The Roark Report


On Monday, April 6 at 4:07 p.m., Max Scherzer, a pitcher picked up by the Nationals over the offseason, threw a fastball over the plate for strike one, starting up the Nationals 2015 season. The team is looking to defend their National League (NL) East championship and to take it a few steps further in the playoffs.

Even though the Nationals lost their first game of the year, a few good things came out of it. Scherzer, who signed with the Nationals after playing his last five years with the Detroit Tigers, threw 7 2/3 innings, giving up just four hits and striking out eight. On the offensive side, Bryce Harper had two hits, including a solo home run to right center field.

However, two costly errors by shortstop Ian Desmond gave the New York Mets three runs (all unearned), handing the Nationals the loss in their first game of the year by the score of 3-1.

After a day off Wednesday, the Nationals came back with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound against the reigning Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom. The game was highlighted by Ryan Zimmerman and Zimmermann. Ryan Zimmerman went deep in the bottom of the first inning, scoring Yunel Escobar after his single.

The two run lead was all Zimmermann needed. Zimmermann went six innings, giving up five hits while striking out four and holding the Mets to just one run. Drew Storen closed the door with a perfect ninth inning, giving the Nationals their first win of the year with a 2-1 score. Other offensive statistics included Harper collecting two more hits, and Escobar, Michael Taylor, Wilson Ramos and Dan Uggla collecting a hit apiece.

To close the series Stephen Strasburg, who started on Opening Day the last three years, started against Matt Harvey. The Mets got to Strasburg early off of another error by Desmond. After getting two more runs in the sixth inning, Strasburg got yanked after giving up a total of six runs in 5 1/3 innings of work.

Offensively, the Nationals were cold against Harvey. However, in the last three innings, the Nationals picked up three runs off a two run double by Taylor and a single by offseason pickup Reed Johnson. Unlike the first two games, Harper was cold, going 0-4 with three strikeouts. He got out more times in this one game than he did in the first two games total.

Based off of these three games, the Nationals offense would need to kick it up a bit, only averaging two runs per game. The starting pitching was solid as expected. Combined, the three pitchers threw 19 innings with a 1.89 earned run average (ERA).

After their series in Philadelphia against the Phillies, the Nationals will head to play the Boston Red Sox, another team who picked up some big name players.