• As a fellow San Diego State alum, Black said he roots for Nats starter Stephen Strasburg on nights when his club isn't facing the right-hander.
"I do have a soft spot for former Aztecs, absolutely," Black said. "Tonight will not be one of those nights, but I pull for him in those other games that he does start -- especially against National League West teams."
• Right-hander Burch Smith said he plans to mix in a few more curveballs in his next start on Friday night. Smith guessed he threw 90 percent fastballs during his time in the Minors, but his heater-heavy strategy backfired in his debut on Saturday, when he allowed six runs in an inning-plus against the Tampa Bay Rays.
• Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, who will begin his sophomore season at Texas A&M in the fall, was on hand Thursday night to throw out the first pitch.