The Chicago Cubs didn’t really have a chance of beating the Washington Nationals Tuesday night. If they did, it wasn’t because of Aramis Ramirez’ two-run homer in the sixth but rather the Nats’ ability to stay sharp on defense.
Left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler made his first Major League start of the season against former Nationals pitcher Ramon Ortiz. Both men made their season debuts Tuesday, which made for an interesting start to the game. Folks were left wondering: if someone implodes, who will do it first?
Well, neither pitcher imploded but defense was the primary cause for the Nationals’ 3-2 win on both the home and visitor side. Washington scored early during their first time through the lineup off Ortiz. Roger Bernadina, Danny Espinosa and Ryan Zimmerman roped three consecutive singles to start the evening. Laynce Nix then reached base on a throwing error by Cubs second baseman Jeff Baker, allowing Bernadina and Espinosa to score. Zimmerman soon followed suit and scored the Nats third and final run of the game thanks to a Wilson Ramos single. The sloppy Cubs defense was the Nationals’ gain.
From that point on, the game was rather quiet. The Cubs didn’t pounce on Detwiler and the Nats stranded runners. Jayson Werth failed to reach base once in four attempts. The Ramirez two-run blast came just as Nats manager Davey Johnson was contemplating a move to middle relief in the sixth. That move came one batter too late but the Nats hung on to finish the night out due to quality bullpen performances by Coffeey, Burnett, Clippard and Storen.
Detwiler also had a quality first night back at the helm. He pitched 5.1 innings, gave up four hits (one homerun), two earned runs, hit one man and had one strikeout over 78 pitches (49 for strikes).