The Nationals' slow offensive start has been concerning to some, worrisome to others and downright nerve-fraying to certain factions of the fanbase. For plenty, it's been maddening to watch them strike out, swinging or looking, so often. To see them come up small in large situations. To hit the ball on the screws, and right at a waiting fielder.
In a 5-2 loss, the Nationals' bid for a sweep of another National League contender fell victim to singles, some just out of reach, and a hard-throwing rookie left-hander.
In 205 days, three of the area's four teams in the major professional sports leagues won division titles. It's a start. Let's be clear on something, though: It is hardly a finish.
The lineup changes Johnson made weren't drastic. They simply placed Steve Lombardozzi, one of the Nationals' highest on-base percentage players near the top spot in the order, and added Jayson Werth, another right-handed bat to the middle of an order that has been missing Ryan Zimmerman since last week.
"I met a guy today who had been through 49 surgeries," said Chad Tracy. "I've been through four of five myself, just to imagine a guy going through almost 50 surgeries, to see he was still a driven, confident, leader of a man really touched me."
Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa has a very vivid memory from his major-league debut. It was Sept. 1, 2010 and the Nats were playing in Florida against the Marlins. Espinosa drove in a run with a double. That isn't the memory.
A way to force something good out of another downer of a night was sitting right there for Nationals pitcher Dan Haren, waiting like a hanging curveball to be swatted out of the park. Haren wanted nothing to do with it.
Late Tuesday night, Zimmerman said that he was frustrated with the fact that he'd made four throwing errors in the Nationals' previous five games. His surgically repaired shoulder felt great, he said, and he could not pinpoint the reason why some of his throws were not precisely hitting the target Adam LaRoche was giving him at first base.
Washington opened its 2013 season Monday at Nationals Park with a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. No offense to all the others who took part. The day was about The Top Pick Twins and all about The Top Pick Twins.