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Instant analysis: Nats 2, Cubs 1

Apr 5, 2012, 9:58 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond drives in the winning run with a ninth-inning single.

Game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Dempster's brilliance on the mound are overshadowed by late heroics at the plate by Chad Tracy and Ian Desmond. Brad Lidge closes out the ninth to earn his first save as the Nationals steal an Opening Day thriller at Wrigley Field.

Hitting highlight: With the game tied in the ninth, Tracy delivers a two-out double off the wall in right-center. Moments later, Desmond comes through with his third hit of the day, scoring pinch-runner Brett Carroll and putting the Nats on top for good.

Pitching highlight: Making his first career Opening Day start, Strasburg is everything the Nationals could have asked him to be. The young right-hander is incredibly efficient early, needing only 12 pitchesRead more »

  1. SonnyG10 - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    I'll take a win any way we can get it. Hey, we're above .500 now!!!

  2. Anonymous - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    WE WIN!Curly fries, curly fries, curly fries! I don't eat them but Bernie Streeter tells me they're very good! GYFNG!

  3. Anonymous - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Felt like 7th game of WS actually….great win…get use to "Excruciating" games this yearCurse of Daniel Snyder

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Tracy? Isn't he one of those useless bench players JayB is always complaining about?

  5. Alex - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    The only appropriate reaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLkgXhGraFM

  6. oldguyjim at the park next Thurs - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    A good team wins this game. Nats of the past lose it.

  7. JoeHardy - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Desi is batting .600! Watch out Ted Williams.

  8. lesatcsc - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Isn't this pretty much exactly what most pundits predicted Nats games would look like? Great pitching, solid defence, virtually no hitting. The only oddity, Desy getting 75% of the team's hits.That will make for a nice day off tomorrow.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    JoeHardy….. Don't you know? The only things that matter about Desmond are his errors and OBP.

  10. SFNats - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    First in WarFirst in PeaceFirst in the NL EastPFB

  11. Meridian - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Take away the wind and you're not looking at a 2-1 game. So, is this game a precursor? Time will tell. That's why they play all 162 of them.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Say that again. 161 more like that and my liver will become a science project.

  13. Scott from Burke - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Clippard was terrific..and lidge..what are you gonna do, they're major league hitters..Werth could have caught it but it would have been an amazing play..the play at home was the game…i'm sure the Cubs clubhouse was angry..they outhit us 6-4 and outpitched us for the most part (10 k's) except for Wood..3 walks? not good

  14. Anonymous - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    I'll take the win too, but how about the man behind Zim. Two times he could have put the ball to the right side and driven in runs. Should not have been so close. Way to go guys!!

  15. Anonymous8 - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Anonymous8 said… How's about Chad Tracy! The 24th man if you consider Stammen the 25th man. April 05, 2012 6:23 PM NatsJack in Florida said… Tracy? Isn't he one of those useless bench players JayB is always complaining about? April 05, 2012 6:27 PM ————–Exactly the point. Someone on the bench won't be here on April 14th when Ankiel returns. Tracy showing that he belongs.

  16. ajarvis32 - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Love that the Nats get the W, but this was also a case of the Cubs LOSING a game…Kerry Wood must have a long leash to be allowed to walk three batters in that situation.

  17. NatsBrat - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Take that, that, that, & that–3 hits, and a ribbie!!!All the Desi Haters need to sit down and shut-up!Gooooooooooooo Desi!Gooooooooooooooooooooooooo Nats!!!!!

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    Watching the Jays/Indians game. The Indians are one of those teams that don't put their names on there back. It's not like it matters because aside from Astrubal Cabrera, I don't know any of them amyway.

  19. SFNats - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    I'll take the win too, but how about the man behind Zim. Two times he could have put the ball to the right side and driven in runs. But in the fourth AB, he walked in a crucial situation. It's pretty obvious that Dempster stymied LaRoche with the sinker. He looked clueless in his first three ABs. But against Wood, LaRoche looked fine. No reason to write him off just yet.

  20. Scott from Burke - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    I thought ball 4 to Laroche was strike 3…could have gone either way

  21. Unknown - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Definitely agree that the wind changed that game entirely, Zimmerman might have had two bombs, and Strasburg would have given up a couple to Soriano as well…plus quite a few others. Gotta love it when that works to your favor though.

  22. realdealnats - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    This was today's prediction from back in March:March 24, 2012 8:22 PMOD: Stras puts the screws to the Cubbies and we win 2-1 cobbling together a couple runs.
Guesswork is tough so I better take this one while I can…

  23. NatinBeantown - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    Mark, I've always gone to one of the sites that posts the first run AP story right after a game, and then looked for your gamer later. This new 'instant analysis' post means I'll be checking here first. Down with espn.com, long live NI!And GYF1-0NG!

  24. Joe Seamhead - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Yes, ALR left a small village on the bases, but that pick of Desi's throw is a huge part of the win today, too. Give the guy a little slack as he did just miss most of spring training. Adam will prove his worth before it's all over. Espy is the one that is giving me the heebe-jeebies right now.

  25. Gonat - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    NatsBrat said… Take that, that, that, & that–3 hits, and a ribbie!!!All the Desi Haters need to sit down and shut-up!Gooooooooooooo Desi!Gooooooooooooooooooooooooo Nats!!!!! April 05, 2012 6:53 PM ______________________________Don't worry, the haters all crawled for cover when the lights came on! They are like cockroaches. They will crawl back out in the dark moments.

  26. sm13 - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Prediction for Saturday: Gio pitches as well as Stras, Zim gets one of those bombs to leave Wrigley, Nats win 4-1. Go Nats. Marlins are 0-2 – that sounds good to me.

  27. natsfan1a - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    Love the instant analysis feature, Mark, and congrats on the mega comments game thread! Had fun at Duffy's watching the game (on numerous tv sets) with fellow Insiders and putting faces to names (or to Anons – the place was filled with them – but I digress). Tasty chicken wings and munchies, too.Hope I didn't miss anyone out but we had Grandstander, KWCoach, NatsNut, RPrecup, sec3, sec222, Sunderland, and Unkyd. It nice to see all of them, and there was quite a lively crowd in addition to our cohort. I did miss the Insider I was supposed to work on hyperlinks with – was it sjm or sm13? Sorry but I can't recall at the moment. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, isn't it? :-)

  28. Anonymous - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Bryce went 2 for 4 with a double.

  29. natsfan1a - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Haven't read through the game thread but I was guessing during the game that comments such as this were being posted frequently today, as he had himself quite a day. Atta way, Desi. :-)All the Desi Haters need to sit down and shut-up!

  30. SpingfieldNatsFan1 - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    For what it's worth, Curt Schilling on Baseball Tonight was saying that while SS pitched well today, he still has concerns about his throwing motion leading eventually to future shoulder problems. Don't know if it has validity, but it's something you don't like hearing as a Nats fan….

  31. Ernie - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Back from the game. Opening Day at Wrigley was a lot of fun. I'm still catching up on the reports and comments, but a couple thoughts.That wind was no joke. I've heard about it on TV, but there was no way anything was leaving that park today. One of the Wrigley regulars near us agreed that one of Zimmerman's shots would have been "off the scoreboard" if he hit the same ball in June.We must have seen 10-15 other groups of Nats fans on the El and at the park. Not a bad showing. We weren't even the only ones in our row in Nats gear. It's nice to see the fan base growing.That said, it was amazing to see so many people decked out in Cubs gear on the way to the park. DC might be getting better at drawing people to Nats park, but they don't represent the same way. It seemed like everyone was in Cubs gear – usually multiple items of clothing, bags, etc. It will be great when we get to the day that we can fill Nats park with something more than half of the crowd with curly W caps. Cubs fans are amazingly friendly. They seem jealous that we're on our way up. Everyone wanted to talk about our rotation. No one understood why LaRoche was hitting cleanup.It looked like Werth misplayed that triple in the 9th really badly. Maybe it made more sense on TV. A lot of sloppy baseball on both sides today, really. But we'll take the win.We spoke to a Nats scout after the game. He was clearly concerned that we need to hit, but mentioned that DeRosa was one of "Davy's guys" and that Johnson would not stop talking about him all winter long. He also was proud of Tracy's addition to the team – as one of Rizzo's guys from Arizona.The crowd at Wrigley was not happy with Sveum's decision to pull Dempster. They love wood, but no one understood why there wasn't more action in the pen. A lot of boos today. And the stands were emptying out before the bottom of the 9th.Then again, it was COLD. Did anyone mention that?

  32. JaneB - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    MArk, thanks for the Instant Analysis! Looking forward to more of them!Ernie, thanks for the report from Vhicago, and to all the others for representing. I love that we hit an Insider comment record on the game thread.I am going to sound like a dork, but reading all the posts and comments makes me so, so happy.

  33. Anonymous - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    Ernie (Banks?): Never underestimate the power of having a franchise for 100 years! Whenever I go to an away game, I'm always amazed at the history of teams like the Cubs, Phils, Sox and even the Giants. 8 years doesn't cut it, particularly since only a kid in grade school can claim to have loved and followed the Nats his entire life.That really does mean something. Oh, and a few wins will help, too.

  34. Joe Seamhead - Apr 6, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    JaneB, I'm right there with you reading posts and feeling pretty darn happy!What a fun first game, eh?

  35. Big Cat - Apr 6, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Yes sirreeee……we squeak out 2 runs and take a curly W. Pitching and defense will take us a loooong way. And now Gio got sumthin for their ass tomorrow! And then Zim…..and then Jackson. This could get real fun!R.I.P. Matt Chico(he is lifting his leg higher to get more speed)

  36. Scooter - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Instant analysis. Good idea. This seems like a good format; I hope you can keep it up throughout the year. You're always looking to improve, and that's great. Thanks!

  37. Daniel - Apr 6, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I like these instant analysis things. Hope to see more of them.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

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