the magazine followed ESPN The Magazine’s lead by picking the Nationals to win the World Series.

Davey Johnson started the “World Series or Bust” mantra in December at the winter meetings. What does he think about others jumping on board?

“I don’t care,” Johnson said. “It’s nice. Better than being picked to come in last.”

Dan Haren will make his final start of spring training today against the Marlins. Here are today’s lineups:


1. Denard Span, CF

2. Jayson Werth, RF

3. Bryce Harper, LF

4. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Ian Desmond, SS

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Dan Haren, SP


1. Juan Pierre, LF

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Giancarlo Stanton, RF

4. Greg Dobbs, 1B

5. Justin Ruggiano, CF

6. Rob Brantly, C

7. Chris Valaika, 2B

8. Adeniny Hechavarria, SS

9. Henderson Alvarez, SP