May 27, 2011 [LINK / comment]
Brewers sweep the Nationals
After six weeks of fair-to-middling performance, staying fairly close to the .500 win-loss mark, the Washington Nationals took a sudden nose dive this week. No sooner had they beat the Orioles with a team-record run total of 17 on Friday night, they started finding new ways to lose once again. The Orioles took the next two games, and then the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Nats in all three games in Miller Park. On Monday, Corey Hart hit three home runs as the Brew Crew won, 11-3. On Tuesday the Nats' bullpen imploded, wasting a fine outing by Livan Hernandez. The Nats had a 6-2 lead, which turned into a 6-3 lead, then a 6-5 lead after Tyler Clippard gave up two runs, and then a 7-6 deficit as rookie reliever Henry Rodriguez did likewise. The Nats loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, in an unusual play in which [Ian Desmond]* struck out, which would have ended the game if the catcher had caught the ball. But [Desmond]* reached base, and then Jayson Werth singled, and the next batter [Wilson Ramos]* walked, bringing up Michael Morse to the plate. Morse had already hit a grand slam in that game, and perhaps was too eager to repeat that feat, much like Josh Willingham had done for the Nationals in that same park in July 2009. He popped out to end the game. On Wednesday, the Nats lost again, in a lackluster performance. Getting swept by the Brewers, the Nats have now lost five games in a row for the first time this season.
*[Updated with names one day later.]
This evening, the Nationals welcome the San Diego Padres to town, as John Lannan takes the mound, desperately trying to reverse the Nats' recent slump. Now is the time for all good Nationals fans to come to the defense of their team, and I will be there!
Will Pudge get traded?
News that San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey broke a leg bone during a collision at home plate has led to rumors that the Nationals may trade their star catcher Pudge Rodriguez to the Giants. Pudge has been sharing duties behind the plate with Wilson Ramos, who has been one of the team's best hitters this season. Whether Ramos is ready to assume full-time starting duties remains to be seen, and we may find out sooner rather than later. Personally, I hope they keep Pudge on the roster.
R.I.P. Harmon Killebrew
Former Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew died ten days ago, not long after entering hospice care for terminal esophageal cancer. It would be hard to underestimate the impact he had on baseball in the young Twins team, and how it lifted spirits of baseball fans across the midwest. I remember that all too vividly from growing up on the great plains in the 1960s. See the obituary printed in the Washington Post.
In today's Washington Post, drew attention to Killebrew Drive, in the suburbs of northern Virginia. It was named in 1960, the last year Killebrew wore a Washington Senators uniform.