12 April 2012

Opening Day 2012 (The Home Edition)

On Saturday 08 April 2012 from a sportlots auction order I got the 2012 Topps Opening Day Base set of 220 cards (Now to find the Mascot set.) I got the set for 25¢ + 17.00 shipping. It only cost the seller $5.10 to send in a thin white bubble mailer envelope. The envelope got torn in my apt mailbox (which is the one the delivery person opens up the whole bank of boxes from) the set itself was safe in a small 400ct card box.

So to help celebrate the Home Opener (I missed the road Opening Day that was in Chicago 05 April) for the Nats Here are the Nationals cards that are represented in the set. From the top pic you can see the simple design they used with the player's name in the "surfboard" (as one blogger has dubbed this set) which actually looks similar to the graphic that MASN uses when showing the batter's name on the screen.

 Screen Capture from Video highight on MASN Sports Network 09 April 2012
Ryan Zimmerman on 2nd after first double of the 2012 season vs Mets in 4-3 loss

The colors used in the design use the teams dominant color matched with black and the players name in light gray. I don't have any of the regular issue cards yet, but from the blogs I've seen they swap out the gray with silver leaf which makes reading the players name more difficult on the regular issue.

The backs use the same color combination without the players name in white matching the card stock color.

OK so now onto the cards there are 8 Nationals represented in the set 4 of them pitchers including the official Opening Day Starter Stephen Strasburg who went 7 innings on Opening Day in the 2-1 Curly W Win vs The Cubs. He allowed 5 hits, 1 run and 1 walk plus 5 strike outs 82 pitches and a 1.29 ERA, however it was Tyler Clippard relieving in the 8th and throwing 14 pitches who was credited with the win and Brad Lidge with the save. Clippard and Lidge are not represented here, but Home Opening Starter Gio Gonzalez (I'm not impressed with him so far) is along with Drew Storen and Jordan Zimmermann.

First up shortstop Ian Desmond. One of the position players that makes some mighty spectacular plays. One of which seems to be shown in his card here, WOW what a picture.

 2012 Topps Opening Day 146 Ian Desmond Nationals
(Front and Back)

Next we have the starting pitcher for the Home Opener Gio Gonzalez.  So far from what I've seen of him I am not that impressed. I would have rather seen John Lannan in the rotation than Gonzalez. I don't know maybe he will work out I hope so.

2012 Topps Opening Day 76 Gio Gonzalez Nationals
(Front and Back)

Here is a big asset to the Nationals Micheal Morse at First Base. He is currently in rehab recovering from a right lat strain and is expected to return 10 April. I like action photos for cards in this one you can see his bat falling behind him it looks like a little wooden missile about to hit his rear, or a large wooden WWII German hand grenade.

 2012 Topps Opening Day 11 Michael Morse Nationals
(Front and Back)

OK now is the first round draft pick who is expected to be the wonder kid for the team for several years to come Opening Day Starter Stephen Strasburg. He did well Opening Day in Chicago vs. The Cubs as I mentioned above. If he stays healthy this will be his first full season following his Tommy John Surgery. The way he makes his delivery I always worry that he will blow out his elbow again which would most likely end his career.

 2012 Topps Opening Day 190 Stephen Strasburg Nationals
(Front and Back)

Now we have closer Drew Storen who will is out with an elbow injury and will miss the Opening Home Day.

 2012 Topps Opening Day 141 Drew Storen Nationals
(Front and Back)

Here we go with the only landscaped card of the Nats Team Set Right Fielder and Slugger Jayson Werth (I keep wanting to put an "A" in his last name). When Jayson was with the Phillies he was a big pain in the rear to the Nats, however since being with the Nats he really hasn't been that big a pain to other teams. It seems his best career years so far have been the ones with the Phillies. When we first got him I was really excited about his running/scoring ability and his decent fielding. He has been more of a let down, but he can still come through every once in a while. I just wish it happened more often. In the pic on his card it looks like he is trying to avoid a tag, but I don't see where the ball is. Maybe this was a scoring play? Or was it a "Hotbox" out?

 2012 Topps Opening Day 91 Jayson Werth Nationals
(Front and Back)

Now the face of the franchise for many years to come 3rd Baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Ryan makes many super spectacular plays that are difficult but he makes them look so easy. He also sometimes make really weird facial expressions, one of which is shown on this card. I don't think Ryan chews tobacco so maybe he's securing his bubble gum safely between his lower lip and gums.

 2012 Topps Opening day 217 Ryan Zimmerman Nationals
(Front and Back)

Ah and now the last card of this Team set starting Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. Jordan was on the mound for the 2012 season's first loss to the Cubs. The team made a valiant effort and tried to come back in the 9th, but they were always behind this game. Oh well at least the Nats took the series before losing 4-3 on Sunday. Jordan went 7 innings (I'm glad our starters are going deep into the game now) allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and struck out 4 gives him a 1.29 ERA.

 2012 Topps Opening Day 8 Jordan Zimmermann Nationals
(Front and Back)

Now to get the regular edition team set, and possibly the entire 2012 regular flagship set.

Nationals Shown or Mentioned:

11 April 2012

Trade Rumor: John Lannan on Trade Block?

 John Lannon 05 March 2012 - Getty Images
Since last weeks news about Left-Handed Starter John Lannon being optioned down to the minors it looks like a few other teams are interested in him if the Nats put him up for trade: Detroit Tigers among six teams interested in Washington Nationals' John Lannan. The other teams that have shown an interest in John are: The Orioles, Cubs, Red Sox and Astros. I only count 5 teams there, the article and the connected quotes I've seen list the Tigers twice weird.

The Nationals have sent him down to the Minors and replaced him as the fifth man in the starting rotation with Ross Detwiler. Detwiler was the winning pitcher (and the first starter to get a win this season the previous wins were by the bullpen) in the 10 April game vs. The Mets. The Nats won 6-2 it was New York's first loss of the season.

Lannan's initial reaction was to request to be traded just one day after being sent down to the Minors. The Nats don't want to trade him just yet supposedly. Even though Lannan being traded is just rumor apparently the Nats are talking seriously with the teams that are interested in him.

Related articles:
John Lannan Drawing Interest from Chicago Cubs - The Cubbies would trade Marlon Byrd. Byrd was on the Nationals 2005-2006.
Cubs interested in Nationals lefty John Lannan - 
Washington Nationals' Ross Detwiler vs The Mets; John Lannan Trade Chatter

National Players Mentioned in this Post:
Marlon Byrd
Ross Detwiler
John Lannan