The Washington Nationals lost a low-scoring affair just like they are accustomed to on opening day. In the debut of former Detroit Tigers ace Max Scherzer, he pitched just as advertised, bringing a no-hitter into the sixth and allowing only four hits and no earned runs in 7.2 innings. However, he was unable to overcome to a couple of costly errors by shortstop Ian Desmond, leading to the 3-1 loss.
Bryce Harper got the scoring started in the bottom of the fourth, when he hit the first home run of the season for Washington. David Wright singled and reached second on one of two errors committed by Desmond on the night, putting men at second and third in the top of the sixth inning. Outfielder Lucas Duda was then able to knock both runners in.
The Mets added insurance in the seventh due to another error by shortstop Ian Desmond, followed by an RBI-triple by former Toronto Blue Jays prospect Travis d’Arnaud. Veteran reliever Buddy Carlyle was able to come in and seal an opening day victory for the Mets.
The Nats will send Jordan Zimmerman to the hill tonight to try and avenge their opening day loss. However, the hitting should be the focus for Washington.
Low-scoring games were a regular for the Nationals last season. They did win a lot of games, but the hitting, or lack there of, came back to haunt them in the postseason. This was the same thing that occurred in the 2012 season, when Washington ended the year with the best record in the majors but lost in the National League Divisional Series.
The Nats recorded just three hits on Monday, two coming off the bat of Bryce Harper. The team went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and saw each player in the heart of the lineup strikeout at least once.
The Nats held the best ERA in the majors last year, but also the 24th-best average. There is one saying that I always go by – pitching keeps you in games, and hitting wins games.
The Nationals will win plenty of games regardless of how their hitting performs due to the sole fact that they have one of the best five-men rotations of all time. However, they will not win a championship if the lineup fails to improve.
There is plenty of talent there, and the Nationals have 161 games to find that talent and put it together.