October 4, 2015
It is of great consolation that the Washington Nationals are not going out with a whimper this year. Yesterday they won both games of a double-header against the NL East Division champion New York Mets, on the road in miserable wet, damp conditions at Citi Field. In the first game, Gio Gonzalez pitched six scoreless innings, and was in line for the win but the Mets tied it 1-1 in the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, Bryce Harper crushed a two-run home run into the upper deck near the bullpens in right-center field, and the Nats held on to win, 3-1.
But the big drama came in the nightcap, when Max Scherzer took the mound. For the fourth time this year, he was virtually flawless, going deep into the game without giving up a hit. In Milwaukee on June 14, he had a perfect game going into the seventh inning, and ended up with a complete game shutout one hitter, on June 20 he actually did throw a no-hitter at home against the Pirates [ ], and at home against the Reds on September 28, he didn't allow a hit until the eighth inning. [This time he not only had another no-hitter going,] he struck out nine of the last ten batters, getting the final out on a popup to third base hit by Curtis Granderson. YES!!! Scherzer struck out 17 Mets batters altogether, setting a team record. The Mets actually struck out more Nationals batters, 18 total, so that game had the highest number of total strikeouts in any nine-inning game ever. WOW! The only Met player to reach base was Kevin Plawecki, who hit a groundball to third baseman Yunel Escobar in the sixth inning, and Escobar's throw bounced before it reached Clint Robinson at first base. E-5! It was about as close to a perfect game as can be imagined. See washingtonpost.com.
Today Tanner Roark takes the mound for the Nationals' final game this season. It means nothing but pride for either team, since the Dodgers have already claimed home field advantage from the Mets in the NLDS. Roark has had a difficult year (he's 4-7), not adjusting well to becoming a relief pitcher after the acquisition of Max Scherzer.
The real excitement this afternoon will come in the American League West, where the Texas Rangers are clinging to a one-game lead over the Houston Astros, who are in turn one game ahead of the L.A. Angels for the second wild card spot. The Rangers are hosting the Angels, in what may be a decisive showdown, while the Astros are playing against the D-Backs in Phoenix. (The Yankees will host the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday.)
I recently heard of an explanation for the downward fortunes of the Houston Astros since August: Taylor Swift gave a concert at Minute Maid Field. The same thing happened at Nationals Park, where she performed in mid-July. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, she also had a concert in Rogers Centre, which may explain why the Blue Jays blew a lead in the bottom of the ninth inning yesterday. It doesn't matter, they still have home field advantage in the ALDS against whoever wins the AL West.
I added a new second-deck diagram to the Rogers Centre page, and that led me to make a few minor corrections and enhancements. For example, the support columns in the first and second decks are now shown, as are the small "cranes" that suspend the "foul poles," which are actually small nets or big yellow ribbons.
My estimate of foul territory at Rogers Centre has been raised to 30,500 square feet, rather than 29,000 square feet.
I've also been hard at work making revisions to the Turner Field diagrams, and since the Braves are playing a double-header today (because yesterday's game was rained out), I may just finish them before the last out in Atlanta this year.