Around the NL East: Nationals and Mets Start Hot, Phillies and Fish, Not So Much

Rob Carr

Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg pick right back up where they left off in 2012, the Mets defy everything and start strong, while the Phillies stumble out the gate to the Braves, and the Fish are right where we expected them to be.

All through the off-season, I had been deliberating with myself that I was really kind of waning when it came to my baseball fandom. Some might call it growing up, but in the end, I had this feeling of guilt that I wasn't nearly the enthusiastic baseball fan I was like five years ago.

But when Freddie Freeman took Cole Hamels deep, I was out of my chair, rejoicing in happiness, and I knew that everything's fine.

The links this week are cut off as of Thursday, since I'm hitting the road this weekend. I wish I could say it was for baseball-related purposes, but it's unfortunately not; although I may try to sneak in a minor league game or two if I play my cards right.

Welcome back to the basement.

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Bryce Harper clubs two home runs on Opening Day - MLB
There's some contradictory literature in this article, with one statement claiming that Harper is the youngest, while the next paragraph states that Harper is the fourth youngest, but the bottom line is that Bryce Harper started off the 2013 season with a bang, clubbing out two solo shots off of the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco, which turned out to be the only runs of the entire game. Regardless of the age thing, that is always awesome, and is really a magical way to start off a season.

Oh yeah, Stephen Strasburg was also pretty fantastic on Opening Day too - Nationals Journal
The other former number one draft pick went seven innings, but the notable numbers were "just" three strikeouts. Regardless, it only took Stephen Strasburg 80 total pitches to record those 21 outs, with ten of those being hit on the ground. I thought the Nats had a chance to let him go the distance, but regardless of their claims of no shackles on Strasburg, they decided to let the bullpen get a save.

But both paled in comparison to Clayton Kershaw lol - Yahoo Sports
But since we're a Braves blog, we're supposed to take shots at out division rivals from time to time, so that being said, as well as Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg did on Opening Day, they were easily outshined by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, who successfully continued on his career-long quest to make the Giants his b*tch, by not only pitching a complete game shutout to open the season, but also hit a home run in the eighth inning which broke the 0-0 deadlock en route to the victory.

Why Davey Johnson called for Tyler Clippard instead of Drew Storen - Nationals Journal
This is the kind of foresight you'd imagine a new-fangled young SABR-manager to be undertaking, and not necessarily the 70-year old Davey Johnson to utilize. But instead of the using the expected-to-be-the-eighth-inning Drew Storen, Johnson put Clippard on the mound, because he simply prepared for the fourth batter in the lineup, which he predicted would be Greg Dobbs. Dobbs has hit Storen well, but not Clippard. Still, Dobbs was only contingent on Clippard allowing a base-runner, which he did, but as predicted, he dispatched Dobbs for the inning-ending third out with little difficulty.

Musing on an Ian Desmond extension - MASN
In light of the current day methodology of locking up young talent early in their careers, the Nationals might want to consider locking up Ian Desmond. Naturally as is the case in baseball, when someone of the same position gets a deal, it's instantly related back to the player in question. And since Elvis Andrus has just been extended by the Rangers (despite them having Jurickson Profar knocking on the door), the numbers guessing game is put into play to what it might take to extend Desmond, who has significantly more power than Andrus, but maybe not quite the defensive acumen.

Nationals resorting to selling hokey ticket stubs - The Bog
I can get the agitation that some Nats fans are having over the choice that the Nationals season tickets holders are going digital, and that ticket stubs can only be acquired by purchase, and really crappy ones at that. I too like to keep my ticket stubs, and I admit that I'm not the biggest fan that I don't get paper tickets anymore when I purchase any ticket plan directly from the Braves. But to then turn around and charge fans for essentially a cheap reproduction of just print? Seems just a little bit of egregious nickel and diming to the fans.

How did Bryce Harper celebrate his Opening Day home runs? - Nats Enquirer
By watching a private screening of the Jackie Robinson movie, 42 at the White House. Not too shabby of a way to spend an evening.

Should the Nationals sell the naming rights to Nationals Park? - Nationals Journal
I can understand why the Nationals are being patient in waiting for the right opportunity to sell the naming rights to the park. For starters, there aren't too many remotely local corporations that seem like a good fit to slap their name on the park (lol at the idea of Baltimore-based Under Armour sponsoring a D.C. park), and nobody wants to end up like the Marlins with their revolving door of names for Dolphin Stadium.

When they charge this much for beer, they don't need no stinking naming rights fees - Nats NQ

Congrats, Washington, you've passed even AT&T Park for the highest beer prices that I've ever seen. $9 for a Miller Lite? I don't think so!

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Not that it's any surprise, but all those guys who were injured last week are on the disabled list now - AA
Johan Santana, Shaun Marcum, Jennry Mejia and Frank Francisco were "officially" placed on the disabled list. It's retroactive, back to March 22, so some of them might be back sooner than, well Johan Santana.

Ike Davis earns Golden Sombrero on Opening Day - NY Post
Despite the fact that he shelled out close to $1,500 on tickets for his friends and family, they didn't bring him any luck, as he struck out four times, and finished Opening Day a woeful 0-for-5. Davis is now an even more dreadful 0-for-12 with seven punchouts in three total Opening Days, and probably gives Mets fans loads of hope and promise for the rest of the season.

But for others, Opening Day is a day where dreams come true - NY Daily News
The 31-year old Scott Rice got to pitch in his very first Major League game, 14 years after he was drafted. And in storybook fashion, he strikes out the first two batters he faced, and induced a groundball to complete a 1-2-3 inning, the first of his Major League career.

Matt Harvey doesn't seem to be concerned about all the woe around him - MetsBlog
Despite the fact that injuries have decimated the Mets rotation, young Matt Harvey hasn't really been affected. In his season debut, Harvey went seven innings against the Padres, holding them scoreless, while allowing just one hit while striking out ten. If the first two games of the season were ever any indication, most teams should hope to avoid a Niese-Harvey duo otherwise.

Not that it really matters to the Mets but Johan Santana's shoulder surgery was successful - MetsBlog
And as a result, he's going to miss the entire 2013 season. One in which the Mets are on the hook for his $25.5M salary. And his $5.5M buyout so they don't have to pay him more money in 2014.

The eerily similar parallels between Johan Santana and Frank Viola - AA
A fascinating read comparing the stories of Johan Santana and Frank Viola, who apparently have more in common than the obvious facts that they both came to the Mets from the Twins.

Johan Santana also has something in common with Pedro Martinez - NY Times
They were both wastes of money! Or so it's the insinuation between the lines when explaining that both Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez were mostly ineffective throughout their tenures on the Mets, when they weren't out with injuries, and they were paid a whole lot of money which the Mets didn't really recoup in performance. If there's any team that would be staunch against free agent pitchers in the future, it's gotta be the Mets.

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Jose Fernadez's service clock started out of necessity, made Opening Day roster - Fish Bytes
Despite the fact that it was all but a lock that top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez was going to be starting the season in the minor leagues, a whole slew of injuries has created a situation where the Marlins simply really had nobody left to be in the rotation other than Jose Fernandez. Ain't that a (female canine)?

Among the injured, Casey Kotchman, already - Palm Beach Post
With Logan Morrison on the 60-day DL, Joe Mahoney also on the DL with an oblique injury, the Marlins hoped to get as many innings as possible out of the last man standing, Casey Kotchman. So what does he do? It's good that he ran out a grounder hard, but to the point where he strained his hamstring wasn't exactly a very good idea.

And reinforcements apparently will not be on the way - Fish Stripes
The entire starting outfield in the Marlins AA-Jacksonville Suns team is injured. I mean, literally. All three starting outfielders for the Suns are hurt and on the DL. Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Jake Marisnick are all hurt, further decimating the depth in the Marlins system, for a parent club that has a platoon of Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano starting for them.

After two games, the Marlins are already on the cusp of ineptitude - Fish Bytes
At the time I'm writing this, I won't be able to see if they hit three games, but after getting blanked in their first two games to start the season, it should be noted that it's been almost 100 years before a team has been shutout in their first three games. Regardless of if that happens or not, history points out that teams that have been blanked to start their first two games, have historically not done very well throughout the scope of the entire season.

Nobody wants to see the Marlins, with statistical proof - Marlins Diehards
It should come as little surprise that the Marlins are not a draw, but here is some visual data to back up the claim. How the Marlins ticket prices compare to the median ticket cost in baseball, as well as how and if, other teams influence ticket sales at Marlins Park.

Nobody wants to see the Marlins, with sociological proof - Marlins Diehards
A reporter in South Florida really wanted to know the answer to the question, which would people prefer - a free Little Caesar's Hot & Ready, or Marlins tickets? If the answer weren't so obvious, would I have bothered even linking it?

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A whole lot of words to say what everyone already knows - Phillies Zone
Roy Halladay's velocity is dropping, and it's killing him.

DONT WORY GYS, HELP IS ON THE WAY - Phillies Zone
Delmon Young has started playing games in extended Spring Training.

Phillies claim Ezequiel Carrera off waivers - TGP
This isn't that gargantuan of a world-beating move by any means, but considering the general lack of outfield depth with the Phillies, it's still a positive one, potentially.

Guess who still stinks? Hint: He was a Brave last year - Phillies Zone
Considering the Braves won Opening Day by just two runs, it's almost safe to say that Chad Durbin and his zero-out outing was still playing for the Braves at least for one more game.

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