Harper goes deep, but Nats remain quiet

PORT SAINT LUCIE, Fla. – The games don’t officially count for another week, and for the Nationals, that’s just as well.

The Nats fell to the Mets in Florida Saturday 10-2, meaning they have plated just six total runs in their past four games.

“On any given day during spring training you don’t have your regular lineup out there, so I’m just concerned about the quality of our at-bats,” says manager Matt Williams.

Perhaps more significantly, injuries to Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Denard Span have stripped the club of top-of-the-lineup pop.

It remains uncertain if any of them will start on opening day.

While spring training is about getting reps and evaluating talent, Williams did say Friday that the club needs to do better at getting runners in.

Win-loss records in March garner little attention. The Nats are 9-12.

Bryce Harper provided one of the runs Saturday, with a towering drive that left the area designated for baseball.

It cut through the swirling wind, bounced off the roof of a sun deck well beyond the outfield wall and escaped from view.

“He’s powerful, so the times he realizes he doesn’t have to do too much, he gets results,” Williams says.

Stephen Strasburg started on the mound for the first time since his ankle injury. He went four innings, giving up four runs and striking out two.

“If you sprain your ankle really bad, you’re bracing for it,” he said after the game. “It’s hard to get over that.”

Even if he was a bit ginger on the ankle, he was satisfied with how he held up.

“I didn’t really feel anything alarming, so I guess it’s progress,” he said.

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