Friday, April 6, 2012

Number One With A Bullet

Opening Day had all the pomp and excitement that was to be expected after a flurry of offseason moves changed the landscape of the Nationals franchise. Even better, the Nationals were able to eek out a 2-1 victory despite an embarrassing performance by the team's offense.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights and lowlights of yesterday's opening game.

- Highlight: Stephen Strasburg absolutely dominated the Cubs through 7 innings while only throwing 82 pitches (58 for strikes). He only gave up the 1 run and struck out 5 baby bears.

- Lowlight: Nationals bats were atrocious against Ryan Dempster. Dempster threw 7.2 innings and only allowed 2 hits. Ouch.

- Highlight: Ian Desmond. His offensive performance today was fantastic, flat out. He got 3 of the team's 4 hits, in addition to a reach on error. Oh yea, and he stole a base at a crucial moment to get in scoring position with two outs for Ryan Zimmerman.

- Lowlight: Defense. Though the official box score only lists the Nationals as having just one error, they suffered in the field far worse than that. In the early innings the infield decided to let a pop up fall instead of, you know, catching it. Desmond had a throw that pulled LaRoche off of 1st, but it was somehow ruled a hit. And then there was the Espinosa bobble in the late innings for the Nats only official error (though was, somehow, initially ruled a hit).

- Highlight: The Nationals, with two runs, have more runs than any other team in the NL East. And yes, the Marlins have played two games...

- Lowlight: LaRoche looked completely lost against the Left Handed Dempster, striking out 3 times in his 3 at-bats. Maybe Davey's platoon wasn't the worst idea in the world...

- Highlight: Ryan Zimmerman sure is hitting the ball on the screws right now. He had two bombs that would have been long gone on a warmer day that instead were long outs. Not to be outdone, Bernadina also got a piece of one that almost went out.

- Lowlight: 5 runners LOB (4 in scoring position) in the first three innings is completely unacceptable for the 3-4-5 hitters.

- Highlight: Brad Lidge getting the save with 2 strikeouts in his first appearance in a Nationals uniform.

- Lowlight: Mark DeRosa losing his batting eye, going 0 for 4 on just 13 pitches - a far cry from the .587 OBP he put up this spring.

- Highlight: Nats win 2-1.

What are your highlights and lowlights of the first game of the season? Post them in comments!!!


  1. Highlight -- Stephen Strasburg being a new and different kind of a pitcher. First of all - he no longer seems to feel that he needs to strike everyone out - his pitch efficiency was ridiculous and better by far than Dempster's. Second - it was not about him - he stayed in the dugout and watched the game with the team and cared about the team's W, not his own record. Yes, the offense was dismal, the defense was sloppy. It WAS opening day and they were playing in near gale-force winds and cold in historic Wrigley, not at home. Still they won an opening day game for only the second time. I am encouraged but not giddy.

  2. Hard to bash too much the offense given the playing conditions. Let Zim and Bernie's balls sail out of the park on a normal day and the Nats win comfortably, even if Soriano's shot would have also left the yard.

  3. How about some kudos for Clippard who came in and did exactly what he's supposed to do. It was so routine, no one's mentioned it.... Let's hope the doom and gloom predictions of his drop off continue to be wrong.