Washington’s famed Cherry Blossoms, on average, reach peak bloom on April 4, which would normally be just in time for Opening Day. But this year’s weather has been anything but normal, and the lingering cold weather in March left the Nationals’ Cherry Blossom trees bare when the Nats and Marlins kicked off the season two weeks ago (see below).
They scored zero runs. You don’t win games with zero. It has never happened. It is easy to dwell on what went poorly on Sunday. Gio got hit for a very ugly pitching line. Zimmerman continued his stomach tuning plays throwing the ball at third. The most important take away from the game for me was the National’s bats went silent. Will someone please remind me why Arizona had to trade Justin Upton this offseason?
Good news is that I will be in Atlanta this week. My goal will be to document the reasons to hate the Braves (like you need any more).
The worst part about the weekend is the fans turned out to watch that embarrassing display on the field. Oh and trade everyone on the team, they are obviously overrated.
Last year, 35,489 people bought a ticket to the first Nationals Saturday home game of the season, against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, April 14. Today’s game brought in 41,992 people–the young season’s second sell-out.
Why did 6,503 additional people decide to attend today’s game? There are several likely explanations.
Last year’s starting pitcher was Edwin Jackson, a pitcher so unnoteworthy I forgot he was on the team until I just looked up the game’s box score. This year’s starting pitcher was a gentlemen named Stephen Strasburg, otherwise known as The Biggest Pitching Phenom in a Generation. Last year, the Nats were coming off their sixth straight losing season. This year, they are the defending National League East National Champions. Last year, the opponent was the Cincinnati Reds, the smallest of small market teams. This year, the Nats faced the much-hyped, first-place, mega-market Atlanta Braves, on FOX no less, a small distinction that matters to people for some reason.
Perhaps one, or all, of these reasons explain the attendance bump at Nats Park this afternoon. But the most likely explanation is the Gio Gonzalez bobblehead given to the first 15,000 fans in attendance. People love bobbleheads. The Nats may have lost today, but at least 15,000 people walked away happy. Thanks for coming the stadium today, folks. May your bobblehead bobble on your desk, in your den, or–most likely–in the closet, where it will stay until you throw it away several years from now when Gio Gonzalez is pitching for another team.
They only scored one run. Yep, that’s about it. It does’t matter that Zimmerman had an error that led to two unearned runs. Strasburg appeared to be struggling at times, but ended up giving up zero earned runs. Tim Hudson, who was the Braves opening day starter by the way, pitched a savvy game. He did not out pitch Strasburg, the Braves out scored the Nats. This is a minor but important distinction. Scoring one run is going to lose the game just about every time.
Chris Johnson’s knees buckled on the Stras breaking ball, and then looked back at the dugout and said “damn”.