The Nationals play Monday during the team's home opener was representative of the realistic expectations for this year's squad and led to the team maintaining its season opening winless streak.
In the game, Adam Dunn walked, hit an RBI double and a home run, made a questionable defensive play and struck out in a key situation. This performance just about sums up what Dunn brings to the table. Walks, sure. Power hitting, yep. Lotta K's, oh yeah. Lumbering, insufficient defense, you bet.
Additionally, the Nationals pitching presented no surprises. Starter Daniel Cabrera had a fine outing, but threw a lot of pitches and had to be removed after the fifth inning following three spectacular plays on hard hit line drives. This took the Nats to their bullpen, one of the team's many question marks.
The pen proved to be the team's destruction against the defending champion Phillies. Saul Rivera gave up a three-run home run and a solo shot in the seventh inning, busting a tied game wide open.
The offense while explosive at times thanks to a revamped middle of the order could not keep up with their pitchers' tendencies to give up dingers and their young defense's inclination to make mistakes.
In all, while this team has not yet tallied a win this season. There are reasons for hope. The offense, led by Dunn and shortstop Christian Guzman, kept fighting back after their pitching lost a lead.
Notes: Christian Guzman injured his left hamstring yesterday while rounding first base. He is day-to-day/
Nats fans, including me, experienced long lines for concessions, sparking the ire of many.
Barack Obama broke a long-standing tradition of the President throwing out the first pitch at the D.C. franchise's home opener.
Lastings Milledge was sent down to AAA following his tardiness to a team meeting and a slow start at the plate.