Nationals sweep the Dodgers
For the first time since the beginning of the month (beating the Reds), the Nationals won three straight games against the same opponent, possibly spoiling the Los Angeles Dodgers' hopes of reaching the postseason. In both the Tuesday and Wednesday games, the home team in D.C. won by just one run, as the different parts of the team did what they had to do in tight situations. Ryan Zimmerman hit his first home run since May in the 5-4 win on Wednesday, and new closer Joel Hanrahan got another save. On Thursday night, Manny Ramirez hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, and the Nationals answered with five runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, led by Cristian Guzman's solo home run. Guzman went on to hit a single, double, and triple, achieving the first-ever "cycle" for the Washington Nationals in a home game. (Brad Wilkerson hit for the cycle in the Nationals' second-ever game, which was played in Philadelphia on April 5, 2005.) The Nats ran up the score in the later innings, and the final score was 11-2. The Dodgers have now lost seven games in a row, and are 3 1/2 games behind the D-Backs.
In a sense it was an interesting matchup between two guys from the Dominican Republic with the same first name: Manny Ramirez (recently traded to L.A. from Boston) and Manny Acta (the Nats' manager).
Even though the Nationals still have the worst record in the Major Leagues (49-85), technically they have not yet been eliminated from postseason play. At 25 games behind the Mets (74-60) with 28 games left in the season, their Elimination Number is now down to 4. The Seattle Mariners earned the dubious distinction of being to first team to be eliminated this year. The Nationals' primary task for the rest of the season remains the same as before: avoiding a triple-digit loss total. That means they must win exactly half of their remaining games.
The mail bag
John Fensom, a fan of the Blue Jays (and andrewclem.com) who lives in Sudbury, England, took exception to the idea recently offered to me by another fan that one reason that baseball is being taken out of the Olympics was the attitude of officials in London, host of the the 2012 Olympics. John writes:
The decision to drop baseball from the 2012 Olympic was taken in a secret IOC vote in July 2005. See
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/olympics_2012/4664733.stm for details.
This decision had nothing to do with the games' hosts. It was an IOC decision.
I appreciate the fact check, John. This is the sort of feedback that would be more appropriate to using the blog comment feature, which is available to registered users of this Web site. (That is a necessary hassle to prevent spam attacks, but I may come up with a more streamlined process for comments one of these days.)
Also, Bruce Orser informs me that there is a movement to save Yankee Stadium, and you can sign the petition. It's a nice idea, but I doubt that any more than a trivial portion of the original structure can be preserved.