This and every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call begins in our nation's capital, home of the stimulus burger, where America's Team girded its loins and achieved something of which few thought Washington capable.
Game of the Day: Nationals 8, Phillies 2
Victory's sweet nectar: David felled the Philistine. The U.S. hockey team beat the Soviets and won Olympic gold. Once in a while, the opponent has gotten the best of the Harlem Globetrotters. Heck, some guy even killed Superman once. We all suspected the moment would come when the Nats joined the rest of the major leagues in the victory column. This month, the next, after the All-Star break, it matters not. Let's celebrate.
D.C. Follies: "This was a very important outing," Nats manager Manny Acta said. "Starting the season 0-7, with all the pressure of ‘Who's going to win the first game?' 'Who's going to have the first quality start?' "
Well, not so much "Who?" but "If?"
Sacre blah: When the Nats were still the Montreal Expos in 1998 (moment of silence), they also began 0-7, the worst start in franchise history. These guys were fixing to set a record but have to settle for a tie.
But...how?: Against the world bleeping champions, Adam Dunn, the discounted free-agent slugger, hit one of Washington's four homers. Yes, in one game. And the Nats got a well-pitched 6 1/3 innings from Shairon Martis, who actually has a chance to do this well every five days. It's just odd to finally see someone on the Nats do it once.
Baby steps: One of the guys who homered, Josh Willingham, started the night 0-for-11 with his new club."I filled up a lot of columns," Willingham said. "I've got a batting average now, a run scored, an RBI."
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Feelin' Rundown (other people won, too, and don't make it a big deal, you know?):
Marlins 6, Braves 2: Cream, rise to the top. Wheat, scrape off that chaff. Hootie, where the Blowfish at? In an early test of upstarts, the Fish show their start is more uppity with a sweep. It should be noted that Chipper missed his second straight game, Brian McCann only pinch hit and Yuni Escobar left in the sixth after an abdominal strain. The Fish don't care.
Astros 6, Pirates 3: The Jolly Rogers sink under .500 again after their aggressive 4-3 start. Being a Pirate ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Cardinals 7, Cubs 4: Chris Duncan makes a great case for the NL to have the DH. ... After a called third strike, Milton and umpire Larry Vanover discussed the lovely spring weather, and Vanover encouraged Milton to go for a walk. As in, you know, for the rest of the game.
Padres 6, Mets 5: Brand-spankin'-new ballpark, but no hot water in the visitors clubhouse for the winning team. Mr. Met's bubble bath?
Dodgers 7, Giants 2: Will Manny not homer this year as the Dodgers lead the league in runs? Can the Giants somehow write off Zito's contract in their taxes? Stults is 2-0 for the first time since '94 with "Killing Zoe" and "Pulp Fiction."
Indians 10, Yankees 2: Now THAT'S how you open a ballpark. Bronx fans were chanting, "We want Swisher!" at one point, presumably to pitch. Maybe it was to dirt bike around the field like Kelly Leak in the "Bad News Bears." Anything would have been better than what the Yankees actually did. I'm saying play today's game across the street at the old Stadium. Nobody would see it coming.
White Sox 3, Rays 2: Joe Maddon got kicked out and his comments about the argument with umpires were prescient but also funny. From the AP story:
Maddon contended that [Jermaine] Dye hit a grounder fair to third base rather than fouled the ball off his foot.
The player hopped and limped out of the batter's box as if the ball hit his foot before rolling up the third base line, where Willy Aybar fielded it and threw to first for the apparent out.
Dye complained, asking plate umpire Brian Gorman to look at his left shoe. The umpire crew huddled briefly, then inspected the ball and ruled it a foul.
Maddon thought he had a good argument.
"You can't use the mark on the ball as a review because some players use black bats. Furthermore, the guy was wearing gray shoes. So it was pretty difficult to get a black mark on the ball from a gray shoe," the manager said.
Angels 5, Mariners 1: Joe Saunders went to work, inspired by the memory of Nick Adenhart on the day of his funeral, along with a remembrance of the 33 persons killed at Virginia Tech (Saunders is a Hokie) on the second anniversary of the shootings there. That's a lot to think about.