Mar 31, 2011, 11:33 PM EDT
The season was barely 15 minutes old, and plenty among the announced crowd of 39,055 at Nationals Park hadn’t even settled into their seats when the home team faced its first real test of 2011.
Already trailing the Braves 1-0, the Nationals had just seen Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman produce back-to-back singles, putting runners on the corners with one out and the heart of the lineup due up.
The whole notion of having Werth bat second is predicated upon the idea that Zimmerman and the guys behind him can take advantage of their opportunities with men on base. As much attention is thrust upon Werth and Zimmerman, the Nationals know what they’re going to get from those two stars. The real unknown is what they’re going to get from Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel in the 4-, 5- and 6-holes.
So when LaRoche and Morse squandered that first-inning opportunity Thursday afternoon — popping out and grounding out, respectively — you couldn’t help but wonder if this was an omen of things to come. The Nationals would get only a couple more legitimate scoring opportunities, but none as good as that first one, and they never did push a man across the plate during a 2-0 loss.
“We had some chances to break the game open,” Werth said. “That game could have been a lot different.”
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