Ryan Zimmerman

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From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- The season is off to an unexpected start for the New York Mets.

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CHICAGO -- Wow, what a difference a couple of days makes. After a brutally cold and windy Opening Day, the conditions at Wrigley Field have taken a 180-degree turn.

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CHICAGO -- Though their payroll experienced a 27 percent increase from one year ago, the Nationals still rank in the bottom half of all major-league franchises entering the 2012 season.

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CHICAGO -- Brad Lidge had taken the mound in this situation -- protecting a slim, ninth-inning lead -- plenty of times before. Two hundred sixty-six times in the big leagues, to be precise.

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