With Spring Training well underway, Opening Day is right around the corner! As we countdown to when the games officially count, I decided to take a look at the most exciting matchups the Nationals have this season both at Nationals Park and on the road. Some of these will be just individual games but for the most part we’ll be loooking at the series and the teams that you and I both are looking forward to seeing.
With pitchers and catchers reporting this week, the smell of baseball is starting to take the air. As the Washington Nationals look to fill out their Opening Night roster, The Pursuit is looking to make a roster of their own for the 2018 season. Do you love baseball? Do you love the Nationals? Do you love writing? Want to write for a blog that’s on the rise about your favorite ballclub? Look no further!
What have we done, O baseball gods? What have we done to deserve this? Despite having arguably the most complete roster in the history of the franchise, an offense that served up nearly 6 runs per game at points of the season went silent at the biggest moment against Cubs’ starter Kyle Hendricks. Stephen Strasburg was masterful, throwing 7 innings while allowing three runs on two hits. He struck out ten hitters, sending Nationals Park into absolute hysteria. At times during the night, he was untouchable. This was the start that Nats fans had been hoping for from him since the day he was drafted. This was his moment, and was supposed to be the moment that carried the Nats to take a lead in this NLDS.
It all changed on what seemed like a harmless ground ball to Anthony Rendon in the sixth inning. Rendon dropped the ball on the transfer from the glove, allowing Javier Baez to take first base. He would be moved over by a Kyle Hendricks sac bunt, and would come around to score on an RBI single by Kris Bryant. Bryant would later score on an RBI single that dropped agonizingly close to Bryce Harper. The Cubs took a 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish. Rizzo would knock in another run later in the game, but at that point we all knew the game was over. Carl Edwards pitched a scoreless 8th, and Wade Davis shut it down in the 9th to give the Cubs game 1, and swing home field advantage distinctly in their favor.
Mistakes were made on many fronts; Why not bring in a matchup lefty (of which the Nationals were carrying 4) to face Rizzo in the 8th inning and a man on base? Why not pinch-hit Adam Lind with Michael Taylor on base, needing instant offense? Why even take Strasburg out the way he was pitching? Either way, if things don’t change for game 2, it’ll be 2014 all over again. The Nationals cannot afford to fall behind 2-0 to the defending World Champions.
I personally did not expect the Nationals to win the series before this game, and now I really don’t expect them to do so, even if they do end up taking game 2. Either way, taking a game (or multiple games) at Wrigley Field is likely too tall a task for the Nationals, a team infamous for their lack of resolve when faced with adversity, to overcome.
Gio Gonzalez looks to salvage the season against Jon Lester, a pitcher notorious for throwing in big games. First pitch is at 5:38 on TBS. God, if you’re out there, just give us something to be happy about for once.
I have been a Nationals fan since 2005 and I have seen a lot. I went to some games in their inaugural season, the year they came in first place at the All Star break and had a rough second half. I saw Alfonso Soriano hit three home runs and Ryan Zimmerman deliver the first walk-off home run in team history. I said goodbye to RFK Stadium and hello to Nationals Park. I endured two 100-loss seasons and experience the rebuild and the drafting of Stephen Srasburg and Bryce Harper.
If you’ve been a fan of the Nationals since 2005, you must be thrilled with the type of season that Ryan Zimmerman is having. Despite the injury bug taking a bite out of most of the Opening Day lineup throughout the course of the season, Zimmerman’s MVP-like season is a positive story line in DC besides the fact that the Nationals are still dominating the competition.
Bryce Harper’s return comes a day later than most expected after he missed yesterday’s contest to flu-like symptoms. Tonight he will finally be back and the Nationals organization and their fans couldn’t be more excited. After a scare in the middle of August when Harper ran to first, many thought the Nationals superstar’s season was over. If it was truly over, it would have been a big blow to the best Washington Nationals team to date. Now with Harper back in the lineup, the Nationals have pretty much all the guys they need for the Postseason. The only true offensive player missing from the lineup is Adam Eaton.