I had grand plans of taking nice photographs at the game and posting them for all to enjoy, but the threat of rain had me leaving my camera gear at home, and so instead I offer seven insights garnered from the game, which featured an NL central rival (and all around good guy) taking on the master of generating buzz around 1st round draft picks.
Jose Tabata should be playing left field for the Reds. The man is fast enough to lead off, plays a defense often described as "the opposite of Jonny Gomes" (UZR liked him in LF last year to the tune of 6.5), and even scaled the wall to almost pull back a homerun. Would I prefer Andrew McCutchen? Sure I would. But Tabata strikes me as more realistic in the "let’s dream about who the Reds are going to add" world and besides, we already have someone in CF.
Mike Morse should not. Not since Hunter Pence has someone looked so awkward on a baseball field. The man’s batting stance doesn’t allow for hitting pitches on the outside half of the plate. He’s had nice numbers in the past, and I know folks here have clamored for him at one time or another, but really, he’s painful to watch. If that's not reason enough, he’s also not a good defender. He's best suited for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Nationals Park is a nice place to take in a ballgame. Despite living in DC for awhile, I hadn’t been to a game at the new stadium yet (although I’ve done the RFK thing on multiple occasions). For the price, you can’t beat the seats we had, which were against the rail in the left field corner (basically Bartman-land). A nice food selection (it was $1 night, so peanuts, popcorn, and hotdogs were a buck), okay beverage choices, and a number of fun non-baseball options round out the experience.
Good defense is fun to watch. Both CFs had some nice throws, with Roger Bernadina nailing Brandon Wood at 3rd trying to pull a Reds move and go first-to-third on a single. Jayson Werth’s sliding catch was not quite up to Jay Bruce standards of excellence, and Cutch snagged a liner from rookie-of-the-year hopeful Danny Espinosa (who jacked a go-ahead homer in the 7th). The Nats handled a failed suicide squeeze nicely in the 4th as well, which isn’t something you see every day.
Seeing ex-Reds is always nice. Cherry hit a solo shot and made a nice diving stop at the hot corner, and the Laynce Daynce came in as a defensive sub in the 7th. Todd "Iced" Coffey did not make an appearance, allowing the Nats to hold onto their lead.
Neil Walker let me down. I was completely banking on Walker tearing it up so I could gush about how he’s the solution at 3rd base for years to come, but then he went 0-4 including a GIDP. But I’m still sold on Walker, who I think is destined for greatness. He’s a hometown kind-of-guy who would fit well in Cincinnati, is versatile, and can handle a bat. The Pirates would do well to continue building around this guy, along with Cutch and Tabata.