Since there are still a few hours before the Nats’ second game of the season, I can squeeze one more post out of opening day. So, I sounded pretty grumpy yesterday morning and I apologize. I should have just posted the pics and left it at that! One game is certainly not enough to judge a season or a player by, and should hopefully not set the mood for the rest of the season. Not that I did any judging, I just got agitated remembering the traffic (yeah, yeah, I know – lug my camera on Metro). One of the most intriguing aspects of opening day is the first official opportunity to check out the new guys. So who are they and how did the ones who debuted Thursday fare?
1. Jayson Werth – RF
At the plate: The multimillion dollar man batting 2nd behind Desmond and ahead of Zimmerman singled in his first at-bat and made it to third before Morse grounded out to end the opportunity. Later at-bats netted a strikeout swinging and two ground-outs to short.
In the field: Werth made three catches in right, two pretty fancy involving falling and sliding. Now if he was superman, he could have snagged that Heyward homerun that landed just in the stands over his head.
2. Adam LaRoche – 1B
At the plate: LaRoche went 1-4 at the plate popping out in the 1st, flying out to the warning track in left in the 4th, singling on a blooper to left in the 6th (and then being taken out on a fielder’s choice) and flying out to left again as the 1st batter in the bottom of the 9th.
In the field: He looked pretty competent at first base defense-wise at first glance, making a couple really nice snags and plays. I wrote a “D” next to a 3-1 play LaRoche started in the top of the 4th, meaning he snared a hard grounder and looked good doing it.
3. Rick Ankiel – CF
At the plate: Ankiel most memorably ended the game looking at a 3rd called strike in the bottom of the 9th with the Nats down 2-0. He flew out to right, drew a walk (and then was thrown out by a mile trying to steal 2nd with 2 outs), flew out to left and struck out looking, going 0-3 with a walk.
In the field: Nothing terribly noteworthy happened – routine fly balls and throws in on grounders to center. No errors, no spectacular catches. He was the only player on the field wearing face covering to protect against the cold.
4. Todd Coffey – RP
Comparing a pitcher to hitters/position players is like the cliche of comparing apples to oranges, but out of all the new guys, I’d say Coffey gave the best performance. I was a little concerned since his last few spring training outings were less than stellar, but he came into the game in the 8th and had a 1-2-3 inning, inducing a groundout, popout and flyout to a pinch hitter in the 9th spot and the number 1 and 2 batters for the Braves.
5. Laynce Nix – Bench
At the plate: Laynce Nix only appeared briefly as a pinch hitter against Moylan with a runner at 3rd and two outs. He struck out swinging to end the inning and the opportunity.
6. Jerry Hairston Jr. – Bench
Oops, nevermind. He came into the on-deck circle to pinch hit and then was replaced with pinch hitter Nix after the Braves brought in new pitcher Moylan. No photos, no stats.
THE OLD GUYS
So there’s how the new guys fared on opening day. So how about the old guys?
Adam Dunn: 4 RBIs between a home run and a double, the most RBI generated for the team that day. He had one strikeout as the designated hitter before a pinch hitter replaced him. White Sox win 15-10 over the Cleveland Indians.
Josh Willingham: Hammer’s new team, the Oakland A’s, lost to the Seattle Mariners 6-2, but Willingham homered in the 1st inning with a runnner on, providing the only 2 runs the A’s would score during the game.
Wil Nieves: With the Brewers starting catcher injured, Nieves took over the role as starter on opening day as the Brewers lost 6-7 to the Reds. He went 2-4 at the plate with a double in his first at bat and came around to score that inning.
Nyjer Morgan: Entered the same game as Nieves in the bottom of the 7th inning in right field, but didn’t start. He did not get an opportunity to bat.
And a little older than the immediate past, but Joel Hanrahan also got his first save on opening day as the Pirates beat the Cubs 6-3.