There are a million places to go get a recap and preview of every game, but here at Nationals 101 we prefer to take a slightly bigger slice of the pie. The Review-Preview will take place between series and give a quick recap of the previous series (including anything we think you can learn from the series) and what you can look forward to in the next series coming up.
NOTE: Due to some awful car trouble that ate up all of Friday, I didn’t finish the Preview part. Given last night’s debacle it’s probably best to skip this editions “preview” section and just do a review. Next week we will review the Reds series and Preview the White Sox series.
REVIEW Miami Marlins Series
Quick Take: The Nationals came into Opening Day with the reputation as one of the best teams in the league, and the Marlins came into the series as possibly a AAA team playing in the big leagues. Nothing either team did changed anyone’s mind as to either of those mindsets.
The Nationals swept the Marlins and remain the only unbeaten team in baseball (a dubious distinction, but a distinction none the less) by beating the Marlins 2-0, 3-0, and 6-1.
So What Happened? Simply put, the Nationals pitching over powered the Marlins in every contest, holding the lowly Fish to just one run over three games. That’s the first time that’s happened since the late 70’s over an opening series by the way. How good was the Nationals pitching? Let’s look at the starters combined and bullpen combined stat lines:
Starters: 3-0, .47 ERA 19IP, 13H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 9K
Bullpen: 0.00 ERA, 8IP, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 9K, 2 Saves
The numbers are slightly more impressive for the Gio and Strasburg given that Jordan Zimmermann gave up the sole run and 8 hits. Only 3 of the hits went for extra bases (2 doubles and a Home Run) and the defense was stellar (committing just one error) in keeping these guys out of the run column.
The bats started a little quiet over all, but got louder as the series went on. Scoring the first two games was more about timely hitting-Bryce Harper stole the show in game one with two Home Runs in his first two at bats. Gio hit a solo homer, followed by two more insurance runs later in the game. The Nats finally took the top off in game three, gettings 6 runs-scoring two in the first and adding four more between a Werthquake and Harper’s third bomb in three games.
Lost In the Shuffle:
Adam LaRoche and Danny Espinosa are struggling at the plate right now, but it’s only three games in (and Danny isn’t striking out as much).
The only really feared player for the Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton, was held to 1 for 9 with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. He also did not put in a very good effort into getting to first base on a play, and just turned around and stomped off to the dugout after his strikeouts. He’s the lone star on an awful team and rumor is that he’s not happy about the fire sale the Marlins put on this year. He could be quitting on this team as early as game 3 of the season, which bodes even better for the Nationals
Rafael Soriano is very impressive in person. His delivery is insanely smooth, he never looked troubled on the mound, and he just threw strike after strike. Also, for the #haters, Henry Rodriguez found the strike zone no problem in his one outting, and Drew Storen also looked just fine in his first appearance this year. Indeed, the bullpen could be lights out this year-as predicted by many.
Conclusion: Exactly what was supposed to happen between these two teams happened. You don’t want to overrate beating up the Marlins, but the point is they did beat up the Marlins. Houston won this weekend against a much better team, so don’t downplay getting the job done. Often the Marlins have been awful and played the Nationals tough. This time, the Nats put the foot to the pedal and really didn’t let up.