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Instant analysis: Nats 2, Marlins 0

Apr 1, 2013, 7:19 PM EDT

Associated Press
Bryce Harper watches his first homer sail to right field.

Game in a nutshell: On a resplendent Opening Day in the nation's capital — at least, until the clouds, wind and light rain moved in later in the afternoon — the defending NL East champion Nationals took the field to a standing ovation from an overflow crowd of 45,274 amid expectations this franchise has never before faced. And how did they respond? With a convincing victory over the Marlins sparked by their two biggest stars: Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Harper celebrated his first career Opening Day in the big leagues with a bang. Actually, two of them. He homered in each of his first two at-bats of the season, leaving the crowd in a frenzy. Strasburg then set to work, mowing down Miami's lineup with ease over seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits without issuing a walk. Rather than push his young ace on April 1, manager Davey Johnson handed things over to his bullpen to close this one out, and Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano responded in kind. Clippard tossed a scoreless eighth, then Soriano sealed the deal in his Nationals debut, recording the save and getting this highly anticipated season off to a 1-0 start.

Hitting highlight: Hmm, who do you suppose wins this category today? Kind of a no-brainer, isn't it? When you homer in your first two at-bats of the season and earn a curtain call on Opening Day,Read more »

  1. MicheleS - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. MicheleS - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Game 1 in the books and it's a Curly W!!Fixed.

  3. Drew - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Just like we drew it up!

  4. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    The Nats played great and the only reason this was so close was because Nolasco pitched so well!And what MicheleS said!

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    So how many hitters have done what Harper did today. two homer runs in first two at bats of the season in their age 20 season?

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Faraz, none have but 2 players followed up a ROY season with 2 HRs on Opening Day – Raul Mondesi and Carlton Fisk.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    1st version was fine with me Michele since I am having cury right now.

  8. SCNatsFan - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    This is going to be a great season… lets remember that when we have the slump all teams do

  9. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    I am guessing zero?

  10. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Fast game!!!

  11. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    GoSM, I am guessing there are good number of players who have hit two homers in first two PAs of the season. thanks for that bit.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    I think I am going to watch these two HRs for a while.

  13. peric - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    161 games left … its a long and grueling haul let's hope Davey gets his wish and they dominate the first quarter like those damned Orioles of the late sixties and early seventies used to. Get out to a 20 game lead as quickly as possible. That's when Davey's managing skills will be tested. He'll have to keep them primed and ready to reach the playoffs. There's always a miracle mets team that could come out of nowhere … a team like the Cubs …

  14. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Faraz, yes but none like Bryce Harper. Again, he is doing things no other player has done.In his 3rd at-bat he wanted to go for it. It will be interesting to see what PitchF/X shows on his 3rd and 4th at-bats. I think he expanded his strike zone and that's what Bryce shouldn't do as he has to stay within himself and take what the game gives him. That's what Bonds was so good at. You have to work your walks and not help the pitcher.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Credit to Ryan Z because if he doesn't turn that Web Gem 5-3 in the 1st, the Nats are losing 1-0 to start the game.I think Ramos called a great game. Great pitch selection.

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Faraz, I was biting my tongue as I thought Nolasco was going to give Bryce a ball way inside as a message. Luckily he didn't.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    And take notice how Soriano looked now that the lights are on.Expect the same type of uptick in performance by Haren, as well.

  18. Smatt1001 - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Great start to the season, especially given all the pain the Marlins have inflicted over the years.

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    NatsJack, right you are!

  20. MicheleS - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Also good call by Wilson to go out and calm Clipp down

  21. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    NatsJack, think of how Spring Training works. On that ball to RZim in the 1st that if the same situation was in ST he let's it go through as he won't dive for it and it's 1-0.It's those type of plays that change how the game works. The intensity level isn't there for the starters in ST.

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    NatsJack, your buddy Colin Cowgill with a Grand Slam…….

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Colin Cowgill…….who knew?

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    MicheleS said… Also good call by Wilson to go out and calm Clipp down April 01, 2013 3:39 PM For all the grief Ramoose gets here on throws to the plate, he caught 2 of them today plus did his work with the bat and called a great game and like you said got the amp'd up Klip calmed down.Like a grizzled Veteran!

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Ghost….right you are….there is no adrenelin rush during ST for the veterans.

  26. JaneB - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Looks like four ROYs hit homers in their first game back before The Kid. I predict a rash of fans in tucking their shirts after Sorisno closes, like he does. They will tuck them in just to UNTUCK them.I love these guys very much. Man oh man.

  27. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    But- did Soriano untuck? Or is he leaving that in NY?

  28. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    So I see that the Mets have scored 11 runs in 7 innings. Think they can keep that up?

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    baseballswami, of course Raf did the un-tuck!!!

  30. Theophilus T. S. - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Untucked.

  31. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    He pitches like that and he can untuck everyone's shirt after the game. I have to admit I am glad it's not something over the top, like the bow and arrow or Valverde dance.

  32. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Oh, and how about Ramos today? So happy for him.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Ghost….right you are….there is no adrenelin rush during ST for the veterans. April 01, 2013 3:46 PM Bryce didn't stretch 1 single into a double or a double into a triple in ST.I think Davey would be p*ssed if these guys risked themselves for essentially meaningless games.It's now "GAME ON"!

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    baseballswami, so long as Valverde has that cap on straight.Some of these players that have to disrespect the game like that is what irks me. I like the bow and arrow as it became his signature move just like I enjoy some of the TD celebrations that aren't over the top like that idiot T.O..

  35. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    This Dodger pregame stuff is awfull.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    OK…..now that Koufax is out there, I'll relent…..but just a little.

  37. Pete - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    All hail Buffalamos.

  38. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:13 PM

    I hope the Giants crush em.

  39. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    So WUSA 9 is doing a 4 pm sports show that has so far been all Nats. Some original coverage and fan interviews. I guess the Nats have really arrived as a sports power in DC!!

  40. Anna Peregrina - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    I'm watching Cubbies, my mother's old team, to try and wind down from the Nats … Samardzija pitching a heck of a game, 3-hit shutout after 8.

  41. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Soriano was in total command. Man, that was impressive.Ryan's arm looked as good as it has in years. Nolasco had his number today, but he looked like the old gold glover at 3rd.The veterans didn't show up at the plate today (Zim, Werth, ALR), but the kid covered for them, in spades. He picked up right where he left off in ST. Good to see Span get his first hit as a Nat, and Ramos looks great.SS looked totally relaxed. Except for one bobble by Desi, the Nats defense looked solid. Those guys cover the OF, and the IF.Ho hum. They made it look easy.

  42. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    One of the many things I like about this team is the fact that today Bruce carried it, another day he will be cold and they will carry it. So many ways this team can hurt you.

  43. MicheleS - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Swami.. Bruce? LOL your autocorrect needs to have Bryce put in

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Laddie, well said and good overall summation. Today felt old-school pitchers duel to me. I will take it!

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    MicheleS, Bruce Harper, Bruce Wayne becomes Bat-man.Have you seen what Bryce Harper can do with a Bat?

  46. mick - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    My overall impressions today, almost a text book perfect way for the home town fans to celebrate an opener, 2nd largest home crowd in history, the 2 stud cornerstones Strass and Haper were the MVP, Ramos looks 100% back both defensively and offensively, what Zim, Espi and ALR could not do at the plate they more than made it up in the field, and Soriano is sick!!!! Great day!

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    mick is bringing it too! By the way and just for fun, Mike Trout K'd in his 1st at-bat today!

  48. peric - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Kind of interesting observation by Bob Boone the other day:"Now", Boone said, "the Nationals’ Class AAA outfield, all players developed from their system, may be better than their major league outfield from 2009." Looking at they have down in Syracuse with Brown, Komatsu, and Perez starting plus Chris Rahl as the fourth outfielder? That outfield might be better then what Bo Porter has in Houston. Even with the great games by Ankiel and Maxwell and with former Athletic Chris Carter.

  49. JD - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    "Now", Boone said, "the Nationals’ Class AAA outfield, all players developed from their system, may be better than their major league outfield from 2009." Really?Brown and Komatsu were both acquired in trades.

  50. realdealnats - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Caught the game from the 5th inning on on 1500 am driving home from Cape Cod. Picked it up right after the Delaware Bridge. Connecticut traffic had been super tough with volume and accidents taking 6 hours to NYC, but man, hearing the game from Delaware on made the rest of the trip zip by. Really did play out like a movie script. Wednesday the first of the sequels…

  51. peric - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Michael Burgess, Bowden's 1S pick that never made it and was traded along with AJ Morris to the Cubs for Gorzelanny is also now a member of the Astros.

  52. peric - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    Brown and Komatsu were both acquired in trades.And so was Ramos? Right? He was also briefly a Nats top prospect.The system was rebuilt via the draft but ALSO by canny trades. Such as the one that acquired Michael Morse.

  53. peric - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Still far too many ex-Ori-holio fans here.

  54. mick - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    good to see you Ghost!

  55. sm13 - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Great day at the park. The crowd has arrived, along with the club.Let's not forget the play by Ramos to throw behind Polanco — set up by Bryce's bullet throw to home to freeze Stanton and ended by another bullet from Danny to get Stanton at home. That was a fundamentally sound, perfectly executed play. Also, great to see Stras "pitching" with total command — inducing those easy grounders and not overthrowing trying to get Ks.

  56. natsfan1a - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Yeah, that was fun.On another note, I *think* I just bought drinks for everybody who didn't already have one from me over on the NIDO. Happy opening day. :-)

  57. ehay2k - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Was at the ballpark today and was sitting in different seats from the normal ones in our syndicate. I was a little bummed, because these seats were in RF. I am so happy now, because we were in Section 140, where Bryce dropped his bombs! He hit the first one and we knew from the sound and trajectory it had a real good chance. On the Second bomb, we were not as certain, because the wind was really swirling, and we didn't hear it as well. No worries though.Stras looked free and easy. We were loving the defense, especially the 7-2-3-4-2 DP. As soon as Harper caught it, we knew Stanton could not go home. When Ramos threw to get Polanco (was it him?), then as soon as Stanton broke for home we knew he was toast. Was at the Yankees exhibition game, and very similar play that the Nats did not execute well and it cost them a run. Gotta hand it to them, they learn fast!Can't win 'em all if you don't win the opener!GYFNG!!!

  58. Section 222 - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Great day for sure. A few sprinkles and pretty breezy, but by far the warmest weather on Opening Day since they opened Nats Park. And what a game. The place went crazy after Harper's first home and absolutely exploded after the second. I have a feeling we're going to witness something very special this year with him.The play in the seventh may given us a glimpse of just how good this team is going to be. As Davey said after the game, Bryce's throw was too high, so Zim couldn't cut it off and go immediately to second, but the team made a perfect play otherwise. Ramos stayed near home so he could cover rather than running at the runner, and Espi made a strong and sure throw home. Just so nice to see them execute defensively. I have to disagree with Laddie on Zim's arm though. The throw after his great diving stop in the 1st was adequate, but not that strong, and he had to do it submarine, which meant it took him longer to get it over there. He made an extra hop on his other throw too, making the play closer than it should have been. Jury's still out on that I'm afraid.Soriano was superb, as was Clip once he settled down. That's one heckuva a back end of the bullpen we have, and Storen didn't even pitch. Soriano definitely untucked, that was fun to see. Loved Take on Me during the stretch, and the crowd did too. I saw some people complaining about it on Twitter, which I just don't get. Disrespectful to Morse? A gimmick rather thank organic? Please. And one last thing. Did anyone notice that Waste Management has a promo where they up on the scoreboard the total number of broken bats this year (presumably at Nats Park — there were 4 so far). I wonder how Louisville Slugger feels about that….

  59. natsfan1a - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    I believe they had the broken bat promo last year as well.

  60. sm13 - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    222 – I agree about Zim's arm — he still won't go fully overhand, choosing to throw submarine and three quarters instead.Also agree on "take on me" — everyone we saw was happy to sing along. Some folks just like to complain!

  61. peric - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Again, there is a pretty good plan in place for Zim's replacement. He should be in AAA before June I expect. I'm more worried about who the "young manager with energy" is going to be to replace Davey. Bo Porter seemed a pretty good choice. But after that I'm not sure about the other possibilities in house.

  62. natsfan1a - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    On the song, it's funny, because I felt like I didn't really get attached to Morse. I liked his bat, but I wasn't really sad when he left, as some were. But when they played the song today and everyone started singing along, I found myself tearing up. That was a surprise. NatsNut said it's because I'm a softie but I don't know. :-)

  63. sm13 - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    I didn't tear up, but I did think good thoughts for Michael. It's okay to be a softie, 1a.

  64. peric - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Michael Morse genuinely love the DC fan base. He wasn't pandering to anyone he was very genuine … from the way he would pat himself on the helmet for doing good with a homer or even getting Jayson Werth to do the same when he was in a slump. Morse was a very genuine gentle Giant Harmon Killebrew type player. He tended to grow on folks, even on those who weren't his fans. Seattle will be a tough sell for him, I hope he manages to do the same there.

  65. NatsNut - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Great game today and ditto on most of the gushing going on here. Another thing I was happy about was Strasburg, Clippard and Ramos throwing to first more to hold the runners on. Clip almost overthrew LaRoche once, but I was telling my buddy, as long as we keep trying, maybe we will lose the reputation of being an easy steal.

  66. NatsNut - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Oh yea, Take On Me. I almost forgot. Man, it made me really miss that guy. And you thought you were such a tough guy, 1a.

  67. natsfan1a - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    I guess I'm fake tough, like Hamels.

  68. Rich P. - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    The more bats that break, the more bats Louisville Slugger sells.

  69. Joe Seamhead - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    On the subject of songs, I was flying high when Werth's one walk up was "Werewolves in London," as it was Nats Jack's idea, but I threw it at first Rizzo, and then directly at Jayson while in Florida, and both said they loved the idea. Pretty cool, eh, Jack?I think everybody is over analyzing Zimmerman's throws. He made very good plays, he takes a split second to set when he has time, Johnson thought he looked great.

  70. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Stras has gotten a little better with the interviews, but seems to have absolutely no sense of humor. I am ok with that since I know he is a pitcher and not a talk show host. But sometimes his interviews are just painful to watch. I wish there was a game tomorrow….

  71. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    "I have to disagree with Laddie on Zim's arm though. The throw after his great diving stop in the 1st was adequate, but not that strong, and he had to do it submarine, which meant it took him longer to get it over there. He made an extra hop on his other throw too, making the play closer than it should have been."Those things are relative. Both of his throws over to first today were right on the money, and much stronger than similar efforts from last year. If you saw Friday's game, you know Youkilis turned a routine grounder into a 2-base error by throwing wildly to first and into the RF corner. Zim made a spectacular diving stop, got up and threw a strike to ALR on a much more difficult play today. I'll take what I saw today over what I saw last year from Zim, any time. Heck, he just started throwing a few weeks ago after an operation and a rehab that took all winter. Be realistic in your expectations. He is not going to be 100% right out of the gate. Who would be? The Yanks can have Youkilis and his "wild thing" arm. I'll take Zim.

  72. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    "I think everybody is over analyzing Zimmerman's throws. He made very good plays, he takes a split second to set when he has time, Johnson thought he looked great."Johnson is right. All things considered, he has come a long way in a short period of time. Zim was my biggest worry going into ST. I am more encouraged with each passing day that he is coming around.

  73. Joe Seamhead - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Laddie, I just watched the replay of the play in the first, and I don't give a hoot what anybody else says, that was an All Star play from the stop to the throw.

  74. baseballswami - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    I agree with all those points about Ryan. I still cannot believe how much he did for the team lady year, basically with one arm. He is just starting out and he can do that?

  75. BornInDC - Apr 3, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Joe Seamhead is my new hero! Loved the story behind "Werewolf."

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 77 57 --
ATLANTA 71 65 7.0
MIAMI 68 68 11.0
NEW YORK 63 73 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 62 73 15.5
Through Saturday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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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)...

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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