It was a fun series to start a 2013 season with a whole lot of expectations for the Washington Nationals. They start the season 3-0 behind remarkable pitching and a late offensive explosion. So, with all the excitement surrounding this team and this series, rather than doing a full game review, here are some awesome bullet points:
- It’s the little things - The Nationals were able to do all of the little things right, which makes it much easier to win games. Denard Span laid down a perfect drag bunt that caused Marlins pitcher Wade LeBlanc to make an ill-fated decision to flip the ball toward first unsuccessfully. Span scored on a Bryce Harper hit.
- Zimmermann has success without dominance - Jordan Zimmermann continued the success of the Nats pitchers. He did give up the first run of the Nats season in the second inning on a Justin Ruggiano home run in the second, but that was all. He threw 89 pitches through six innings, but he didn’t own the game. It appeared, at times, that he was throwing too many strikes, and the Marlins hitters knew what was coming. You can’t knock his performance, though, as the team walked away with the win.
- Bryce Harper is ridiculous - Harper had a 2-for-4 day driving in a run. He is unreasonably locked in at the plate, and he can seem to do no wrong. When he was caught stealing third base in the third inning, it was certainly a questionable decision. There was just one out with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate. He was already in scoring position. We’ll have to start taking the unbelievably great with the marginally poor decisions, though.
- Decent day for The Franchise - Ryan Zimmerman had a 3-for-3 game with a walk and 2 RBI in his best day of the young season. Zimmerman is clearly capable of hitting clean up in a roster so stacked with talent, and he’s getting locked in early after a three strikeout game on Opening Day.
- Oh, Henry - Despite the success in that he had a 1-2-3 inning, Henry Rodriguez had his usual control issues at times. He wildly missed on several pitches in the seventh inning. He threw seven of his 12 pitches for strikes, but when he missed, it wasn’t very close. It’s infuriating that such a talented pitcher can’t harness the talent with any regularity, but the results were good for today.
- Jayson Werth channels NLDS Game Four - Werth hit a major blast that blew the game wide open in the seventh inning to much the same place that he hit his infamous home run in Game Four of the NLDS last postseason. It was a three-run shot over the visiting bullpen in right center field that put the game at 6-1.
So, the first series is in the book, and the Nats have a 3-0 record with just 159 games to go. They will head to the friendly confines of Great American Ballpark to face the Cincinnati Reds this weekend, which should be a fun thing to watch, even if the temperatures aren’t all that warm. That ballpark is not big.