For the Nats today, the game was over just moments after it started. Let’s hope for the club that this sentiment isn’t also true of their season. Within minutes the team fell down 2-0 by the hands of former National Emelio Bonifacio, Scott Baker, and Jorge Cantu. By the third inning, the Nats chances were all but buried when starting pitcher, and club ace, John Lannan, let up three more runs on a pair of Marlin homers and a Hanley Ramirez RBI double.
Down 6-0 the Nats were finally able to get to the at that point untouchable Ricky Nolasco, who finally began to make some mistakes. The Nats were able to rally together to score their first runs of the season with RBI doubles by Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns. Ultimately however it was too little to late as the Marlins bats had gotten to the Nationals week long relief bullpen. This allowed the fish to run away with it, 12-6, dealing the Nats their first loss of the year.
For Emilio Bonifacio, revenge oh so sweet. The utility speedster was acquired by the Nationals in 2008 in the trade of John Rauch, but was all but forgotten and abandoned this year by the MLB’s reigning worst team. Critics said he wasn’t a good enough player to contribute in the Majors everyday, that he had great speed but not great skills for his age group. While those critics were very likely correct, Bonifacio had the pleasure of proving them wrong, at least if it was just for the day, as the speedster went 4-5 with an inside-the-park home run, three steals, and four runs.
The former Nat essentially deconstructed the team that traded him last November. Does this mean he proved his old club wrong? No. Does it mean Nats fans should regret trading the utility player for a solid young starting pitcher? No. All it is, is a bit of sweet irony.
Lannan facing the Miami Heat
Lannan looked just about as bad as he has ever looked in a Washington Nationals uniform today. The clubs ace pitched three innings allowing six hits, six runs, and a bomb. Traditionally even when the lefty struggles he doesn’t get hit this hard. It is obviously too early to get concerned, especially when you remember that Lannan had such a dominant spring and challenging off season conditioning scene. The bottom line for Lannan was that he just did not have his control today. While he walked no batters he only threw 30 strikes in his 58 pitches. No pitcher, especially one who throws consistently in the low 90’s/high 80’s, can be effective when falling behind in the count that often. Surly this was just a blip early on in the season for Lannan and he will return to the pitcher he was last year, if not better. The Nats need Lannan to anchor their rotation if they want to have any sucesss this season.