The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Spring Training Game 20 (Nats @ Astros)

In the road game of today’s split-squad doubleheader, Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals traveled to Osceola County Stadium to face Scott Feldman and the Houston Astros. While the regulars stayed back in Vierra to face the Tigers, the Nationals back ups and minor leaguers (with the exception of Anthony Rendon) went up against Bo Porter’s squad. The Nationals defeated the Astros 4-3. Here are the Good, Bad, and Ugly from today’s game.

GOOD

Just like his last outing against the Astros, Gio Gonzalez started off strong. The only difference was that in today’s game, Gio didn’t implode. In his first two innings, Gonzalez was on top of his game, striking out two without allowing a runner. After allowing a single to 6-4 315 pound Japhet Amador to start the third, the batter was quickly erased on a 5-4-3 double play. After retiring the side in the fourth, Gio started to struggle, giving up a run with two outs on a L.J. Hoes single. Hoes would be the last batter Gio would face, as he was removed after going 4.2 innings, striking out 4, and only allowing one run on three hits.

Steven Souza Jr. had the game of his career today, going a perfect 3-3 with two home runs and an RBI triple. Souza’s first home run put the Nationals on the board, hitting a solo shot to deep left field off of former Baltimore Oriole Scott Feldman. His second homer also came off of Feldman, but this one was hit straight to center field. Then, in the top of the seventh, Souza hit a triple down the right field line to score Brock Peterson from first.

Both Brock Peterson and Brian Goodwin checked into today’s game with a pair of hits. Goodwin drove in a run with an RBI single in the top of the fifth, while Peterson scored a crucial run in the seventh inning on the Steven Souza triple.

Manny Delcarmen was able to bounce back from his bad performance against the Mets on Thursday, going two scoreless innings and recording a save in today’s contest.

BAD

Rafael Soriano and Christian Garcia had almost identical mediocre pitching lines in today’s game. Soriano, who was able to bail Gio Gonzalez out of a jam in the fifth, struggled in the sixth, giving up one run on two hits with two strikeouts before being removed with two outs left in the innings in favor of Garcia. Similarly to Soriano, Garcia successfully got the previous pitcher out of a pickle, getting Matt Dominguez to fly out with a runner on third. After retiring the first two batters in the seventh, Garcia gave up back to back doubles to uber-prospects Carlos Correa and Jonathan Singleton, which gave up a run. Garcia finished the day going 1.1 innings with one strikeout and two hits.

UGLY

The Nationals offense had a lot of missed opportunities to add on runs today, all starting in the top of the first. With runners on first and second and only one out, Tyler Moore and Zach Walters were unable to give the Nationals their first lead of the game, grounding out and striking out respectively. Then, in the second inning, Danny Espinosa came up with runners on first and third and two outs, and grounded out to third. In the third inning, Zach Walters (who ended up going 0-5 in today’s game) wasted a runner on second with only one out by grounding into a fielders choice. In total, the Nationals were an atrocious 2-10 with runners in scoring position in today’s game.

The Nationals face the Tigers again tomorrow at 1 PM, this time at Joker Marchant Stadium. Tanner Roark takes the mound for the Nationals against Anibal Sanchez. This game can be heard through the Tigers broadcast, either on MLB.com or on the MLB At Bat app. 

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