April 12, 2012: Nats vs. Reds (Home Opener)

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There is nothing like opening day at baseball – the crack of the bats, green fields, movement of bodies.  Add to that beautiful weather, and there’s not much more you can really ask for after a long bleak winter.  And when your team has already spent a week on the road, it’s easy to understand why Nats fans were a little impatient to see our team after the performances that they had put on earlier in the season.  Any time a team comes back from a road trip 4-2, your fans will be eager to see if that performance can be replicated at home.  And Nats fans were in for a treat.

It wasn’t a good win, but it was still a win.  There were lots of good things about it – Gio’s lights out pitching with 7 Ks and 0 walks, LaRoche knocking a 2 RBI single to get the first runs of the game on the board, a fantastic 10th inning by Craig Stammen to keep the Nats in the game, and some smart baserunning by Ryan Zimmerman to close things out.

But there was some ugly too.  This was not Ryan Zimmerman’s game.  In addition to a throwing error in the third, there were 2 hits that went down the third base line that flew right between Zimmy and the foul line.  The people in Maggie’s section kept wondering if those would be counted as errors against #11, but we’re thinking he was just lucky he didn’t get any sort of touch on those balls, or else they WOULD have been counted against him.

Tyler Clippard seemed to struggle a little in the 8th, but worked his way out of the jam, but Brad Lidge could not say the same.  Everyone in Nats Park was hoping for a clean 9th, and to go home happy, but Lidge walked Votto, allowed a double, intentionally walked to fill the bases, and then allowed a hit to a guy whose BA at that point was .071.  Ouch.  Brad is lucky that the next two hitters returned hits that were catchable, because if the Nats had well and truly blown their lead, things would have been ugly in Southwest DC.

As for what’s new around the park…we can’t quite tell you yet.  Maggie and Ashley met up before the game to enjoy $5 beers (no change) at the Scoreboard Walk (and had time to say hello to some twitter friends) before the game started.  Ashley and her husband Drew started making use of their “Eat for the Cycle” cards (Pro tip: you have to ask for one – they’re not just sitting out near the registers), and Maggie and her dad went for old favorites, ordering a half-smoke with chili and cheese and a hamburger and peanuts, respectively.  We’ll try to sample as much of the new offerings as possible throughout the season and let you know what got bumped off the menus to make room.

But for now, let’s celebrate the Nats being in sole possession of first place with their 5-2 record.  Even better?  The Mets and Phillies are starting a series, and will hopefully sabotage each others’ attempts to climb in the standings.  Keep your fingers crossed that the Nats can enjoy the view from the top for a little while longer.

More pictures from the game are here.

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