When rosters were set before opening day, outfielder Matt den Dekker wasn’t even on the Nats’ Major League squad. Two days later after an injury to Ben Revere, den Dekker found himself smack in the middle of the key part of Washington’s second game of the season.
Nats Record (2-0)
WP- Strasburg (1-0) LP- Norris (0-1) SV- Papelbon (2)
STARS OF THE GAME
Third Star- The start wasn’t one of Stephen Strasburg’s most dominant, but the righty allowed only one run in six innings and displayed a couple of new pitchers (a slider and a cut fastball) that are being added to his already impressive arsenal of weapons. Strasburg’s greatest feat in the game may have been in continuing his recent stretch of good pitching against Braves’ star Freddie Freeman. Freeman is hitting .387 lifetime against Strasburg, but went 0-3 on Wednesday and is now 2 for 11 with four strikeouts in his last 11 plate appearances against his fellow California native.
Second Star- Felipe Rivero did not pitch well on opening day, but he bounced back in a big way in the season’s second contest. Rivero pitched 1.2 innings and retired all five batters he faced to get the game to closer Jonathan Papelbon with Washington’s two run lead in place. In the last six games where he’s pitched more than one inning, Rivero has thrown nine innings allowing no hits, no runs and no walks while fanning seven.
Star of the Game- den Dekker’s clutch two out pinch-hit double to deep right center drove home the winnings runs as the Nats finally got to Braves’ starter Bud Norris in the seventh inning. The double was only the third career extra base pinch-hit for den Dekker, but continued the left-handed swinger’s hot hitting ways from late in the 2015 season. In his last 21 at bats, den Dekker has five doubles and two homers while hitting .333.
Unsung Hero- Ryan Zimmerman went 2 for 4, scored the tying run and made several good plays in the field to aid the Nats’ cause. Zimmerman’s day could have been even better if not for a spectacular diving catch by Braves’ centerfielder Ender Inciarte that robbed Zim of an extra base hit.
Gallant in Defeat- Braves’ third baseman Adonis Garcia, who homered in the season opener, continued his hot hitting ways with three hits in four at bats.
-Michael A. Taylor’s two outfield assists in the fourth inning kept Atlanta from putting up multiple runs and marked the first time a Nats’ outfielder has ever had more than one assist in a single game, let alone a single inning. Taylor had three assists in 96 games in center (he had three more in corner outfield spots) last year.
-Wilson Ramos followed up his multi-hit effort on opening day with two more hits in game two. This marked the first time Ramos has had back to back multiple hit games in a road contest since he did the trick on May 1st and 2nd of last season at Citi Field against the Mets. Ramos was also impressive behind the plate, gunning out Inciarte on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Nats open their 2016 home slate against the Marlins, with Tanner Roark taking on Miami lefthander Adam Conley.