Did it really happen? YES!
[After reading this, check out the series preview Q&A I did with Enrico from The 700 Level]
I totally did not want to go to the game last night and was silently praying for a rainout and the game to be called before hauling myself downtown. See, two days after my near-death experience in the Jeep, I wiped out on the scooter Monday night (again, thanks to a car cutting me off). With two severely bruised knees, a sprained ankle and torn up bruised arms and wrists, I was a hurtin’ girl yesterday. Plus, with the forecast, I was worried we’d be sitting in a chilly rain delay for hours on end waiting for the game to be called. Plus, I had a glimpse of the starting lineups before even finishing work and eesh, it didn’t preview like a pretty game. With Zimmerman and LaRoche sidelined with injuries and Morse battling the flu, the Nats starters included Laynce Nix, Matt Stairs and Jerry Hairston Jr. A full bench starting looked laughable on paper. Manager Jim Riggleman, however, professed confidence [Nationals Journal] in his lineup and who was I to question the skipper?
“I feel good about the lineup we’re going to put out there,” Riggleman said. “I feel like we’re not going to put guys out there who are either sick or hurt. I feel good about the potential of what Nix and Hairston and Stairs can give us tonight.”
I hope Riggleman feels good more often, because the reverse lock was certainly in order. What started as jeers for Werth from the Phillies fans scattered around the extremely sparse crowd at Nationals Park turned to cheers as the game went on with Werth catching every fly ball sent his way (many! Almost as if the Phillies were hitting flies to him on purpose as a joke) and lining a home run just fair of the left field foul pole in the 5th inning as the Nats went on to win the game 7-4.
So yep, we went, and am I ever glad we did despite shivering by night’s end and stiffening up. I did not, however, take my camera, so no photos.
In my last post, I mentioned holding my breath every time Clippard came in, wondering if that was game his 0.00 ERA would disappear. Well, last night was it. He came into the 7th to relieve Livo after a fantastic start, but who departed with the bases loaded and two outs. Clippard got the big swinging strikeout of leadoff batter Shane Victorino to end the threat with the Nats up 5-1. Yet when Clippard returned for the 8th inning, he ended up leaving the same situation for the next reliever, loading the bases up with a single and two walks.
Two of those inherited runners scored with Sean Burnett on the mound thanks to a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch. Ultimately, Sean Burnett also lost his perfect ERA in the 9th when one more run scored. But at least that’s out of the way and we can stop fretting about it.
The top of the 9th got a little hairy too, but in the end the Nats pulled of the upset win 7-4 over the Phillies with Werth facing them for the first time. In a word, the game was highly enjoyable. Surprising. It’s too bad there weren’t more folks there, but I guess they felt the same way I did about the possibility of rain and decided not to go.
Overall, the game rocked. Between “smartball” (great squeeze bunt, Livo!), great starting pitching, a fabulous snare of a liner by Matt Stairs at first and one long ball that couldn’t have come from a more perfect player for that particular game, the chill was worth it. Plus, I’ve always enjoyed those games where you can hear everything every fan is yelling. I realize that’s not exactly ideal for the Nats’ economy, though.
On to game two of the first Phillies series!