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WireTaps: Washington Nationals' Opening Day: Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper; Pics; Videos; Links + More

The Washington Nationals started the 2013 season right with Bryce Harper hitting two home runs in a 2-0 win which saw Stephen Strasburg dominate the Miami Marlins from the mound. It was just the first game of the season, but Opening Day is always one of the most exciting days of the year. Let's take a look back...

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No Philly Invasion. No deflating loss on the way to 100 in the loss column. No injuries. Left with nothing to complain about after the Washington Nationals' 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Opening Day on Monday, some out there decided it was completely unacceptable that Stephen Strasburg was "only" allowed to throw 80 pitches in his 2013 debut. Only 80 pitches!?!?! I thought the "shackles" were off? I thought there were no more restrictions??!?!?! What the [expletive deleted]!!?!?! When will they stop babying him? Take the "kid gloves" off!!?!?!? Of course, this all ignores Nats' skipper Davey Johnson's previous comments about how he handles his pitchers early in the regular season. "I dial it back on a lot of my starting pitchers early, whether he's young or old," Johnson told reporters last Friday. The Nats' 70-year-old skipper went to the bullpen after Strasburg threw 7.0 scoreless vs the Fish. Johnson explained his decision in the post game press conference. "Opening Day is always... it drains you thinking about it. It's a long Spring. You come out there Opening Day crowd, all the ceremonies, all the people. Originally I was going to go 90-100 pitches and he gave me 7.0 strong innings and I think about [80] pitches that was it for me."

Were there any signs he was tired?

"No," Johnson said, "I didn't think he was tired even at the end of the game. But, again, first time out, Opening Day, he gave me seven solid innings, I'm not pushing the envelope. Never have. Never will."

"I felt great," Strasburg told reporters after the game. He thought he could have thrown more. "Definitely if it wasn't Opening Day and the first start of the year it would have been a different story." The way he was able to mask his frustration was admirable. On to the links. The post-Opening Day blowout. Links and lots of them (and some pics we took at the Park)... starting RIGHT NOW!!!:


• "Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg announced themselves as a full-season, full-force tandem for the first time on opening day Monday." - "Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg poised to become men in full" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post


• "In the Nationals’ 2-0 Opening Day victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday afternoon, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg issued their opening salvo to the rest of the major leagues: We’ve arrived." - "Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg give Nationals Opening Day win over Marlins" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• Nats Park: 7:00 am EST April 1, 2013:


• "A sellout crowd of 45,274 - the largest paid attendance in Nats Park history - got quite a show this afternoon, as the Nats beat the Marlins 2-0 in their 2013 regular season opener." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper, Strasburg carry Nats to 2-0 opening day win" - Dan Kolko,

• "On his first opening day, [Bryce] Harper blasted a home run in each of his first two at-bats. Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals’ other first overall pick, used his powerful efficiency for seven shutout innings..." - "Bryce Harper hits two homers in Washington Nationals’ 2-0 opening day win over Miami" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "On a team loaded with talent and expected by everyone to do great things this year, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg still manage to stand out above the rest." - "Nats stars shine brightest on Opening Day" - Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington

Harper Homers:

• "'You couldn't draw it up any better,' Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche said. 'And to have the two youngsters go out, do what they did? ... Let Harper and Stras go to work. They didn't need us.'" - "Harper, Strasburg lead Nationals over Marlins 2-0" - Howard Fendrich, AP/

• "This is exactly what the Nationals envisioned when they drafted pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009 and outfielder Bryce Harper with the same choice one year later." - "Bryce Harper starts Nationals off with a bang (or two)" - Brian McNally,

• "[Bryce] Harper climbed to the top step of the dugout and acknowledged the crowd with a wave of his helmet." - "Bryce Harper is youngest with two Opening Day homers" - Tom Schad, News

• Nats Park: 11:00 am EST April 1, 2013:


• "When the Nationals acquired Rafael Soriano, the back end of the bullpen was pushed up an inning, Tyler Clippard to the seventh inning and Drew Storen to the eighth." - "Why Davey Johnson tapped Tyler Clippard for the eighth inning" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Earning the No. 1 pick in the draft is not something a team should aspire to, because you have to be pretty bad to get it. Fortunately for most teams, it is a rarity." - "Opening Day a grand stage for Nationals' young superstars" - Mike Harris, Washington Times

• "[Stephen] Strasburg needed only 80 pitches to carve up Miami batters through seven innings. He finished with three hits allowed, no walks, and just three strikeouts." - "Strasburg efficient as ever in Nats' win" - Chase Hughes,

• "With his mom and dad in attendance along with 45,272 others, Bryce Harper put on a show in the Nationals' regular season opener." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper on his highlight-filled day: 'It was a pretty special moment'" - Dan Kolko,

• "Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos blinked away the tears as he warmed up teammate Stephen Strasburg in the bullpen for Monday's Opening Day victory over the Miami Marlins." - "Nationals' Wilson Ramos emotional in return behind the plate" - Brian McNally,

• "[Wilson] Ramos is just eight months removed from the second of two surgeries on his right knee. The first was to repair his meniscus, the second his anterior cruciate ligament." - "Wilson Ramos was emotional before Opening Day start" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

Davey's Post Game Highlights:

• "After a spring that began with uncertainty and ended with him earning the opening day start, [Wilson] Ramos officially returned to the major leagues in the Nationals’ 2-0 victory." - "Wilson Ramos officially returns to the Nationals from knee surgery" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "A little less than 11 months ago, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos chased after a passed ball during a game in Cincinnati and tore the meniscus in his right knee, ending his season." - "Ramos has strong day in return to action" - Tom Schad and Andrew Simon, News

• "The Washington Nationals opened with a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins before 45,274 at Nationals Park, a game that took just 2 hours, 10 minutes..." - "For the Nationals, this could be the start of something wonderful" - Rick Snider,

• "A winter’s worth of anticipation and six weeks of meaningless games under the Florida sun usually make the opener an emotional affair." - "Thoughts observations and leftovers from a festive opener at Nationals Park" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Jayson Werth made a nice play in the stands to catch it, too. If you're wondering why Jayson Werth is in the stands, just let him be. He woke up there. Don't ask too many questions. In fact, you've looked at Werth long enough. He can feel you staring. Just throw him a raw leg of lamb and back away slowly." - "Bryce Harper hits home run, Jayson Werth catches it "- Grant Brisbee, Baseball Nation

• "[Davey] Johnson said pitching coach Steve McCatty lamented before the season opener that he wished Soriano had a few more spring outings." - "Soriano shows what he can do" - Chase Hughes,

• "In the first inning, [Stephen] Strasburg had only retired two consecutive batters on his way to 19 in a row." - "Ryan Zimmerman’s big defensive day" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post Game Recap:

• "If that's what [Bryce] Harper and [Stephen] Strasburg are able to do at 20 and 24, respectively, how good can they be with a couple more years of experience under their belts?" - "Nationals Pastime: A glimpse into what could be a special few years" - Dan Kolko,

• "Before Washington's game against the Miami Marlins on Monday, the 70-year-old [Davey] Johnson was asked whether it would be his final opening day in uniform." - "Nationals' Johnson unsure what he'll do after 2013" - Howard Fendrich, AP/

• "Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was all smiles as he headed for the clubhouse after the Opening Day win over the Marlins." - "With Opening Day victory, Nationals just saying a mouthful" - Thom Loverro,

• "[Davey] Johnson previously has said this will be his last season as the Nationals' manager. When asked if there are any combination of circumstances that could lead to him returning as manager, Johnson said, 'probably not.'" - "Davey reiterates that 2013 opener is likely last" - Thom Schad and Andrew Simon, News

• "The slender man emerged from the tunnel, blue suede shoes crunching on red dirt surrounding the field at Nationals Park." - "Clint Romesha's quiet Opening Day tribute a reminder of true heroism" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "[Denard] Span spent spring training growing accustomed to how Werth and Harper align themselves in the outfield, how much ground each can cover and what each of their voices sound like calling for balls." - "Denard Span debuts as a National" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "'All that stuff just wears away,' said shortstop Ian Desmond. 'It is just words from people that aren't playing.'" - "Opening day even more special to Nationals after last season's success" - Byron Kerr,

• "[Ian] Desmond has said he has no desire to play anywhere else, but he’s also in no hurry to sign an extension with three seasons in front of him before any potential free agency." - "Nationals notes: Ian Desmond focused on winning, not new contract" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Asked about any ongoing negotiations before Monday’s game, [Ian] Desmond danced around the matter. His answer echoed the sentiment he shared earlier this spring: he sees no need for urgency." - "How Elvis Andrus’s deal could affect Ian Desmond" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The Marlins could use the good mojo on Tuesday against lefty Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals' loaded lineup." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - April 3, 2013" - Joey Nowak, Preview

• "There was plenty for [Davey] Johnson to like about today's effort, but [Stephen] Strasburg and [Bryce] Harper were paramount in his mind." - "Nationals Pastime: Johnson discusses Nats' opening day victory" - Dan Kolko,

• "Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said assistant GM Bryan Minniti has been in touch with [Chris] Young’s representatives." - "Nationals remain in touch with Chris Young" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'You see what I see. It’s incredible,' [Rick] Eckstein said. 'This young man has really shown us what he is capable of doing.'" - "Eckstein on Harper: ‘At a loss for words’" - Bill Ladson, All Nats All the Time

• Nats Park: 12:00 pm EST April 1, 2013:

Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama):


• "LOSERS: People who hoped Stephen Strasburg would be off his his leash this year. Strasburg was dominant in the Washington Nationals' 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins. He threw seven shut-out innings, allowing only three hits. But he got pulled after only 80 pitches." - "The winners and losers of opening day" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo! Sports

• "After a hard-fought, closely-followed battle, Bryce Harper beat out former relief pitcher Micah Owings for the starting left field position in Washington." - "Surely There Is a Roster Spot for Micah Owings Somewhere" - Bradley Woodrum, FanGraphs Baseball

• "Sounds like Ian Desmond is in line for a contract extension" - Craig Calcaterra, HardballTalk

• "But Bryce Harper staked out his place as the most must-see player in baseball -- and, if you're being honest, the most must-see player in sports." - "Morning Win salutes the 5 most must-see athletes in sports" - Dan Shanoff, USA TODAY Sports

• "But Bryce Harper staked out his place as the most must-see player in baseball -- and, if you're being honest, the most must-see player in sports." - "Morning Win salutes the 5 most must-see athletes in sports" - Dan Shanoff, USA TODAY Sports

• "As if that wasn't enough, his first dinger was caught by a Jayson Werth look-alike dressed in a Nats uniform and sporting a beard and sunglasses." - "Werthy look-alike at Nationals game" - Tom Mahon, Philadelphia Daily News

• "It never gets old, watching a talented young ballplayer navigate the learning curve and realize his potential on the way to bigger and better things." - "Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg make it a fun opener for Washington Nationals" - Jerry Crasnick, ESPN

• "Meanwhile, thirsty fans pay the most at Washington Nationals games -- where, unless they take advantage of a $5 drink special before the first pitch, the cheapest beer available is a 16-ounce can for $8." - "Which baseball stadiums have the highest food prices" - Melanie Hicken, CNN


Nats Park: 1:00 pm EST April 1, 2013:

• "According to CNN Money, of the 26 teams that responded to their survey -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays chose not to -- the Nationals have the most expensive beer prices in baseball..." - "CNN Money: Nationals Have Most Expensive Beer Prices In Baseball" - Adam Vingan, NBC4 Washington

• Jingoistic Nationalsism - Opening Dayum: Nats Show Off Impressive Assets In Tight One | The Zimmerman(n) Telegram

• "Video: 'Take On Me' at Nationals Park on Opening Day" - Nats Enquirer

• "Nats fans sing ‘Take on Me’ during seventh-inning stretch" - Dan Steinberg, D.C. Sports Bog

"And so, Michael Morse is gone, but it seems 'Take on Me' will continue to live on as a 'thing' at Nationals Park." -

• "Food, parking, organ music, and other changes at Nationals Park for 2013" - Presidents Race Fan, Let Teddy Win!

• "Covering Washington, DC pro sports from the most powerful National Capital of the World!" - "Bryce Harper reaching Sidney Crosby level" - Mark Buterbaugh, DC Pro Sports Report

• "Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg lead Nats to 2-0 Opening Day win over Marlins" - William F. Yurasko, Williams World News

• "About Strasburg’s Innings Today" - Natstradamus

• "Find yourself in the crowd at Nationals Park" - Lindsay Applebaum, Washington Post

• "It's not the innings, it's the pitches" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Curly Double U #1: Twice Harper" - Kevin Eaton, Red Porch Report (Nationals Podcast and Blog)

• "Led by twin phenoms Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals beat their division rival and personal nemesis Miami Marlins 2-0 before a single-game, regular season record crowd of 45,274 at Nationals Park." - "Washington Nationals Game 1 Review: Harper, Strasburg lead Nats to Opening Day win" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "'The maximum timing for the stars to be aligned [for a naming-rights deal] may be this year or next year,' said Mark Tuohey, a lawyer and former chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission." - "Nationals owners may be waiting for the perfect pitch to sell park’s naming rights" - Thomas Heath, The Washington Post

• "The crowd took on legendary proportions. Paid attendance was 45,274, the largest regular season gathering yet since Nationals Park opened." - "On opening day, an elegant masterpiece" - Nationals Buzz: Ted Leavengood,

• "Catching Up On Transactions" - Luke Erickson,


Marlins: "Despite hitting .313 while serving as the Marlins’ full-time center fielder for much of last season, Justin Ruggiano isn’t complaining about sharing the position with Chris Coghlan." - "WASHINGTON: Justin Ruggiano OK with Miami Marlins’ platoon plan" - Clark Spencer,

Phillies: "Cole Hamels, the most expensive of them all, had waited years for this moment. He prepared for his first opening-day start in a corner of the visiting clubhouse at Turner Field." - "Cole Hamels allows three homers as Phillies lose opener" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

Mets: "The Mets were stretching their lead now against the Padres, doing that on this day when they were the better baseball game in New York..." - "NY Mets talk of the town for one day, recreate memories for die-hard fans like NJ governor Chris Christie" - Mike Lupica, NY Daily News

Braves: "The Braves gave no update on Jonny Venters’ left elbow injury Monday after his visit with Dr. James Andrews, but a person with knowledge of the situation said it was undetermined whether the relief pitcher would have surgery." - "Still waiting for Venters injury update" - David O'Brien,

(ed. note - "Thanks to EmilyB for adding some of the links.")