Happy Opening Day, everyone!
This is my first ever live game blog, so I will do my best. I will try and update this after every inning or when something outrageous happens (like Zimm-Dunn-Willingham going back-to-back-to-back).
I am listening on MLB.com’s Gameday Audio and trying to get an feed of MASN online.
My first note: Ryan Zimmerman is being presented with the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards. Congratulations, Ryan! The video describing the Silver Slugger explained that the voters take into account such statistics as batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as a general depiction of the batter. What does that mean? He looks good when he hits? I guess so…
1:06 PM: Obama is sporting a personalized Nationals jacket…but he just took out a (gasp) White Sox hat? Mr. President, what is wrong with you?!?! The pitch is high and outside, salvaged by Zimmerman.
1:09 PM: I forgot to mention the starting lineups as well as the weather.
Per Mark Zuckerman at NatsInsider, it is 73 degrees, partly cloudy, and 11 mph wind blowing out toward CF.
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
LF Raul Ibanez
CF Shane Victorino
C Carlos Ruiz
P Roy Halladay
CF Nyjer Morgan
RF Willie Harris
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
SS Ian Desmond
P John Lannan
1:14 PM: Lannan’s first pitch is a ball. 2010 is underway!
1:21 PM: Excitement already in the Nation’s capital. Lannan gives up a leadoff single to Rollins. Following two flyball outs, Rollins stole second. Howard hit a groundball to short stop Ian Desmond, who booted it, allowing Howard to reach first. But a heads up play by Dunn and Rodriguez allowed the Nationals to throw Jimmy Rollins out at home. 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 error, 1 left on base. After one half of an inning, it’s 0-0.
1:24 PM: The Nationals’ first hit of the year belongs to Nyjer Morgan, who beats out a groundball in the hole to short stop!
1:27 PM: Ryan Zimmerman’s long drive to center field drives home Morgan for the Nationals’ first run of the new year!
1:32 PM: The Nationals get on the board first with a Nyjer Morgan single and stolen base and a Ryan Zimmerman double. Harris and Dunn both strike out looking, and Kennedy pops out to short stop. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on base. After one inning, it’s 1-0 Nats!
1:40 PM: Three quick outs for Lannan. Through two innings, Lannan has gotten four fly outs, 1 ground out, and 1 runner thrown out on the bases (although, induced by a groundball error). No strikeouts. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on base. In the middle of the second, it’s 1-0 Nats!
1:47 PM: A leadoff double by Pudge (that’s fun to type) is squandered by strikeouts by Desmond, swinging (be patient with him, folks), and Lannan, looking, and a soft lineout by Morgan. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on base. Through 2, it’s 1-0 Nats!
1:55 PM: See what the DH does? Ruiz leads off the inning with a walk but is forced out at second on a failed bunt attempt by Halladay. Rollins flies out and Polanco grounds out. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, and 0 left on base. After 2 and a half innings, it’s 1-0 Nats!
2:01 PM: Nothing doing here for the Nats. A flyout and two strike outs against the heart of the order. It seems like Halladay has really settled in. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, and 0 left on base. Through 3, it’s 1-0 Nats!
2:16 PM: What’s the worst thing in baseball? A lead off walk. You can’t play with fire. Lannan’s second lead off walk in as many innings comes around to score as the next batter, Ryan Howard, hits an absolute moon shot on a hanging curve (I saw the replay on ESPN). Lannan is really laboring now, and it’s just about time to make the call to the bullpen. Righty Tyler Walker and lefty Jesse English are warming up.
2:20 PM: A “nightmarish” top of the fourth inning, according to the brilliantly patient men in the radio booth. I feel bad for Charlie and Dave who have to suffer for 162 games for a living…Lannan’s day is done, but his stat line may not be. He leaves the bases loaded, after giving up five runs, to rookie Jesse English, who is making his Major League Debut.
2:25 PM: English induces the ground out by Howard. Lannan’s final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR; a rough start to the season. It was the leadoff walks that got him. 5 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors, 3 left on base. In the middle of the fourth, it is 5-1 Phillies.
2:31 PM: Halladay is just eating up the Nationals. A leadoff single is erased by a double play, sandwiching a strike out by Kennedy in between. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, and 0 left on base. After 4, it’s 5-1 Phillies.
2:36 PM: Jesse English, where have you been this whole time? This outing, albeit a small sample, will make it hard to send English down when Hernandez’s turn in the rotation comes around. Three up, three down, and we move to the bottom of the 5th. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, and 0 left on base. 5-1 Phillies.
2:41 PM: When you are an elite pitcher, you can overcome lead off walks. Alberto Gonzalez, pinch hitting for English, erased Desmond’s lead off walk by hitting into a double play. Morgan grounds out to short, and the inning is over. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on base. 5-1 Phillies through 5.
Just a quick note: the Nationals have not had a runner past first base since Ivan Rodriguez’s double in the 2nd inning.
Miguel Batista relieves Jesse English.
2:56 PM: Welcome back, Miguel. There comes a point in every game where you lose hope. I’m pretty sure Batista just gave us that moment. Although, to be fair, he did strike out the first batter of the year for the Nationals. K to BB ratio is now 1-to-4. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on base. It’s 7-1 Phillies as we head to the bottom of the 6th.
3:00 PM: Seven pitches needed to get three outs. Halladay has no thrown 70 pitches threw 6 innings. 7-1 Phillies, end 6th.
3:14 PM: Can we give up now? It is 11-1, following a grand slam by Placido Polanco. Batista’s final line: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO, 12 TBF. For whatever reason, I hear applause at Nationals Park. Why are there so many Phillies fans in our home? Unless something terribly exciting happens, I will not update this until the end of the game. See you then.
4:22 PM: That’s it, folks. Game 1 of 162 is final. The Nationals lose on Opening Day, 11-1. What a killjoy. I will have a separate post on my thoughts of the game.
About the Author
Written by Sam Diament