September 20, 2009
You may have thought that the series between the Nationals and Mets in New York this weekend didn't count for much, but you'd be wrong. In fact, the Nats have been mathematically eliminated for contention in the race for fourth place in the National League East. With 13 games left in the season, the best final season record the Nationals can possibly achieve is 64-98, which is one less win than the Mets currently have. The Nats have to win at least nine more games to avoid an even worse record than last year (59-102), and that is not a very likely prospect, I'm afraid.
The Nationals won the first game of the series with the Mets, on Friday night, but just barely. Boosted by home runs hit by Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Bard, and Josh Willingham, they had a 6-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning. That's when the Mets staged a big rally, getting three runs across the plate, and loading the bases with two outs. Jeff Francoeur smashed a ball right at the pitcher, Mike MacDougal, who had the presence of mind to stop the ball with his glove (which came off), and tossed the ball over to first for the final out. Whew! The end of that game was a lot like on September 10, when the Phillies scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning, but still lost, 8-7.
The game on Saturday afternoon was a tense pitchers' duel, and former National Tim Redding got just enough run support to get his third win of the season, while current National John Lannan was given the loss, his 12th of the season. Adam Dunn got his 100th RBI, but he's running out of time to reach 40 home runs; he needs three more...
Today's game was rather lopsided, as the Nats didn't even get on the scoreboard until the ninth inning, when Zimmerman and Dunn each got RBIs. Final score: 6-2. It was John Maine's first win since May 31; he has been plagued by injuries this year, like many of his teammates. It's too bad the Mets suffered so many injuries in their first year at home in Citi Field. Without Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado for much of the summer, they really didn't have much of a chance to go to the post-season.
Congratulations to the Lynchburg Hillcats for winning the 2009 Carolina League (Class A) championship on Thursday night. They swept the Salem Red Sox in three games, the last of which was at the opponent's ballpark, a close 8-7 victory. It was the sixth time that Lynchburg had won the Carolina League Championship, and the third time since the team was reborn as the "Hillcats" in 1995. The Hillcats had previously won the "Mills Cup" in 1997 and 2002. Last week they beat the Wilmington Blue Rocks to take the Carolina League Northern Division title, falling behind two games to one and then winning the next two games, the final one of which was at home in Lynchburg. See milb.com. I guess this means I'll have to do a full-fledged stadium page for Lynchburg City Stadium, a.k.a. Calvin Falwell Field, which I visited a couple weeks ago. The only previous minor league stadium I have done is The Diamond, former home of the Richmond Braves, who abandoned the capital city of the Confederacy and relocated to suburban Atlanta this year.
I realized I had mixed up the Power alley and Center field columns on the table shown on the Outfield trigonometry page, so I fixed that. I was referring to it while working on the Sportsmans Park revised diagrams.
About the same time I was in Denver last month, the City Council voted to preserve the mountain views from Coors Field, barring high-rise construction on the west side of the stadium. Smart move. See 9news.com; hat tip to Matt Lanning.