(click HERE to see what you missed in Wednesday's GameThread .)
I have to admit I didn't imagine that the Washington Nationals would get swept in the first series of the season. I wasn't guaranteeing two out of three on the road in my mind either....But swept?...The Florida Marlins have been picked to finish ahead of the Nationals in every NL East preview I've seen, but I thought DC would at least get to the Marlins' third starter, 22-year-old Chris Volstad, but he was lined up against the perpetual project, Daniel Cabrera, who, at 27, still shows signs of potential, but more often than not just proves unreliable, one inning or even one batter to the next...
In his first regular season start with the Nationals, Daniel Cabrera was handed an early 2-0 lead, and he held Florida off the board in the first two frames in spite of walking batters in each inning. Cabrera even held the lead at 2-1 after Emilio Bonifacio singled, stole second, took third on a throwing error and then scored on John Baker's RBI single in the third...
...So after a 1-2-3 fourth, a quality start seemed possible...Cabrera even got two outs in the fifth, though a leadoff single moved around to third on a sac bunt and a groundout...2 outs, 2-1 lead, man on third...No problem!...Hanley Ramirez singles...1st and third, 2 outs, 2-1 lead, slight problem. Jorge Cantu, HBP, bases loaded. (Expletive Deleted). Two fastballs later, Dan Uggla's cleared the bases with a double. 5-1 Marlins. Cabrera would come back with a scoreless sixth, but the five runs were all Florida would need, winning 6-4 over DC for the sweep.
Cabrera's line: (L, 0-1, 7.50 ERA), 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 94 pitches, 57 strikes, 8 groundouts, 6 flyouts, 4 K's.
Volstad's line: (W, 1-0, 1.80 ER), 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 92 pitches, 50 strikes, 4 groundouts, 3 flyouts, 7 K's.
Dolphin Stadium Attendance:
Home Opener vs Nationals: 34,323
Game 2 vs Nationals: 11, 124
Game 3 vs Nationals: 13, 308
How many fans do you think will turn out for the Washington Nationals' home opener? How many paying customers do you think will have come or will originally have been from Philadelphia?
What Have You Done, Stan Kasten?...
I wrote a note about this right before the game the other day, but I thought I'd just mention again that Stan Kasten is turning to Philly fans to fill Nationals Park on Opening Day...according to Washington Post writer Dan Steinberg in an D.C. Sports Bog post entitled, "Stan Kasten sings a hymn to Philly fans", Mr. Kasten tells Philly fans it would be fun if they came to our park...and I don't even want to quote it, I'll just let you click the link above and I'll prepare to boo every one of the 100 or so times, "Let's Go Phillies" chants break out on Monday...
LET'S GO NATS GO!!!
Reading Material: MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Willingham airs playing time issues", convinces me even further that the Nationals will deal Josh Willingham.
Federal Baseball.com Interview Series with Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog.com...
I answered a few questions for Matt Cerrone's MetsBlog.com and they were published as a series of roundtable segments throughout the day yesterday:
Q: Which hitter in the NL East do you fear most, i.e. the guy from an opposing team who you do not want see at bat in a big spot?
My Answer (short version): Chipper Jones.
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being 100 percent confident, how much confidence do you have in your team's ability to win the NL East?
My Answer: (short version): 3-4, but we get Strasburg.
Q: Which starting pitcher from the NL East do you fear most, i.e. the guy from an opposing team who you do not want to see on the mound in a big game?
My Answer: (short version): I said Johan Santana unless we're talking playoffs, but got edited...then I said it was Cole Hamels, who, you'll remember was (1-1) in 3 starts and 22.1 IP against DC last year...in which he allowed just 1 run, posting a 0.40 ERA and a .177 BAA...
Q: Which team in the NL East will not win the division, and why?
My Answer: (short version): The Nationals...did you ask just to make me say it?
Q: If you could steal one player from an opposing team in the NL East, and put him on your favorite team, who would it be and why?
My Answer: (short version): Hanley Ramirez...
(ed. note - "Thanks, Mr. Cerrone.")
Latest Headline: Nationals Drop Three Straight In Florida.
Wednesday's Final Score: 6-4 Marlins.
Nationals now 0-3.
Next Game: Washington at Atlanta - Friday at 7:30 pm EST on MASN HD and MLB.tv.