Cardinals vs Nationals Spring Gamethread 3/21: Día de Díaz

"Did you read Craig Edwards' piece on Gibby's basketball career? Who knew?"

Adam Wainwright takes on Gio Gonzalez and the Nats. Aledmys Díaz is set to make his first appearance with the major league squad.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm bored with Grapefruit League ball, but the early Spring Training euphoria of baseball is on tv, and that's enough for me is fading quickly. I'm ready for the season to start.

However, today we get one last breath of unadulterated Spring Training excitement:

He is getting the start at short and batting eighth against the Nationals' tough lefty, Gio Gonzalez. I was hoping to see Bonny Jhonny batting second against Gio, but since he's out of the lineup, it's interesting seeing Yadi there. Last year's excellent .374 OBP against lefties was actually his lowest in his hitting renaissance period (2011-). It's also worth noting Pete Kozma playing 3rd base today. Ben looked at the relative merits of Pete and Descalso yesterday as rumors of Kozma walking the trading plank began to surface. Given that Peralta seems likely to slide to third in the event of Marp sitting a day out, it's tough to see much playing time at third for either of our potential utility guys, but I guess we need to see them there if we're going to call them that.

I think Gio is a real key for the Nationals this season. If he can regain his Cy Young contending form of 2012, it could be the difference in an expected tight race with Atlanta. Not a lot has changed for the Nationals since I discussed them in our last spring game with them here. The biggest news is that Doug Fister is set to start tomorrow. This is a major development for the Nationals. He had elbow inflammation early in the spring, so seeing the Nationals comfortable throwing him so soon is a very good sign. Federal Baseball took a look at the news here.

The other big recent development is that Ross Detwiler is now expected to pitch out of the bullpen. Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan are in a battle for Detwiler's former slot in the back of the rotation. Fangraphs has a piece about the situation here. None of the three pitchers are too exciting, so it's important Fister is healthy enough to just leave one spot for the trio.

For what it's worth after just a dozen or so games played, Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon are tearing many covers off of many balls this spring. Big steps forward from that pair would be a boon for the team.

We'll see the Nationals again next Wednesday, and we start a REAL BASEBALL away series with them on April 17th.

Lineups:

The Nats are running very light this afternoon:

Today's game begins at 12:05 central on FSMW and mlb.tv

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