Sunday was the latest example of how the Nationals' bullpen may be a bit off-kilter as they pass the quarter mark of the 2013 season. The personnel is exactly the same as it was when the Nationals opened the season, but the way they've been used hasn't always been consistent — and neither has the performance.
"I met a guy today who had been through 49 surgeries," said Chad Tracy. "I've been through four of five myself, just to imagine a guy going through almost 50 surgeries, to see he was still a driven, confident, leader of a man really touched me."
His range in center has a ripple effect on the Nationals' corner outfielders, allowing Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth to play closer to the foul lines, if they desire, without worrying they need to shade one way or the other based on their fellow outfielders.
Ross Detwiler turned in a superb four-inning relief outing Saturday night to help Team USA beat Italy in the first round of the World Baseball Classic. "It's a dream come true to play for your country," he said.
It didn't take Mattheus long to look around the Nationals' clubhouse this spring and realize that, of the relievers on the team's 40-man roster, there is precisely one who throws with his left hand: Zach Duke.
Enjoy baseball's exhibition season for what it is, a sign the real thing isn't far away. Do not put too much stock in anything that actually happens on the field.
The goal this year is simple, as manager Davey Johnson has already laid out as plain as can be: World Series or bust. Here are five storylines to watch as the Nationals go through six weeks of preparation for the 2013 season.
Growing up as the son of a Marine, Matt Hendricks heard about the value of living in a free country from his father, Doug. The Washington Capitals forward listened and believed it.
With runs hard to come by, the Washington Nationals put Michael Morse in a couple of situations in Game 3 of the National League Division Series to get them on the board.