A Tale Of Two Cities

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Alright, alright, so we admit we’re not actually comparing Washington D.C. and Viera to London and Paris, even if Viera does sound vaguely French (it’s actually Slovak). Besides, in our scenario, it was the best of times for Nats fans in both cities. At 10:00 this morning, single game tickets went on sale for the most anticipated season in Nationals history, bringing fans out to the ballpark for the first time since last fall. Meanwhile, the Nationals played their best all-around game of the spring to date, shutting out the visiting Houston Astros by a count of 8-0.

First to D.C., where fans expressed their excitement for the beginning of the 2012 season. With the home opener just 34 days away, here’s what fans were saying as they waited in line to get their tickets:

Nationals fans line up at the box office in D.C. this morning to purchase single game tickets.

“I can’t wait to see all the talent come together.” – Andrew P.

“This is the most optimistic I’ve ever been.” – Rick P.

“This is the biggest year for D.C. baseball.” – Tommy V.

Needless to say, Nationals fans understand what is going on with this team right now. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up your tickets yet, make sure you hop online and grab them soon, especially for the big matchups with the Yankees and Phillies.

Now, back to Viera. They may have played together for a couple of seasons, but Livan Hernandez can’t be too happy with Ryan Zimmerman after today’s game. Not only did the Nationals third baseman take Livo deep in the first inning, he literally knocked him out of the game with a rocket comebacker off the veteran righty’s shin in the bottom of the third. After a short discussion with the training staff, Hernandez exited the game in favor of Lucas Harrell.

Zimmerman had a nice game, hitting the ball hard all three times at the plate. He singled home Anthony Rendon in his third and final plate appearance with a solid line drive to right field.

The Nationals piled on late in an 8-0 shutout of Houston on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson continued to impress in his second start of the spring, allowing just two ground ball singles in four shutout innings, striking out three. He has now tossed six scoreless frames – all against the Astros – allowing just three hits over that span. Ross Detwiler followed up by retiring all nine batters he faced, also striking out three.

The offense came alive as the game wore on, plating two runs in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in the seventh. When the day was done, Washington had piled up its highest run total of the spring, while allowing just three hits in the shutout.

Off to Jupiter (the city, not the planet) tomorrow evening for our first look at the new Miami Marlins. Here are the Nationals results to date:

vs. Georgetown (exhibition) – W, 3-0

@ Houston – L, 3-1

vs. Houston – L, 10-2

@ New York (NL) – W, 3-1

@ Atlanta – W, 5-2

vs. St. Louis – T, 3-3

vs. Houston – W, 8-0

Overall Record: 3-2-1

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