Opening day went according to script for the Washington Nationals today, as the home team shut out the visiting Miami Marlins 2-0 and the big stars came out to play and dominate. The biggest home crowd in regular season history for the Nationals -- 45,274 -- showed up to enjoy pretty good weather and very good baseball.
Ace Stephen Strasburg pitched 7 scoreless, almost perfect, innings, tossing only 80 pitches, 52 for strikes. On his way to the 7th inning, Strasburg retired 19 straight batters and 20 of his last 22. He struck out three and walked none. If you're wondering why Strasburg only struck out three, it's because he decided to use his fielders today -- and to good effect. Strasburg may have taken some advice from Kevin Costner in "Bull Durham," who told pitcher Nuke Laloosh: "Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls."
Rob Carr - Getty Images
Left fielder Bryce Harper, who tore up spring training with his torrid hitting, continued his smoking hot streak on opening day, crushing a home run to right field in the first inning to put the Nats up 1-0. Then, in the fourth, he followed up with another home run to right and this one was never in doubt. "What can you say about Harp?," manager Davey Johnson said after the game. "I guess he likes the three hole." Harper became the youngest player in MLB history to hit two home runs on opening day.