- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
Nats battered and bruised in opener
Question of the Day
If the last six months provided outside observers ample opportunity to spout off reasons why the Washington Nationals won’t succeed this season, yesterday offered this beleaguered ball club a chance to show everyone why things might not be as bad as they think.
And then the Nationals took the field for Opening Day against the Florida Marlins and everything started falling apart. Staff ace John Patterson couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Center fielder Nook Logan and shortstop Cristian Guzman couldn’t make it out of the game healthy. And Washington could do nothing of consequence at the plate in a 9-2 loss at RFK Stadium.
In other words, this was the last thing the Nationals needed.
“It’s not how you want to start the season,” Patterson said afterward. “With so much doubt in the air and everything, it’s easy to say, ‘I told you so.’ But we can’t pay attention to that.”
Washington’s players probably won’t think in those terms after just one loss, unsightly as it was. Still, on a gorgeous April afternoon that drew a surprisingly large crowd of 40,389 to RFK, it would be easy for the Nationals to feel like they just wasted a golden opportunity.
With the kind of buzz in the air only Opening Day can provide, the home team came out and quickly fell behind. Four batters into the game, the Nationals already were trailing, and by the time Florida slugger Miguel Cabrera launched an upper-deck homer in the fourth to make it 6-0, any last bits of positive energy still inside the stadium dissipated.
“The tone was set early,” said Manny Acta, whose managerial debut was diminished by his club’s lackluster performance. “You just don’t want to be playing catch-up baseball right off the bat.”
And it’s also not ideal to be searching for replacements for two starting position players one day into a 162-game season. Acta now faces that dilemma after watching both Logan (hyperextended left foot) and Guzman (strained left hamstring) go down during yesterday’s game.
Neither injury is believed to be major, but Acta suggested at least one of the two (likely Guzman) would be headed for the disabled list and the club would move quickly to recall a player from Class AAA Columbus (likely Kory Casto) to help soften the blow.
Logan, who nearly wasn’t ready for Opening Day because of a right groin strain, hurt himself making a leaping catch at the fence of Dan Uggla’s fourth-inning drive. The speedy center fielder caught his left foot in the wall and after limping for a few seconds had to go to the turf and wait for a trainer to assist him.
One inning later, Guzman (who missed all of last season with a torn right shoulder) barely ran down the line after hitting a grounder to third. Initially booed by the crowd for his apparent lack of hustle, he walked gingerly back to the dugout and was replaced in the field.
“It’s just weird that we went the whole spring training and we were pretty much healthy coming out of Florida,” Acta said. “And now, two guys go down.”
By that point, the game was a lost cause. The Marlins were in control from the beginning, knocking around an ineffective Patterson for six runs and seven hits in 32/3 innings.
While Marlins lefty Dontrelle Willis thrived in the second Opening Day start of his career, Patterson was admittedly out of sync in his first career season opener.
The right-hander’s velocity was down to the point his fastball rarely reached 90 mph, and his assortment of breaking balls rarely caught the strike zone. He surrendered one run during a laborious, 25-pitch first inning, gave up two more on Cabrera’s second-inning double and was unceremoniously yanked by Acta in the fourth after serving up Cabrera’s two-run homer into the left-field upper deck.
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq