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Stars shine on Opening Day

Apr 2, 2013, 12:00 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper got a curtain call after hitting his second homer.

They have become the two most prominent faces of the Nationals, and really, two of the most prominent faces of baseball despite the fact each is in his young 20s and combined they’ve only played 184 games in the major leagues.

On a team loaded with talent and expected by everyone to do great things this year, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg still manage to stand out above the rest. They alone can’t — and won’t — lead the Nationals to October glory. But they’re certainly capable of taking over any given ballgame and leading their team to victory.

And when the stage is brighter than normal, as it was on Opening Day on South Capitol Street, they sure do have a knack for rising to the occasion.

“Even though they’re young guys, they have experience at the big-league level,” reliever Tyler Clippard said. “With those two things in combination with their ability, it gives us as a team a lot of confidence that they’re putting the ‘W’ up on their backs and not any other uniforms. I’m glad they’re on our team.”

So were the 45,274 fans who crammed themselves into Nationals Park this afternoon and witnessed the closest thing to Opening Day perfection they’re likely to ever see in person. Strasburg: Seven scoreless innings. Harper: Two home runs. The Nationals: A convincing, 2-0 victory over the Marlins to get perhaps the most-anticipated season in Washington baseball history off to a flying start.
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  1. MicheleS - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    It is going to be an absolute Joy to watch these two play the next few years. Also, was glad to see Soriano pitch well, that pitch that he struck Stanton out on, wow, Giancarlo should have smacked that

  2. NatsNut - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    Mark, you're in mid-season form tonight.

  3. Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    Great game from Strasburg and Soriano just looked sick! It's a good day to be a Nats fan!

  4. MicheleS - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    Nice quote from Stras on Ramos:“He’s a big target,” Strasburg said. “Receives really well. And once we get on the same page, it’s just like auto-pilot. You just go out there and don’t overanalyze or overthink, and just throw the pitch.”

  5. Candide - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Met Joe Seamhead and Scooter behind 312 before the game; were there any other NIers there? SJM, where were you?It was a glorious game, apart from the fact that it got progressively colder as the day went on, and I got a $25 parking ticket because the meter I was at was busted, even though it clearly said "FAIL" in the window of the meter and I'd called it in to the meter repair line. Ticket indicates you can fight it online. I took several pictures of the busted meter and got a text message confirmation that I'd reported it. Anyone have any experience dealing with these things?Grrrr…

  6. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    I understand that Soriano is a reserved guy and probably won't talk much to reporters, but I would love to know what he is thinking. He was going to lose his closing job if he stayed with the once- storied Yankees. He came here and knocked a popular young closer out of his job. New league, new city, veteran manager. I wonder what he thought of the atmosphere, the fans, the stadium. I wonder if he will ever warm up. Gio and Det might eventually wear him down.

  7. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    After today's performance, do you think any of the media would like to adjust their 2013 HR predictions for Bryce?Sorry I missed the NI'ers: coming directly from work, and I wanted to be in my seat before the game started. In future games, I'll be in 313, so easily able to join the group.ArVAFan

  8. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    Swami, I can't speak for Soriano, but I know some people are good with a roomful, and some people get nervous talking to more than three or four people at once, but have no problems at all in face-to-face conversation. Just a thought.

  9. snopes1 - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Re the earlier discussion of Jayson Werth and "The Werewolves of London." My friend from Atlanta says the organist down there plays "Jesus Christ Superstar" whenever Werth comes to bat.There are a lot of opportunities here: "Hair" (Original Broadway Cast) "Women Go Crazy for a Sharp-Dressed Man" (ZZ Top)"Little Red Riding Hood" (Sam the Sham) " "Trogdolyte (Caveman)" (Jimmy Castor Bunch) "Take a Walk on the Wild Side" (Lou Reed) "Almost Cut My Hair" (Crosby Stills, Nash & Young) "Cookie Cookie Lend Me Your Comb" (Connie Stevens & Ed Byrnes).

  10. Gonat - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    MicheleS said…Nice quote from Stras on Ramos:“He’s a big target,” Strasburg said. “Receives really well. And once we get on the same page, it’s just like auto-pilot. You just go out there and don’t overanalyze or overthink, and just throw the pitch.”April 01, 2013 8:52 PM_________________________________When the discussion of Opening Day catcher went on and the comparison to Joe Mauer and Pudge, that was the comment about "Big Target" and like Pudge "calls a great game".For Stras to say that, very cool!

  11. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    Sec3— not criticizing the guy, he seems like a good person. I would just love to know what he is thinking about all things Natitude.

  12. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    Candide – my sincere apologies. I posted earlier that it was just a perfect afternoon and I had snagged a seat outside at Justins and my step-daughter was just a tad late so I sacrificed the NI meeting for outside time with her (and a nice craft beer). Promise I will come lurking around on Saturday the 13th.Mark it's a marathon not a sprint. I realize you have no innings limit this year but we will need posts all the way through October so please let Chase be the closer here. Seriously, so much great stuff to read (including the comments).Go Nats!!

  13. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Don't get me wrong- I love to see the Foolies lose as much as the next person. But the Barves fans, the chopping , the fake tomahawks- it makes me quite nauseous. Uggla's shmedium shirts that don 't fit his guns. Have you noticed that Kimbrel's face turns funny colors when he pitches? Ugh. It really and truly is going to be a marathon.

  14. Gonat - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    Cole Hamels got hit hard and the Phillies hit Hudson around. Definitely not a pitcher's showcase.

  15. peric - Apr 2, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    Its very early … still the idea of batting Harper 3rd in his 2nd year and keeping Werth in the batting order in front of him continues to appear to pay dividends. That's one part of the batting order Davey is unlikely to touch. JZimm is just as important as Stras and Gio and Detwiler have equal importance … all still pretty young and still learning.

  16. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    But Peric, Wouldn't be nice if Span and Werth actually hit on base in front of Harper????? That has to happen. I know it was only one game, but…

  17. Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Yes, it was only one game. Patience, Grasshopper.

  18. 320R2S15 - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Best opener in my memory. Made me glad to be alive, and the best part was that I don't remember seeing one single Marlins fan yesterday. Contrast that to that opener vs the Phillies a few years ago, they shouted down Ryan when he got his awards. Hatefull people. Speaking of Ryan, I'm worried about him.

  19. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    There was at least one Marlins fan. Screech tracked him down and played an April Fools' joke on him. I also saw a couple on the Metro. So they were there, but outnumbered about 45,000 to 10.ArVAFan

  20. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    That was actually a great April Fool's trick and I have to give the fan credit for being a good sport. Philly fan would have tried to punch Screech.Swami – I can't believe after one game you are critical of anything. ONE GAME. We had 5 hits, their guys pitched well. Its baseball. We will lose 60 games or so. Get ready for 6 months of baseball and not one game. Guess what, Harper will not hit two home runs every game and Werth will not go hitless every game. Strasburg will get hit hard, Zimm will make some bad throws. All we have to do is win 2 of every 3 games. Enjoy it my friend and stop with the worry. By the way, Span was on base late in the game and Harper "failed" to bring him in with his 3rd homerun. Just horrible huh? I think a comment above was absolutely right on. This might have been the best opener yet. Missed just one thing, my son had to miss.Go Nats!!!

  21. Navy Nats Fan - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    ArVAFan – That Marlins fan sure looked a lot like the Phillies Fan who was punked during the "Take Back The Park" homestand last year. And I think he has a side job as part of the Nats Pack. Did you know that the word gullible is not in the dictionary?

  22. sjm308 - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Maybe I am the definition?

  23. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Indeed, hehe.Rafael Soriano then entered for his first appearance with the franchise and announced his presence with authorityNatsNut said… Mark, you're in mid-season form tonight. April 01, 2013 8:21 PM

  24. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    hmmm, he must have been saving it for the regular season. While watching one of the ST games, I remarked to my hubby, "Hey, Uggla actually has some give in his jersey."baseballswami said… Uggla's shmedium shirts that don 't fit his guns. April 01, 2013 10:13 PM

  25. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Yeah, as soon as we saw he was a "Marlins fan," we knew it was staged.Navy Nats Fan said… ArVAFan – That Marlins fan sure looked a lot like the Phillies Fan who was punked during the "Take Back The Park" homestand last year. And I think he has a side job as part of the Nats Pack. Did you know that the word gullible is not in the dictionary? April 02, 2013 7:24 AM

  26. baseballswami - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Just for sjm308— won't it be absolutely wonderful and incredible WHEN Span and Werth get on base in front of Bryce, who will be scalding the cover off the ball most of the time??? Couple of the veterans had some difficulties with Nolasco. Yes, I am aware that it won't stay that way.Great opener- my personal favorite will remain opening night in Nats Park when Zim hit the walk off.

  27. NatsNut - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Yesterday 1a channeled Ryan talking to Bryce: "Hey, I'M the cleanup hitter here."

  28. MicheleS - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Swami, Nolasco has ALWAYS pitched us tough. Remember the Fish have always been tough against us. This year is our year to pounce on them and pound them since the guys that were pests (Reyes, bonafacio, Johnson) are now playing for the Blue Jays. Nolasco and Giancarlo are the only ones left. Just because Loria is a buffoon, you can't look past the competition.

  29. Nattering Nat - Apr 2, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Indeed, a storybook Opener. You can't make this stuff up—and be credible, anyway.Did anyone else notice that with The Kid up the second time, literally the clouds parted and the sun came out, shining on him before he hit his second HR? And then disappeared again? I said to my seat-mate, "give me a break! This happens in The Natural, not in real life!"I DVRd the game. That first Harper at-bat was a shot of electricity. One random question–why is the audio on MASN so bad? I have a stereo system, no other channel–none–sounds tinny, but the audio on MASN for the game was muffled, except for some commercials. Noticed same thing in the last televised ST game. Not usually a conspiracy theorist, but this has me wondering….

  30. Joe Seamhead - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Every Opening Day is my favorite, and I've been to all of them, including the first one in Philly in 2005. I am just so thankful to have baseball back here. Every game I go to to I appreciate. Keeping yesterday in perspective is hard after the storybook heroics of Strasburg and Harper. Those knocking, or seeing deficiencies in Ryan Zimmerman's throws, come across as just looking for something to knit-pick about his throws. Let's wait and see if A; he hurts from throwing them, or B; he starts throwing wildly. That play in the first was a great play from the diving stop, to the making of the throw. To the one or two geniuses on here that question Harper being in LF and Werth in RF, that will change someday, but it sure worked out the way they were aligned yesterday. I don't think Jayson makes that throw to the plate that Harper made.And though some would call the 2013 Marlins a AAAA team, that was certainly a major league lineup that Soriano carved up in the 9th.Sec 417, the beer venders started yelling "Bryce" Cold Beer after his 1st HR.GYFNG!!!

  31. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Well, you *did* kinda set it up on a tee for me. :-)NatsNut said… Yesterday 1a channeled Ryan talking to Bryce: "Hey, I'M the cleanup hitter here." April 02, 2013 8:32 AM

  32. NCNatsie - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Also in the "did anyone notice" category: Jason Werth's beard. Ample, but freshly and neatly trimmed for Opening Day. During Spring Training he looked like something out of Duck Dynasty, but yesterday, he had the appearance of a distinguished 19th century gentleman.

  33. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Beards seem to be the order of the day, but somehow I can't see them getting either of the Zimmer-men(n) on that. Probably not LaRoche. "Last player on the 25-man to sport facial hair" — I think I have to go with Jordan.

  34. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Swami, from higher up in the thread–yes, I realized you weren't criticizing, and I was just wondering out loud where that sort of info might be gotten. I'd like to hear, too.

  35. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    On a related note, maybe we could take up a collection to have Desi's 'stache Photoshopped out of his scoreboard pic (kinda puts me in mind of Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite). Any takers? I believe that NatsNut is on board. :-)

  36. LoveDaNats - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    natsfan1a said…On a related note, maybe we could take up a collection to have Desi's 'stache Photoshopped out of his scoreboard pic (kinda puts me in mind of Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite). Any takers? I believe that NatsNut is on board. :-)OR Snidley Whiplash

  37. natsfan1a - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Too short for that, and needs wax. :-)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 75 57 --
ATLANTA 69 64 6.5
MIAMI 65 66 9.5
NEW YORK 62 71 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 61 72 14.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
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, 4:10 p.m.
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