…including the Nationals 4-game winning streak.
The Nats lost to the Blue Jays on Sunday, 9-4. Shairon Martis’ on the mound was less than stellar — 6 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings of work. The game was over after the 1st inning, when the Blue Jays had a 4-0 lead. Not even a surprising 3-4 performance from Josh Bard could save the day for the Nats. The 3 runs given up by Joel
Suckrahan Hanrahan in the top of the 9th inning were the nails in the coffin. For the record, the only reason I’m not calling him Suckrahan now is because his team was already down by 4 when he entered the game, so the 3 runs he gave up didn’t really matter.
Speaking of Hanrahan, I absolutely cannot figure out why he is still pitching for the Nationals rather than for the AAA Syracuse Chiefs. The only logical reason I can think of for his continued presence on the big league club is that he has some nude photographs of manager Manny Acta, acting GM Mike Rizzo, and/or team president Stan Kasten. I assume that Hanrahan is out of options, and the Nationals don’t think they could get him through waivers if they tried to send him down. But really, if some other
sucker team claims him, so what?! I don’t have anything personal against Hanrahan…he seems like a very nice guy. I met him last September at the season ticket holder Picnic in the Park, and he was very nice and very friendly. He even joked with me when I bumped into the sign with his name on it and knocked it over. (I’m a klutz….) From what I can tell, he really is a nice guy. He’s just not a major league reliever!
Next up for the Nationals in interleague play — the Red Sox. I have absolutely no idea what to expect where this series is concerned. I was convinced that the Nats would be swept by the Yankees, and they ended up winning 2 of 3 games. Will they continue their strong performances of late and win the Red Sox series, or will they revert to form and be swept? Who knows? All I can say for sure is that I’ll be at Nationals Park for all 3 games.
Wow…apparently those interleague wins over the Yankees really were a confidence booster for the Nationals. Tonight the Nats got their 4th consecutive win and 2nd straight extra innings win, beating the Blue Jays 5-3 in 12 innings thanks to a walkoff home run by Willie Harris.
Rookie pitcher Ross Detwiler had one of the best games of his short career, giving up just 2 runs (including a solo home run to Vernon Wells), on 6 hits with 3 strikeouts in just over 7 innings of work. He left the game in the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead and a runner (Jose Bautista) on 1st; Kip Wells was unable to keep the inherited runner from scoring. Joel Hanrahan replaced Wells 3 batters later with a runner (Aaron Hill) on 3rd and gave up a single to Scott Rolen, allowing Hill to cross the plate and tie the score and denying Detwiler a chance to get his first major league win. It was Hanrahan’s 5 blown save of the season. The only reason why I am not referring to him as Joel Suckrahan (or Blownsaverahan, for that matter) is because the Nationals ultimately won the game.
Willie Harris was The Man tonight, with another outstanding diving catch, a stolen base, and the game winning home run. Harris was 2-4, as were Cristian Guzman and Nick Johnson. In addition, Johnson extended his streak of safely reaching base to 10 straight plate appearances with a walk and 2 hits in his first 3 at bats. That set a Nationals record and tied the franchise record set by Rusty Staub (Expos) 40 years ago. The streak ended when Johnson grounded out in the 8th inning.
The Nationals got lucky in this game, facing rookie pitcher (and Maryland native) Brett Cecil instead of Roy Halladay, who is on the 15-day DL. Cecil pitched 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits with a walk and 4 strikeouts.
This win finally gives the Nationals 20 wins on the season. The Nats 4 straight wins coupled with the Phillies 5 straight losses puts the Nats only 16 games out of 1st place in the NL East. Start printing the playoff tickets…here come the Nationals! LOL OK, OK…4 straight wins don’t put us into pennant contention. But they do make this long-suffering Nationals fan extremely happy!
For the first time this season, the Nationals won in extra innings. They defeated the Blue Jays in 12 innings, 2-1, in interleague play.
Both starting pitchers limited the opposing offense to just 1 run, and both starters gave up 3 walks, 1 of which led to the other team scoring a run. Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann pitched 5 and 2/3 innings and had 3 strikeouts. Blue Jays starter Brian Tallet lasted 5 innings. With the bases loaded in the 4th inning, Zimm2 got the first RBI of his young career when he grounded into a fielder’s choice; Anderson Hernadez was out at 2nd, but Josh Bard scored. The Blue Jays scored in the 5th inning, and the score remained tied at 1 at the end of 9 innings, sending the game into extra innings. Both bullpens pitched well — which is a surprising statement to be able to make about the Nationals bullpen — until the bottom of the 11th, when Jason Frasor gave up a single and 2 walks to load the bases. Then Adam Dunn singled in the game winning run, to give the Nationals their first extra innings win in 9 extra innings games this year.
Zimm2 is winless in nine starts since April 26. His 63 strikeouts lead National League rookies.
The Nats have now won 3 straight games…their first 3-game winning streak since May 7-9 and only their second 3-game winning streak of the season.
I am happy.
Some ramblings while I’m watching the game…
A couple of weeks ago, I looked into getting a ticket for this game. Since it was scheduled to be a day game, I thought it would be cool to get a ticket, take an early train up to NY from DC, go to the game, and take the train back home at about 6:30-7:00. That would have gotten me back home sometime between midnight and 1 a.m. But I wasn’t able to find an affordable ticket on the Yankees web site, so I gave up on that idea. Fortunately for me, I didn’t think to check StubHub at that time, where I probably would have been able to find something affordable. Why is that fortunate? Because of the 5-hour 26-minute rain delay! By the time this game got underway at about 6:30, I would have been back at Penn Station, either boarding a train or getting ready to board one soon.
Right now, it’s the bottom of the 7th, and the Nationals are leading 3-0. The Yankees have 2 on with 1 out, and Hideki Matsui is at bat. This will be where the Yankees rally and take the lead…not necessarily this inning, but it’ll happen. This is, after all, the Nationals bullpen we’re talking about.
Update: Tavarez coming into the game? Get ready, Yankees fans…here comes the rally……
Update: OMG…I hope Brett Gardner will be OK. The MASN commentators are talking about his lower back, but it looked to me like hit his head. Ouch!! Hell of a catch too….
Update: I probably shouldn’t be so negative where the Nationals are concerned, but I’m a realist. I know how bad this team — specifically the bullpen — is. It’s the bottom of the 9th, and they only need 3 outs for a win, but they will find a way to blow it…or the defense will blow it. Not that this would be a bad thing, because the Yankees need to win tonight…..
Update: Umm…WHAT?!?! The Nationals won, 3-0? The Nationals WON??
Are you kidding me?!?!?
Once again, the Yankees made a young, unknown pitcher look like Cy Young. Rookie Craig Stammen got his first major league win, pitching a solid 6 and 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, giving up 6 hits with 2 strikeouts. The usually horrendous Nationals bullpen not only protected the lead by not giving up any runs, but Ron Villone, Julian Tavarez, and Joe Biemel didn’t even give up a hit. Mike MacDougal allowed 1 hit. Ryan Zimmerman and Cristian Guzman were 3-5 with 2 and 1 RBI, respectively. Adam Dunn, DH’ing again tonight, was 2-2 with 2 walks. Even the Nationals usually weak defense played well, with a diving catch by Willie Harris that robbed Alex Rodriguez of a hit, and a perfect throw by Austin Kearns from right field to second to get Nick Swisher out.
For the Yankees, Joba Chamberlain surrendered 3 runs in 6 innings, with 6 strikeouts and 3 walks. Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke, and David Robertson combined to give up just 1 hit and no runs, but the damage was already done. Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher were 2-4; Swisher also grounded into a double play in the 9th inning. Derek Jeter pinch hit for Ramiro Pena with the bases loaded, but the Yankees best threat of the game ended when he grounded into a fielder’s choice. Brett Garner made an excellent catch at the wall to rob Austin Kearns of a hit, crashing into the wall and crumbling to the ground in the process. Considering how his head snapped back and hit the plexiglas wall, he was lucky that he didn’t lose consciousness. I hope he will be OK.
Tonight’s game was the first at Yankee Stadium this season in which no home runs were hit. I guess the baseballs were too wet to leave the park!
I officially suck at making predictions. As I mentioned earlier, I know I shouldn’t be so negative where the Nats are concerned, but I honestly believed that they would not win any of these games. Prior to the series, I thought they might have a slim chance to beat Chien-Ming Wang, but I didn’t expect even two wins, much less a sweep.
(Here goes my split personality again…..)
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!! I’m freaking out here…I can’t believe the Nationals — the “lowly Nationals” — beat the Yankees TWICE. Going back to the 2006 Yankees/Nationals interleague series, the Nats are 4-2 vs. the Yankees! Chien-Ming Wang is 0-2 vs. the Nationals. WOW!! Unfreakingbelieveable! Maybe this will be a turning point for the team, and they will play more respectably for the rest of the season. If nothing else, it’s got to be a confidence builder!
WTF is wrong with the Yankees?! How is it possible that they lost this series to the worst team in baseball…one of the worst teams EVER?! It’s pathetic. A-Rod was 0-the series. The entire team is in a slump — great timing, to be slumping against a team that hasn’t even won 20 games by mid-June. If the Red Sox win again tonight, the Yankees will fall 4 games back in the division. Hell, the Blue Jays have swept the Phillies, so they’re breathing down our necks. This sucks!!! SNAP OUT OF IT, YANKEES!!
Jeez…what a series.
Hanley Ramirez’s second hissy fit of the season deals with the fact that he was hit by a pitch in an interleague game against the Blue Jays. Not only did the Marlins win that game, they swept the series. But Hanley was peeved that none of the Marlins pitchers retaliated against any Blue Jays batters.
Basically, instead of enjoying the win and the sweep, Ramirez chose to act like this.
(There seems to be a lot of this going around lately…..)
The Big League Stew blog makes a good point — why should the Marlins retaliate against an interleague opponent that they won’t face again this season?
Jeez…this latest hissy fit, and the one he had earlier in the season, make me wonder if Hanley Ramirez needs to wear Pampers under his uniform instead of a cup.
Interleague play returns, starting on Friday.
I have previously expressed my thoughts about it here. I still believe that it has run its course, and if we’re going to have continue to deal with it, then I still think some changes need to be made in order to keep interleague play fresh and interesting. I know a lot of baseball fans like it just as it is now; I am not one of them. Actually, it’s not that I don’t like it. I’m just over it. It’s just not that big a deal to me anymore.
This second round of interleague play differs greatly from round one for me personally, because it may just cause my brain to explode into lots of tiny pieces. Why? Because my two favorite teams will be playing each other next week. Yes, the Washington Nationals will play the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday — the 16th, 17th, and 18th.
This is a huge dilemma for me. It probably shouldn’t be, but it is. The reality of this series, most likely, is that the Yankees will sweep and not fall too far behind the Red Sox in the AL.East (assuming that they haven’t regained the lead by then). As a Yankees fan, that is exactly what I should be hoping for — a sweep of the Nationals. After all, the Yankees are battling the Red Sox, and the Blue Jays too, actually, for the division lead. The Nationals are dead last in the NL East, with the worst record in baseball (again).
But…I’m also a Nationals fan.
Taking at least 2 of 3 games at Yankee Stadium would be a tremendous shot in the arm for a struggling Nationals team. It might even be enough to boost them into an actual winning streak of more than just 3 games in a row! (The Nats have won 3 straight games only once this season.)
How could I possibly root for my home team to be swept?
How could I possibly root for my other team to lose any games when they’re in a tight battle for the top spot in their division?
The last — and only — time the Nationals and Yankees faced each other in interleague play was three years ago, also on June 16-18. The Yankees won the first game; the Nationals won the second game. In the third game, Chien-Ming Wang pitched extremely well for 8 innings. But in the bottom of the 9th, with the Yankees leading 2-1, Marlon Anderson singled, and then Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off home run. Final score: Nationals 3, Yankees 2. The celebration at home plate was immortalized in a mural above the Scoreboard Walk at Nationals Park.
For many Nationals fans, this victory over the Yankees (on Father’s Day), and this series win, is one of the highlights of the Nationals brief history in Washington. I wore a Yankees cap and a Nationals t-shirt to the first game, a Nats
cap and Yankees t-shirt to the second game…and a Redskins cap and
t-shirt to the third game. I was conflicted then, and I’m conflicted now.
AAAUUUUGGHHHH!!! What am I going to do???
No, 6-0 is not the score of the Yankees/Red Sox game tonight — that would be Red Sox 7, Yankees 0. Nope…6-0 is the Red Sox record against the Yankees this season.
The two teams are now tied for the lead in the AL East. And we can’t ignore the Blue Jays, who are just a game and a half behind the co-leaders.
It’s going to be an interesting season, to say the least.
As for the game itself, the Yankees flat out stunk. A.J. Burnett sucked, lasting less than 3 innings, and giving up 5 runs (3 earned). Only 2 Yankees — Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner — got hits.
Ah well…there’s always tomorrow.