The Washington Nationals (9-9) took down the New York Yankees (12-9) 7-6 with an abbreviated squad, after being hit by the injury bug early in the week. The squad got back to .500 behind a solid outing from Doug Fister as well as offensive help from a few unlikely sources. The biggest news of the day however, was not what happened on field, but rather the decisions made off of it.
Scherzer Gets the Nod
After much deliberation Matt Williams was finally ready to announce that he had picked which one of his aces would start Opening Day. He announced today that Max Scherzer, the newest addition to the staff, would have the opportunity to take the mound when Nationals Park reopens for the year. The decision on William’s part was not a slight to his returning staff as some have implied, but rather a chance for his biggest offseason addition to prove himself in front of a sold-out crowd.
The rationale is solid and I applaud his decision, but to be fair there were few bad decisions he could have made in this situation.
Doug Fister Continues To Roll
Though he could have had a better day, Fister did what he needed to do to help his team win. The first at-bat of the game was a strikeout and he contributed with a two-run single on offense. His ERA was 4.97 for the spring, which is not stellar. But sometimes for pitchers it’s not about the individual stats, but rather helping your team to win.
Fister has always been good at playing that role, and that’s what makes him such a good commodity on a team full of star pitchers. His ability to hang in when the going gets tough was exhibited again on Monday. Since spring training is nearing completion, it is safe to start making extrapolations to some extent about what performances will look like in the regular season, and as long as Fister can get wins he will fit right into this squad.
Escobar Shines in Debut
Yunel Escobar made his debut for the Nats on Monday after coming back from an oblique strain, and proved he was none the worse for wear. He went 1-for-2 with a single, but the play that really stood out was a great diving play he made defensively.
If the Nats continue to struggle with injuries, they will need strong backups to play an extended amount of time. Escobar was essentially a question mark up until Monday, but if he continues to put in strong performances he will be a great addition to the team.