Although he was struggling mightily this season, it still came as a great shock to hear Kerry Wood announce earlier today that not only was he retiring, but that he only had one more appearance in him. So it was gratifying to make it home in time from work to see him toe the rubber for the final time, striking out Dayan Viciedo of the White Sox on three pitches. Kerry was alternatively electrifying and maddening during his 14+ seasons, with the latter too often making an appearance on the mound. But though a myriad of injuries and misuse (another notch, Dusty) robbed him of the Hall of Fame heights once foreseen, Kerry Wood was a very good pitcher who closed his career in the most fitting way possible, with a K:
Productive and clutch. On back to back days. One of which was a Saturday. I hardly know who the Tracy’s are anymore.
But after today’s exciting 7-4 comeback victory over the Cubs, I will take a rebel with the Tracy name. And Chad Tracy, with his two-run single in the top of the eight to give the Nationals the lead, wasn’t the only Nats player to come out of the blue with a monster performance. Who saw LaRoche’s 4-5 day, with a 2-run home run coming? Evidently, Miss Cleo was too busy mocking to notice this big day in the crystal ball.
So granted it has been the Cubs, but two games, two comeback victories have felt wonderful so far. Hopefully, Washington’s bats get going a little earlier in the game tomorrow, helping support Zimmermann as he pitches for the series sweep.
Game ball(s): Tracy and the Nationals bullpen, especially Stammen and Mattheus, who combined to deliver 3 1/3 scoreless innings after a rough start from Gio Gonzalez.
Goat(s): Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol. It seems that they once again snuck off to the CubbyBear during the middle innings.
Bryce Harper is not as far off: Danny Espinosa, whose solo home run after a masterful 10-pitch at bat with two outs in the top of the eight, started the Nationals five-run rally.
Current Record: 2-0
Although I was unsuccessful in convincing my boss that seeing the Nationals season opener was a legitimate medical emergency*, I did manage to get home just in time to see Kerry Wood walk the Nationals back into the game in the top of the 8th. After coming on for a dominant Ryan Dempster with one on and one out in the top of the 8th, Wood went all Wild Thing and walked three straight Nationals hitters, including Jason Werth, which tied the game at 1-1. Ian Desmond then capped off a nice day with the game-winning single in the top of the ninth, driving in Chad Tracy after his big two-out double.
*As outrageous requests are want to do, I nearly then had a real medical emergency after Ian Stewart crushed a triple to right in the bottom of the 9th off of Brad Lidge. On probably any other day in Chicago, it would have been gone. But thankfully, it seems with Rahm Emanuel, Dick Durbin, and David Axelrod in the crowd, the hot air was blowing in today.
Game ball(s): Can we give the season’s first game ball to an element of nature? Sure, why not? Congrats wind!
Goat(s): Wood. Bill Murray kept saying Wood was just building the drama. I didn’t realize it took that much balls to make a good drama.
Bryce Harper is not as far off: Is it going to come to this Adam LaRoche? I’m going to be happy when Chad Tracy is subbed in for you?
Current Record: 1-0