Saturday, April 05, 2014

A Look at the Nats' Home Opener

Well guess the thing to do is get the main event and controvery of the opener out of the way first. I have to say we were sitting on the third base side so didn't see all of the play.

Here's what happened from the Post:

In the fifth inning of Friday’s Nationals-Braves games, everyone witnessed a strange scene. Facing right-handed starter David Hale, Ian Desmond drilled a ball down the left field line. As Desmond faced around the bases, the ball rolled into the left field corner and under the padding. Left fielder Justin Upton raced toward the ball in the corner but stopped and put up his hands to signal a ground rule double. He made no attempt to pull the ball out.

After Upton raised his arm and didn’t get the call, he easily picked up the ball and fired it into the infield. 

Desmond just kept running and scored at first was an inside the park home run. Atlanta's manager appealed the decision. The call was eventually over turned. Desmond was given a ground rule double.

Like I said I didn't see the play while I was at the game. I did see it on replay when I got home. I have to say I cannot for the life of me figure out why the call was overturned. As the story states Upton had no problems picking the ball up once he didn't get the call he wanted. He decided to stop playing when no else did. As far as I'm concerned instant replay did not work the way it should have in this case.

That being said there were plenty of other opportunities for the Nats to score. And other opportunities blown. A couple of strange calls on the part of Nats. Twice Nats were caught in run downs while trying to steal bases. Bryce Harper was caught in a run down in the second inning. Desmond was also caught in a run down trying to steal third in the fifth after inside the park homer was reduced to a double. In the case of Harper if he had not tried to steal he would have been thrown out on the next play. It's hard to say what would have happened with Desmond if he had stayed at second.

Another opportunity squandered was waving Adam LaRoche when Ryan Zimmerman hit a ball into left. You could just tell as the play unfolded there was no way LaRoche was going to reach home before the throw.

But the best possibility to tie the score if not take the lead came in the eighth inning. Anthony Rendon hit a single and then Jayson Werth was walked. So you have men on first and second and no outs. At the very least I'm thinking one run will score and the game will be tied. With a little luck and a hit or two or a hit and a long fly ball, both guys score. Instead three outs later no one has crossed the plate. That was the game.

If the Nationals are going to do well this year, they have to solve the problem of Atlanta. Atlanta dominated the Nationals last year. The record was 6-13. If the Nats are going to get anywhere this year, say a division championship, that record have to improve. Saturday they have another chance. Let's hope for better results.

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