- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2015

There was a buzz in the air Monday afternoon as the Washington Nationals took the field for Opening Day, beginning what pundits and Las Vegas bettors believe could be a memorable season for D.C. baseball.

The game itself, however, isn’t something the Nationals will dwell on much. A stagnant offense spoiled Max Scherzer’s dominant debut, and Washington fell to the New York Mets, 3-1.

THE RUNDOWN: Banners were unveiled, fans were reveling, Scherzer was cruising, the Nationals were winning — and then, the sixth inning happened. Scherzer walked Curtis Granderson with two outs, then watched a pop fly drop between Dan Uggla and Ian Desmond, who called off the second baseman but couldn’t make the catch. Scherzer then gave up his first hit of the afternoon to Lucas Duda, and a one-run lead suddenly turned into a one-run deficit that the Nationals failed to overcome.

THE HIGHLIGHT: Much has been made of Bryce Harper’s “Where’s my ring?” comments during spring training, so what does he do in his second at-bat of 2015? He sends a pitch from Bartolo Colon into right-center field, just above the out-of-town scoreboard more than 400 feet away. The solo home run in the fourth inning was reminiscent of his power display on Opening Day in 2013, when he hit two homers to lead the Nationals to a win over the Miami Marlins. He now has three Opening Day home runs, more than anyone else in Nationals history.

STAR OF THE GAME: It has to be Scherzer, whose first game in a Nationals uniform couldn’t have gone much better. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit through the first five innings, retired 17 hitters in a row during one stretch and was, for the most part, dominant all afternoon. In 7 2/3 innings, he allowed four hits and three unearned runs with eight strikeouts and two walks.

THE TAKEAWAY: It’s hard to take away much of anything from Opening Day. For all the pomp and circumstance, it’s really just one game in a season with 162 of them. Yes, Desmond had two errors, the bottom half of the lineup went hitless, and the Nationals went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. But who’s to say whether any of those events is an anomaly or the beginning of a trend? You just can’t. So enjoy Monday for what it was — the start of another season of baseball — and nothing more.

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