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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Reds 2

Apr 12, 2012, 8:22 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Ian Desmond is congratulated after scoring in the fifth inning.

Game in a nutshell: In their highly anticipated home opener, the Nationals rode Gio Gonzalez's seven scoreless innings to take a 2-0 lead into the ninth. But fill-in closer Brad Lidge blew the save, allowing a two-run single to Ryan Ludwick in the bottom of the ninth and leaving the sellout crowd in shock. Never fear, because Ryan Zimmerman scored on Alfredo Simon's wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th, propelling the Nationals into sole possession of first place in the NL East.

Hitting highlight: With Michael Morse now shut down for another six weeks, Adam LaRoche will be asked to hit cleanup and come through in big situations. The veteran first baseman did it again today, driving a two-out, two-run single to right-center in the bottom of the fifth to put the Nationals ahead. LaRoche now leads the club with eight RBI in seven games.

Pitching highlight: After a shaky debut with his new club in Chicago last week, Gonzalez was brilliant in his first start at Nationals Park. The left-hander allowed just two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck outRead more ยป

  1. ehay2k - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    1-0 at home! :-) An ugly win is still a win.

  2. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Nats can not keep being this lucky, this is the softest part of the schedule….the hitters NEED to ManUP and stop choking when the game is on the line….we clearly are not ready for primetime. Werth is right by saying its gonna take ALL season for this team to figure it out.Lipty,

  3. LUVDEMNATS - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    GO NATS !! I am going out on a limb in predicting the Nats will take the division. The Phillies have two of their Big Guns out, and the relievers are not as good as the Nats. The Marlins have dubious pitching, and trouble at the helm with Ozzie. The Braves play uninspired and the Mets are the Mets!! This is just my gut feeling. Our Time To Shine!!

  4. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Espinosa was not at all happy after that double play with the bases loaded. Watch out for Danny tomorrow!

  5. ehay2k - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Mark Z, please ask why Zimm wasn't gaurding the line in the ninth.

  6. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Werth is right by saying its gonna take ALL season for this team to figure it out.I think Werth needs to worry about becoming an expensive bench player and start living up to his contract. He isn't batting 4th LaRoche is. Its going to take time for the young hitters to develop … development doesn't end after they leave the minors it continues in the majors. They are still a work in progress. And that is what this season is all about. If they happen to win the division as a result all the better but doubtless a lot of what we'll see will be about developing a future, consistent, year-in and year-out contender.

  7. NCNatsie - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    OH, for crying out loud, Anon 4:28! Luck would be having Morse and Storen in the lineup. Luck would be Zimm managing to pick up that RBI grounder and turn it into a game-ending DP. As Mark points out, our starters have thrown 19 consecutive scoreless innings. That ain't luck,sourpuss. It's how you win games.As a wise man once told me, "nobody has enough knowledge to be a pessimist."

  8. lesatcsc - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Man, you have to love this pitching staff!ALR is on a pace for 162+ RBIs! Maybe a number of other Nats should have lambrum surgery and take a year off.Does Bernadina have a love on for Syracuse? 3 for 24? He does know that when Ankiel comes back someone has to go? This is the second of third time he's had a shot to establish himself and has completely crashed and burned. Maybe he really, really likes Syracuse. Let's hope so, because he looks like the odds on favourite to be playing there on Sunday.

  9. Theophilus - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    This is how it's gonna be until Storen gets back. Lidge and Rodriguez are too shaky to rely on night in and night out. Right now, Stammen looks like a survivor when Wang returns. Depending on how dire the closer situation becomes, maybe Stammen gets a shot at the job. Strikeouts and ground balls are a good combination.

  10. A DC Wonk - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    I think Werth needs to worry about becoming an expensive bench player and start living up to his contractLet's see . . . four game hitting streak, and he's batting .296 right now, with OBA of .400+Nats can not keep being this luckyWho says it's luck? It's awesome pitching, and, frankly, pretty decent hitting. Maybe not as timely as we would all like, but the team is batting .252, which is good enough to be in the top 5 or so in the league. Oh, and did I mention a team ERA of 2.18.Sure, you could say "it was lucky to get a win on a wild pitch" — but that's looking at it negatively. You could also say: it was unlucky that Lidge left a couple of hangers up and Ryan wasn't playing the line on a key at bat, but we won despite that, because the pitching, other than the 9th, was fracking spectacular. As it was yesterday.This isn't luck. This is d@mn good pitching combined with good enough hitting.

  11. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Depending on how dire the closer situation becomes, maybe Stammen gets a shot at the job. Strikeouts and ground balls are a good combination.My god as NatsJack likes to say here come the silly posts.Stammen is not a closer. He specs out as a starter middle reliever.Mattheus is the next closer in waiting after HRod. Don't be surprised if he and his 95-97 mph FB and killer slider aren't auditioned for the part in the coming days … sheesh … After that its likely Hassan Pena. If they were going to use a guy with Stammen's stuff as a closer you would have seen Josh Wilkie in the majors by now.

  12. Binx Bolling - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Not only is Ankiel on the way back, Corey Brown is on a tear in Syracuse.

  13. baseballswami - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    No, Stammen is not a closer – but he just raised his value by showing that he will come into a game anytime, anywhere and throw strikes. I don't think we have anybody else that could do a few innings in the middle or come in for the tenth after a blown save. He could have gone a few more, too. The new sideline chick actually asked Zim about his defense – he manned up. Debbie Taylor never would have asked him that. I, too, am frustrated by the bases loaded failures, but I think that when you keep pressing by putting people on a lot, eventually good things will happen. We have had some very bad luck along with a few lucky things. One thing I have noticed, even though Lidge had a problem today – the other teams we have played have absolutely terrible bullpens. Even without Drew, I feel pretty good about ours.

  14. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    What is this new patience thing with the Nats hitters? Is it just me or are they taking and taking and taking. Especially Danny – it's just weird. And Desi? WTF?

  15. Scott from Burke - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Ryan Z should have had between 2 and 4 errors in that game. Charitable scoring. Lidge was not sharp bet good enough to get the save if Ryan fields the grounder. Great pitching in the 10th. Good win, becsuse all wins are good.

  16. Rabbit - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Nobody likes to depend on winning like we did today. But, to win a division requires luck, as well as skill. In the past we probably would 1-6 right now. So, the baseball gods may finally be with us.

  17. natsfan1a - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Quoted for truth. (I believe that's how the kids today say that.) Atta way, Gio! Atta way, Nats!!Good win, becsuse all wins are good.

  18. Gonat - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    I thought Lidge threw some good pitches, they weren't great as his slider wasn't as biting as it was before but it certainly was enough to get the Nats out of it.Still have to think you have to take away the doubles and Ryan Zimmerman either has to backhand or knockdown that ball just as Ray Knight said in the postgame.

  19. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    ehay2k said… Mark Z, please ask why Zimm wasn't gaurding the line in the ninth. April 12, 2012 4:32 PM Don't stay up late for that answer! Nats beat writers only ask the "fun" questions.

  20. Gonat - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    I agree with DCWonk. SF Giants climbed into the playoffs and won the World Series 2 years ago on low OBP, low scoring, and a few clutch hits and great pitching.When the Nats make the playoffs this year then you worry about not having Strasburg.

  21. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    What is this new patience thing with the Nats hitters? Is it just me or are they taking and taking and taking. Especially Danny – it's just weird. And Desi? WTF?WTF someone isn't watching … sheesh silliness abounds! They're coming out of the wood work at the junior high level …Desi has been first pitch swinging not taking. He looks more like Cristian Guzman right now and I think the bottom will drop out if he continues to not take any walks. Espinosa has the right approach … when you're at the top of the batting order where the goal is to get on base.Its the middle of the batting order that is supposed to turn the fan on, put the ball in play and attempt to drive in runs. That's really where the real problem is right now … no real impact/high ISO hitters to go with Zim. With the probable exceptions of Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores.

  22. Theophilus - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Memo to D. Johnson: Anonymous (who?) says tell Desmond to stop hitting.

  23. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Memo to D. Johnson: Anonymous (who?) says tell Desmond to stop hitting.Any fool who believes that Desmond will continue hitting .400 believes that Cristian Guzman was an MVP Nats lead-off guy. Fools, and silliness abound ye gad! Maybe they should go go back to the old Expos clown hats due to the "doh!" level fans.

  24. Section 222 - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Someone said as we were walking out of Nats Park, "that was kind of like snatching victory out of the jaws of victory." It would have been devastating to lose after such an outstanding pitching performance by Gio. Wow. Zim was a disappointment in the 9th, not only the RBI hit, but the double down the line. And Danny not being able to lift a fly ball in the bottom of the inning to win the game with Carrol on third was unfortunate as well. But Stammen was unhittable in the 10th, and Davey had set it up that he could go 2 or maybe even three innings without his place in the order coming up. I love seeing smart managerial moves like that. Best of all — the Nats' flag flying on top of the division after the game — We're alone in first place!

  25. Gonat - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    For those complaining about Desi, save it. Every at-bat after the 1st one was very good.

  26. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Well, in any case if they put Storen retroactively on the 60-day DL they would open up a spot on the 40-man. Wonder if the same would be true for Rendon? Purke has reinsured the shoulder as well … With Ankiel due back I would guess that some moves are pending …

  27. Gonat - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    From Amanda Comak:Ryan Zimmerman called that one of his worst games. "Thank God we won that game… if we lost it would've been hard for me to sleep tonight."

  28. NatsBrat - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Our guy in 'Cuse that it doing the real deal, is not Prince Oppo Boppo, but C. Brown. I'm sure Rizzo is well aware how Brown is raking. Next thing is to find out if he can do some of that stuff up with the big boys!!!

  29. Candide - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    LaRoche now leads the club with eight RBI in seven games.And he's a notoriously slow starter. Just wait until he starts to get hot…

  30. SCNatsFan - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    I agree with Theophilus and think Stammen needs to find a spot on this team, although numbers might get him shuttled. For once on this team having options seems to be a bad thing for players.

  31. The Fox - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Just back from the game and Gio was brilliant. The Reds have a good hitting team and he just took them apart. I predicted this yesterday he just has to stay aggressive he has swing and miss stuff. As for Lidge the walk killed him his control was off but he still did not meltdown and that comes from experience. The offense is what it is, they strike out too much and have trouble being patient and taking whats given to them. I would have had Espinosa lay down a bunt to third base with the bases loaded and one out but Davey usually does not like that play. I'd start to think about moving Espinosa out of the 2 hole. It was an ugly win but that is what we are going to have to live with most of this year.No drastic changes need to be made the team is winning.Stammen is not the pitcher we saw starting for us a couple of years ago. He has learned how to pitch. I don't think he threw the same pitch twice in his inning, leave him right where he is and don't put him on a short leash. Again the starting pitching has looked very good so far.

  32. Gonat - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Kristina Akra to Ryan Zimmerman:Statement & Q) Kind of an interesting game today. You guys were on a roll and had to come back and catch up in the end. What was it like for you out there?(Q) As far as defense, what kind of day were you having?(Q) Arm sore from getting HBP (chuckling)?_____________________________________________Seriously? These are the same stupid questions we hear year after year.

  33. UNTERP - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    baseballswami said… No, Stammen is not a closer – I would make Stammen my closer. There…

  34. SFNats - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    It looks like finding unconventional ways to win is just going to be part of the ride this summer.

  35. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    I can't believe I'm the first to post this, but I didn't see it in a search of the last three posts.Ryan Zimmerman is now engaged to Heather Downen of Annandale, VA.Probably can't blame the error on that.

  36. Gonat - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    SFNats said… It looks like finding unconventional ways to win is just going to be part of the ride this summer. April 12, 2012 6:12 PM _______________________________How is that different from last year? 12 walk-off wins.The difference will be the starting pitching improvement and Davey Johnson for a full-season.

  37. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Navy Nats Fan said… I can't believe I'm the first to post this, but I didn't see it in a search of the last three posts.Ryan Zimmerman is now engaged to Heather Downen of Annandale, VA.Probably can't blame the error on that. April 12, 2012 6:12 PM Well, that explains why he looked lost. He better screw his head on straight given that contract he signed.

  38. NatsLady - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Ryan Zimmerman, 27, proposed to Heather Downen sometime over the last couple of days.This engagement comes a little over a month after news of Ryan's extended contract with the Nationals, which solidifies the couple's home as DC for the next 8 or 9 years–which should make both of their sets of parents happy (his live in Virginia Beach, hers in Annandale).Today is the beauty's birthday! She's turning 28. However, we noticed her best friend, Wetherly Barker, posted a congratulatory facebook message to her wall just before midnight, so it was not exactly a birthday proposal.Heather is a native of Annandale and lives with Ryan and his their dog Miley in Arlington. She works part time with an iPhone app company. They have been dating for about two years, and have been smitten with each other from the start.By Sophie Pyle Apr 12, 2012 8:01 AM

  39. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    Gonat said… "From Amanda Comak:Ryan Zimmerman called that one of his worst games. "Thank God we won that game… if we lost it would've been hard for me to sleep tonight."Three errors will do that. The official scorer was very nice to Ryan today.

  40. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    ehay2k said… "Mark Z, please ask why Zimm wasn't gaurding the line in the ninth."Nix that Mark Z. Ask him why he doesn't like getting in front of the ball.

  41. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Anonymous said… ehay2k said… Mark Z, please ask why Zimm wasn't gaurding the line in the ninth. April 12, 2012 4:32 PM Don't stay up late for that answer! Nats beat writers only ask the "fun" questions.Mark Zuckerman, to Ryan Zimmerman: "In that spot in the ninth, you're up 2 runs. Are you positioned any differently? Is the mindset any different than it would normally be?"Ryan Zimmerman: "You know, on that play, I was up a little bit. But if you play back there, you get a slow roller and the guy's safe at home, with the winning run on second. So there's so many situations and possibilities right there that you kind of have to go with what you're feeling. I wish I was feeling that I could've scooted two steps to the right before that. But I still should've made the play."Next time you want to anonymously call me and my fellow beat writers out, how bout you actually have a clue what you're talking about?

  42. NatsLady - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Did anyone ask why Dusty Baker didn't bring in a lefty reliever (Bray, who was warmed up) to pitch to Bernadina? Phil Wood was exercised about that in the postgame. Yes, the scorer was very kind to RZ, should get an invite to the wedding.

  43. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Closer – Tyler Clippard! The rest can be set-up pitchers.

  44. MicheleS - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    WOOOO HOOO!!.. We won and that is all that matters. RZ did look a little shaky out there today, but this can be his one bad game. Good to get it out of the way early.Gio's smile was priceless!

  45. senators fan - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Nice home cooking from the scorer. At the very least Zim allowed 3 runners to advance to scoring position. Can't blame Lidge for that. Should have gone down as 2 errors.

  46. baseballswami - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    And in other Nats alumni news – Colin Balester got a win for the T-T- T-Tigers, today. Really. Check your calendars – it's not April 1st.

  47. senators fan - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    On WP scoring play, it looked like Beradina motioned Zim to hold. Zim ignored him and dashed home. The pitcher sees the hold up from Beradina but doesn't see Zim. Thus the pitcher makes no attempt to tag Zim. Sometimes it's better to be picky than good!

  48. Wally - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Gonat said…Kristina Akra to Ryan Zimmerman: …….Seriously? These are the same stupid questions we hear year after year. But much cuter. That is worth something. 5-2, great start. Thank god, because they seem like they are dropping like flies down on the farm. I have seen a few people post that Purke reinjured his shoulder, but nothing concrete? The most specific thing that I have seen is someone on Luke's site said that they got it from a player. Does anyone know anything else?Pitching seems like the real deal. Other than today, I have seen virtually every inning, and I do think Desi and Espy are showing better patience. Desi isn't drawing walks, which will make it harder to maintain OBP through the inevitable slumps, but he is mostly laying off the low and away stuff, which just eats him up, and so he is having better quality ABs.Would love to see Rizzo bolster the lineup, though. Ok so far, but seems unlikely to last. [sigh] Ok, cue Anon: " Wally, you stupid, shortsighted fool. Corey Brown. Corey Frickin' Brown! He is hitting .400 in over 20 ABs at Syracuse! It doesn't matter that he has hit over .300 exactly once in 7 minor league seasons, he is ready to rake. And Kobernus! Good lord, Kobernus! He was a second round pick for a reason, you know. Thank god Rizzo is not dumb like you, he wouldn't waste his time with an older player, even if he can still hit better than Carroll, Nady, Derosa, Ankiel, Bernie. Next year is the year!"Ok, I stand corrected.

  49. MicheleS - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Even though I was at the game, I am watching the Replay on MASN!

  50. bdrube - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    For all who were griping about us giving us four prospects for Gio, that has to rank among the top five most dominant performances a Nats starting pitcher has ever thrown, less flashy, but right up there with Strasburg's debut. And against a Reds lineup that has some boppers in it. Gio is the man!

  51. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    When the Nats make the playoffs this year then you worry about not having Strasburg.As I said earlier, anonymously, the Nats are working on build a perennial contender. Not one year wonders like the Marlins … that means someone else will take Strasburg's place. I suspect some combination of Wang, Detwiler, Stammen, and Gorzelanny will work just fine. I'd be more worried about the bullpen … by them Storen should come back as late but timely cavalry. Besides when Stras gets shutdown they won't know if they made into the playoffs.

  52. John C. - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Thanks, Mark, for slamming down an Anonyhater. To use a phrase "Bang, Zoom!"Beautiful day at the park, if a bit chilly. The F-16 flyover was well timed, Gio was awesome, and LaRoche (who knew?) came through again. Werth was able to parlay a couple of ugly at bats into two hits thanks to BABIP wizardry, and Zim struggled. Still, the ballclub hung in there. It felt like Stammen got the momentum back with a dominant 10th inning. And the walk-off WP – which we called in Section 318.Yes, after watching the Nats score four runs by means other than hits the other day, we knew that the Nationals' 21st Century Offense blazes its own trail. As soon as Shark came to bat we started chanting "Wild Pitch! [CLAP] [CLAP] Wild Pitch!" Yes, we were pretty insufferable after it actually played out that way ;)

  53. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Corey Brown. Corey Frickin' Brown! He is hitting .400 in over 20 ABs at Syracuse! It doesn't matter that he has hit over .300 exactly once in 7 minor league seasons, he is ready to rake. And Kobernus! Good lord, Kobernus! He was a second round pick for a reason, you know. Thank god Rizzo is not dumb like you, he wouldn't waste his time with an older player, even if he can still hit better than Carroll, Nady, Derosa, Ankiel, Bernie. Next year is the year!"Corey Brown was a pretty high first round pick not a second round like Kobernus. Yes, Rizzo is wasting time with Brown … and notably he is getting just as much, if not more time in CF in Syracuse to prove his case. Rizzo is not going to trade for old DH Angels in the outfield and use prospects that might be with the team for year for a one year rental. Its not happening Wally because both Rizzo and Johnson aren't about to listen to a silly fan like Wally. They had their chance for the best bat one could have in free agency in Prince Fielder and they decided he wasn't worth it. And Fielder is what 27 or 28? C'mon! They might go for Berkman next season if the Cards don't re-sign him. But Berkman is an elite hitter. Torri Hunter and Vernon Davis just aren't. The Nats are all about developing the youth to ensure a winner for the next five to ten years. If you want a win now philosophy you should go root for the Marlins and Loria or the Yankees. Not the Nats.

  54. sjm308 - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    MicheleS – so am I!!Our regular seats for the 20 game package have us spoiled so sitting in 143 (deep center) left us a little disappointed. Also having no scoreboard makes us realize how spoiled we are. Did not help that the side boards froze up for 3 or 4 innings. I keep score and its tough when there are changes being made.Great win – I am surprised at how much negativity comes out as we continue to win. Sure we should have won in 9 but where are those comparisons of Gio vs. the guys we traded now?I have not read through the game posts but did anyone else realize that we could have gone 15 innings or more the way our bullpen is now set up. We had Stammen for at least two. We had Burnett fresh, we had Gorzolany for and probably Mattheus as well. What we have tomorrow is Gorzolany to follow Jordan's 7 shutout innings, Burnett or Mattheus after him (if needed) and HRod to close it out. This is going to be exciting folks.Mark, be careful in calling out the anons. They start writing in bold and get very very nasty. Well, Gio just struck out two in the first so I will settle in and flip between Nats and CapsGo Nats!!

  55. natsfan1a - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Watch for Gio in the dugout cheering along with the crowd in the bottom of the 9th. So cute.MicheleS said… Even though I was at the game, I am watching the Replay on MASN! April 12, 2012 7:02 PM

  56. natsfan1a - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Seconded.John C. said… Thanks, Mark, for slamming down an Anonyhater. To use a phrase "Bang, Zoom!"

  57. Dave - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Mark Z, you are the man! Way to come back to the ignorant idiot who's too gutless to use any identifier on your blog.

  58. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    And Wally? The Nats prospects are no good right?ChiefsRadio: Tyler Moore now has 3 HR. 2nd inning bomb to right this time.That's THREE already … in AAA.

  59. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    Mark Z, you are the man! Way to come back to the ignorant idiot who's too gutless to use any identifier on your blog.Well that anon wasn't me by I'll be glad to call out the sanctimonious hypocrite named Dave Nichols. Man you are the worse kind of an a-holeold man.

  60. SonnyG10 - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Way to tell him, Mark Z.

  61. NatsLady - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Some stats after seven games:Nats pitchers are 3rd in the NL for ERA.Nats hitters (including Gio, of course), are 4th in BA, but 2nd in OBP. AND first in the NL EAST!You can sort this pagehttp://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2012.shtmlTry not to look at the Shark's slash line. Here are the Nats qualified hitters.Nationals HittersI know, small sample size.

  62. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Posted this before but it got dropped…. Colin Balester with a win for Detroit today! Really. And regarding the RZim news — hearts are breaking all over the DCMetro area tonight as a great catch is no longer available. baseballswami

  63. Wally - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Anon – I am puzzled. Didn't I capture your post accurately? Not sure why you felt the need to retype it. Although I never said that our prospects were no good. But thanks for offering me other teams to root for, I didn't realize that there were any others. I'll have to check them out.By the way, Vernon Davis plays football.

  64. Gonat - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Anon @7:21, Tyler Moore could've made this team if they didn't pick up all the veterans.Davey likes his veterans for bench players. Many of us think Corey Brown could give the team a shot in the arm depending on what Ankiel can do.The output from the starters in LF and Bernadina has been poor so far although Bernadina was very unlucky today.Not to go without notice, the Nats really worked the counts today and saw a lot of pitches.

  65. sm13 - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Great day for a baseball opener. Gio was just amazing — NO Walks and how about the big single — even from Section 310, I could see his smile. We also noticed that he didn't sit down in the dugout after he finally got off the basepath — he is a ball of energy!Craig was very, very impressive. He has found a home in the bullpen and should be given the chance to prove it over a full season.As for Ryan, he's had many more good days than bad days, so let's just move on to his next game winner.And, Mark, no need to respond to those sort of posts. Those of us who are regulars on this site respect you and will gladly defend you.Let's all sit back and enjoy first place!

  66. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. My Toast Always Falls Jelly Side Down - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Hat's off to Gio. Awesome. Rizzo is a genius!

  68. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Fox"I'd start to think about moving Espinosa out of the 2 hole."Danny's OBP is almost .500 – 4 hits and 7 walks in 24 plate appearances, i.e. 11 for 24. And you want to move him out of the 2 hole? The top of the order reached base 5 times out of 10 today, and scored the Nats first 2 runs. Those guys are doing what top of the order guys are supposed to be doing. It's RZ who has failed to deliver the big hit, so far. Thank goodness LaRoche is off to such a fast start.Danny has been patient most of the year, but let his adrenaline get the best of him with that bases loaded DP. He swung at both pitches that he saw, and tried to pull the ball both times. All he needed was a fly ball to LF to get the run in from 3rd. But his overall approach at the plate this year, so far, has been a marked improvement over last year's.Laddie_Blah_Blah

  69. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    Anonymous said… "Well that anon wasn't me by I'll be glad to call out the sanctimonious hypocrite named Dave Nichols. Man you are the worse kind of an a-holeold man."WOW! Way over the top. I didn't know Dave Nichols posted anything in this thread.

  70. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    NatsLady said… "Did anyone ask why Dusty Baker didn't bring in a lefty reliever (Bray, who was warmed up) to pitch to Bernadina? Phil Wood was exercised about that in the postgame."What's the point? Dusty's never been good at managing a pitching staff.

  71. NatsLady - Apr 12, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Watching the game on MLB.tv, saw Gio's hit. That smile is great… He is SO fun and, y'know, not a half-bad pitcher.

  72. LoveDaNats - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    What a great opening day! Loved everything! The firecrackers, the huge flag, the fighter jet flyover and a curly W in the book. The two hour drive home (usually 30 mins)…..not so much.

  73. fast eddie - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    It's great to win any way you can, but eventually someone besides Laroche has to hit in the clutch.

  74. SpingfieldNatsFan1 - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Game was great today! Gio was awesome and really deserved the win. With our inconsistent offense I fear our starting staff will be looking at a lot of these non-decisions. At least one thing has changed, the Nats Park staff still can't handle large /capacity crowds…food lines were horrendous by the third inning.

  75. JaneB - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Mark, way to go for not letting that NegAnon slide by in smearing you and the other beat reporters. In reading these posts and reflecting on the game, I wanted to give a little more love to Craig Stammen's beautiful 10 pitches, in a moment when there was almost no oxygen left in the stadium. And ALR — everything I every wrote about how Morse should play first instead of you (back when Morse was healthy) — I take it all back. Now we see why they wanted him. I am really glad we have him.

  76. Anonymous - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Mark – I'm not the anon who ripped you, but to be fair, I think the question Zim answered is not the issue. I understand why he was playing where he was on the hit that scored the runs. The issue is why he wasn't guarding the line on Scott Rolen with a runner on first and one out. In that situation, you just can't give up a double. If he fields Rolen's ball he may only get one at first, but that's okay. If it's to his left and through, maybe the runner goes to third, but you still have held Rolen to a single, the double play is in order, and the tying run is on base but not in scoring position. Thanks for asking Zim, but I guess the question was not specific enough to get the right answer.

  77. Anonymous - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    It's interesting because in the 10th Zim was planted right next to the line – exactly where Rolen's double went in the 9th.

  78. Dave - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    LOL. I wouldn't know Dave Nichols if he knocked on my front door right now. I'm no sports blogger. I just watch a lot of games and comment here. And put my first name on every one.

  79. natsfan1a - Apr 13, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Poor Mark. All that money and time spent on higher education at a school renowned for its journalism program, then all those years on the beat. Turns out all he really had to do was ask an Anonymous commenter how to ply his trade. Because, you know, they know everything.

  80. Anonymous - Apr 13, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    Did anyone notice Tom Millone's last game? Pitched 8 shutout innings… only 3 hits allowed… I didn't think he'd do one better than Gio.

  81. Marty - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  82. Marty - Apr 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Had a great time at the game.Though since we're all complaining about this win, I guess I will pile on. I was the sun had been out the whole game!Couple of things:-I was proud of the crowd for cheering the hell out of Gio's hit.-Watched the replay of the wild pitch at the end of the game and it looks like Bernadina does his best to convince Zim not to come home…

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 68 4.0
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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