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How we’re feeling: Positively Half Street

Why: The Nats lost Game 1 yesterday against the San Francisco Giants 3-2, but it was the kind of game that could have gone either way, not a spirit-breaking loss. Even though he gave up eight hits, starter Stephen Strasburg didn’t allow any extra-base hits and finished with just one earned run and one walk. Adam LaRoche and Denard Span each came close to making big plays that proved pivotal—LaRoche nearly throwing out the lead runner on a sacrifice bunt, Span almost securing a fly ball while leaping into the outfield wall. The Giants player who was almost out in each of those cases ended up scoring, accounting for two of San Francisco’s three runs. On offense, all three of the Nats’ extra-base hits, including their two home runs, came when they mattered the least: with the bases empty. In all, the Nats were mediocre, but they still came close to winning.

What’s next: Game 2 against the Giants, at 5:37 p.m. today at Nats Park. This is the kind of game that’s seen as a “must-win” even though the Nats don’t literally need to win it to stay alive. But if they lose, they’d have to win all three subsequent games, including two in San Francisco. In any case, the Nats must win at some point. Here’s hoping they start doing so today, with Jordan Zimmermann pitching his first game since his no-hitter.

Illustration by Jandos Rothstein / photo by Mrs. Gemstone via Flickr