WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mercifully, the long off-season is over and the 2013 Washington Nationals are underway. After completed 1/162th of their regular season schedule, the Nats are in first place behind two Bryce Harper solo homers and 7 innings of shutout pitching from Stephen Strasburg. Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano also pitched an inning to lock down the win.
Harper was the day’s star with two homers in his first two at bats:
That would be the only scoring the Nats needed as Strasburg (W, 1-0) held the visitors scoreless in 7 strong innings and only 80 pitches. If it were up to me, he would have gone out for the 8th, but manager Davey Johnson pulled him. Strasburg was getting ground balls and line outs more than strike-outs which was effective enough to retire 19 in a row after a leadoff hit.
Other than Harper, the Nats were unsuccessful against Ricky Nolasco (L, 0-1). Ryan Zimmerman struck out three times. Only Wilson Ramos, Ian Desmond and Denard Span were able to get hits. It was enough though.
The Marlins only threat, came in the 7th inning. Giancarlo Stanton doubled, followed by a Placido Polanco single. Rob Brantly then lined to left and Harper threw home, forcing Stanton back to the third. Polanco got hung up between 1st and 2nd. Ramos fired to 1B Adam LaRoche, who threw to 2B Danny Espinosa. Stanton took off for home and Espinosa fired it into Ramos who tagged out Stanton, ending the inning on your routine 7-2-3-4-2 double-play.
After seeing the video, I felt bad for the people having to watch the terrible job MASN did showing the play. Perhaps if MASN broadcast more spring games, they would know how to shoot a baseball game, but instead they settle for incompetence.
The 2012 NL East Division Champions banner unfurling hit a bit of a snag with part of the blue tarp getting stuck, but nobody seems to mind. I hope that is a temporary banner or at least replaced by a more impressive one.
Beer prices are still too high and the selection lacks local beers. I should have cornered Andy Feffer about that on the way in.
Half-smokes are still wonderful.
The crowd was the second largest in the history of the ballpark, exceeded only by Game 5 of the NLDS. 45,274 total which includes a lot of standing room only. It took a while to get out. This is a good problem to have though.
I don’t think there was a flyover this year. I was getting my half-smoke, so I may have missed it.
The Nats wore their home whites. Strasburg, Zimmerman and Span went with high socks.
The Marlins wore black because they are a bush-league franchise that does that on Opening Day.
Jayson Werth playing “Werewolves of London” as at-bat music shows a healthy level of self-awareness.
“Take on Me” was played after the 7th inning stretch. Felt a little forced, might be best to leave that for Michael Morse.
Congratulations to the couples who got married and headed to the game yesterday.
I didn’t take many photos, because I’ve taken them all before.
Curtain call for Harper after second homer — too soon? M-V-P chants too.
The best read following the game was by Barry Svrluga – Washington Nationals get opening day win to begin highly anticipated season and of course the obligatory Thomas Boswell column: Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg poised to become men in full