Friday, June 8, 2012
So The Washington Nationals Look Legit
Welcome to Major League Baseball in 2012, where the Washington Nationals look like one of the top teams in the National League while the Boston Red Sox are stuck squarely in the middle of the pack of the American League.
Washington (33-23, 15-13 away) opened its Interleague series at Fenway Park tonight with a bang as they beat the Red Sox (29-29, 14-17 home) 7-4, for their first ever win in Boston since the franchise moved from Montreal.
The Nationals two young superstars-Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper-lived up to their billing. Strasburg (7-1) struck out 13 in only six innings and Harper fell a triple shy of a cycle with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Felix Doubront (6-3) picked a bad night to have his worst outing of the season since he needed to be on top of his game to hope to hang with Strasburg (2 earned runs, 4 hits, 2 walks). Doubront lasted four innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
Washington was up 7-2 before Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer, his fifth of the season and 200th of his career, to straightaway center in the eighth and Daniel Nava (2 hits) had an RBI double in the ninth. Nationals closer Tyler Clippard came on for the final two outs, which he nailed down easily (8 pitches) for his sixth save of the season.
Mike Aviles actually gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run double. Strasburg settled down after that and conversely, Doubront unraveled.
Ryan Zimmerman (2 hits) got the Nationals rally started with an RBI single in the third. Ian Desmond (2 hits) followed later that inning with a two-run double. Washington broke it open with three runs in the fourth inning. Danny Espinosa (2 hits, 2 runs, walk, stolen base) had a two-run ground-rule double to right and Harper crushed a two-run bomb to center (425 feet, his 6th of the season).
Harper added an RBI single in the sixth although he was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a double.
Make sure you have plenty of drugs and alcohol (anything to numb the pain) on hand tomorrow afternoon (4:05 p.m., NESN) as Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his 2012 debut against former A's pitcher Gio Gonzalez (7-2). This might be a reverse lock but otherwise I see no possible way that the Red Sox win and/or Dice K makes it past the fifth inning. To make room for Dice on the roster, Marlon Byrd will be designated for assignment.