Often criticized as a lead off hitter, Ian Desmond silenced critics, at least for one day, collecting 3 of Washington's 4 hits and knocking in the game winning run in the 9th inning. Although Stephen Strasburg pitched 7 strong innings and allowed just one run, he did not factor in the decision. The Nationals open the season 1-0 with a 2-1 defeat of the Chicago Cubs.
The Nats missed their clean up hitter in the lineup today. Mike Morse starts the season on the disabled list and is unavailable until April, 10. Instead, 1B Adam LaRoche stranded 5 runners with two strikeouts at the plate, one plate appearance with the bases loaded. Besides the 4 hits, Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa each walked twice. Desmond finished the day 3 for 5 with an RBI. The other Nats' hit came from pinch hitter Chad Tracy , who double din the ninth inning to set up the game winning hit by Desmond.
Strasburg pitched 7 innings of 1 run baseball, allowing 5 hits, 1 walk, and whiffing 5 batters. Overall, Strasburg tossed 82 pitches, 58 of which were strikes. Tyler Clippard (1-0) pitched a scoreless 8th inning to earn the win. Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless 9th inning and struck out 2 batter, ti pick up his first save.
Next up will be the Cubs on Saturday at 1:05PM. The Nats will send Gio Gonzalez to the mound while the Cubs will start Matt Garza.
Nats Player of the Game: Ian Desmond