JUPITER, Fla. -- Contrasting styles were on the mound on Friday night. Washington went with hard-throwing Stephen Strasburg, while the Marlins countered with finesse lefty Wade LeBlanc. The advantage went to the soft thrower. LeBlanc, spotting 86-88-mph fastballs, struck out five over four scoreless innings as the Marlins clipped the Nationals, 3-0, at Roger Dean Stadium.
Strasburg brought the heat, throwing 98-mph fastballs, but he was victimized by a triple by Jose Reyes -- which was ruled a hit, then an error, then back to a triple -- and allowed two runs on two hits in three innings. The right-hander fanned two, and of his 46 pitches, 32 were strikes. "[Strasburg] was pretty good, but Jose was better," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. Both starters pounded the strike zone. LeBlanc threw 53 pitches, with 42 strikes. The lefty struck Roger Bernadina with a pitch with two outs in the third. A starter for much of his career, LeBlanc is competing for a roster spot, most likely a long-relief role. The fact that he is throwing strikes is working in his favor. "That's the biggest thing," LeBlanc said. "It's not necessary the results this early in camp. It's how you feel mechanically. Being able to fill up the strike zone." LeBlanc compared going against Strasburg to when he was asked to pitch after Marlins ace Josh Johnson, one of the game's hardest throwers. "It's kind of like throwing live BP and following JJ," the lefty said.
The Marlins were able to break through in the third inning off Strasburg. Bryan Petersen opened with an infield single that deflected off Strasburg's glove. With one out, Reyes ripped a liner to left-center that Rick Ankiel was unable to run down. Ankiel was originally charged with an error as Reyes sprinted to third for a triple, and Petersen scored. "I felt good," Strasburg said. "I was commanding my pitches a lot better [than my first start]. I just have to do some PFP [pitchers fielding practice] tomorrow and adjust off of that. Besides Reyes striking the ball, it felt good. It's coming along." Emilio Bonifacio's single gave the Marlins a two-run cushion. Strasburg hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch, putting two on with one out. But the right-hander escaped further damage. Strasburg needed 10 pitches, with seven strikes, to work through a perfect inning. The right-hander struck out Ramirez looking on a 97-mph fastball. Up next for the Marlins: Josh Johnson will make his second start of Spring Training on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET, and he once again will be matched up with the Cardinals and Kyle Lohse. In his first meeting, Johnson threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out two, while allowing two hits and a walk. The game will be televised on FS Florida, and will also be available live on MLB.TV. Up next for the Nationals: Saturday will be a split-squad day for Washington. First baseman Adam LaRoche is expected to start his first exhibition game against the Mets at Space Coast Stadium on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET, as right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will be on the mound for the Nationals. The other half of the team will be in Lakeland to face the Tigers at 1:05 p.m. John Lannan will start that game for Washington. Both games will be available live on Gameday Audio.