April 14, 2011: Washington Nationals vs Philadelphia Phillies


Cherry blossoms and the Red Porch

Game: #012 – Nationals vs. Phillies
Starting Pitchers: Jordan Zimmermann (#27) vs Cliff Lee (#33)
Final Score: Nationals: 0, Braves: 4
Nats New Record: 5-7

JZ pitches

So, last night was the first “official” 2011 Phillies invasion of DC.  A hashtag went out on twitter pleading for help to #savenatsparkapril14th.  Maybe it worked?  Or maybe more Phillies fans have gotten jobs since the last time they invaded, because not only was the park not sold out with Phillies fans, I saw only 6 buses, as compared 25 or so last year.  Phillies fans were loud, but they didn’t drown out the Nats fans in attendance.  Add to that a pitcher (Jordan Zimmermann) who had a performance that wasn’t embarrassing (a problem at previous “invasions”), and in fact, went toe to toe with a World Series-caliber pitcher.  A pitcher who Lee himself said that Zimmermann had, “the best fastball I’ve ever seen.”

Das Bullpen

Really, apart from the pitching, the less that is said about that game, the better.  There were a few hopeful moments on defense, and a couple of good hits from the offense, but not enough to make up for the number of poor plays that were made.  Luckily, there’s more to talk about than just the game.  My sister and I had a chance to visit Das Bullpen, the new biergarten across the street from the Half Street entrance to the Navy Yard metro station.  Given the choice, I would probably visit the original Bullpen instead.  The choice in beer is definitely better, but I’d like to see more German beers, since the biergarten is a German concept.  And while I can’t complain about the Hoegaarden I had, I didn’t have a chance to try a bratwurst since the only food line was very slow.

NC-style BBQ

The things that I loved from last night’s ballgame?  My North Carolina-style pulled pork barbecue sandwich from the Teddy’s BBQ stand.  As someone who spent two years in the Tar Heel state eating that style of bbq, I feel more qualified judging it’s authenticity, and the verdict is good.  Just enough of that vinegar-y bite, and juicy meat that doesn’t entirely soak the bun.  Definitely worth it at $9, especially since it comes with a bag of chips.

Ramos at bat

More baseball, you say?  Danny Espinosa had a double in the third inning that looked like it might be the start of some offense (but was shut down when he ran on contact from J-Zimm’s infield blooper).  Ramos had a pretty decent game, getting one of the few hits for the Nats early on in the game, proving that he really is as solid a player as he looks on tv.  Adam LaRoche had a lovely diving/rolling catch in the 9th inning.  Jerry Hairston had a terrible throw to first after just barely snagging a ball – his body was swung back, and he didn’t have a good angle to make the throw to first, instead hooking the throw just to the right of LaRoche, allowing a runner to get home.  Espinosa also had a sad throwing error.  Ugh.  Come on guys – DEFENSE.

(full album from this game can be seen here)

(You may have noticed that our past few posts have been a different style than our usual format.  What do you think?  Should we go back to the old style, or stick with a more narrative format interspersed with more photos?  Let us know in the comments!)


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