Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nationals: Cubs Review

Brad Lidge, 54, had his first save for the Nationals on Opening Day. (Photo: washingtonpost.com)
Today, the Washington Nationals finished up their season opening series against the Chicago Cubs. After taking the first game, the Nationals dropped game three today.

The Nationals certainly earned the title of cardiac kids in this series. For each game, they found themselves down late and managed a late inning rally.

In game one, the Nats tied the game in the eighth after a Jayson Werth bases loaded walk and then scored the game winning run off of an Ian Desmond RBI single that scored Chad Tracy.

In game two, the Nationals once again waited till the last minute to bring out the offense. Adam LaRoche kept them close with a two-run home run in the fourth. The Nationals took the lead for good off of a five-run rally in the eighth. It was also Gio Gonzalez's first start for the Nats.

In game three, the Nationals once again found themselves down late. In the top of the ninth, Adam LaRoche stepped to the plate with Ryan Zimmerman on and crushed another two-run shot to deep left to bring the Nats within one. Nats first timer Xavier Nady ended the game when he popped up in foul territory.

Biggest Surprise
Adam LaRoche was a nice surprise for the Nationals this weekend. In three games, he had two two-run home runs. After starting the series by only reaching base on a walk and striking out every other time, he performed well and kept the Nationals in contention the other games.

Biggest Disappointment
Hopefully, this does not become a theme for the Nationals, but, Jayson Werth went 0-10 and only reached base when he was walked. He has to be able to turn this around. They always say that the first hit is the hardest, but he has to break through in a big way. His success is key to the franchise making it to the post-season.

Biggest Upside
Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa showed us why they are the number one and two hitters in this line-up. In game one of the series, they both reached base on their first four plate appearances. Ian Desmond even brought the game winning run around on a single in the ninth inning. Desmond was the teams biggest source of offense that game.

Looking Ahead
The Nationals are now traveling to New York to take on the Mets in a divisional showdown. This series could be a preview for October as both teams are overflowing with potential and confidence. Edwin Jackson takes the mound for the Nats in his first appearance for the ball club on Monday at 7:10 PM.