Marlins end Nats' winning streak
Stephen Strasburg's home-game "swan song" (?) for this season was a nightmare, as he gave up five earned runs over three innings. Ryan Zimmerman homered in the bottom of the first to tie the game 2-2, but the Marlins had a solid 6-2 lead from the fourth until the seventh inning. That's when the Nationals woke up and started punishing relief piticher Carlos Zambrano. In the ninth inning, Michael Morse hit a clutch solo home run to tie the game, and it looked like those "never-give-in" Nats were going to pull off another big comeback win. But in the bottom of the ninth, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman failed to advance Jayson Werth, who had drawn a walk, and it was extra innings. Unfortunately, Tyler Clippard could not contain the Marlins, who hit two singles and a triple, followed by an intentional walk and a sacrifice fly to retake the lead, 9-6. Ugh. But wait, it's not over! In the bottom of the inning, the Nats came right back with a double, single, and a double, narrowing the gap to two runs and putting the tying run in scoring position with no outs. Yet another fantasy comeback scripted in Hollywood, right? Wrong. The Marlins' relief pitcher composed himself and struck out three of the next four batters to end the game on a very glum note for the home crowd. Final score: 9-7. And that's how the Nats' five-game winning streak came to an end. See MLB.com.
The question mark after "swan song" refers to the equivocal response by manager Davey Johnson as to whether Strasburg would pitch after the upcoming series in Citi Field. The fact that he only lasted three innings may give him one more chance in D.C. this year.
Meanwhile, the Braves beat the Mets 3-0, their third straight shutout and their first game with multiple runs since Wednesday. They are making maximum use of their modest offensive power.
Well, it's time to head up to Washington and see the Nats get back on the winning track. NATITUDE!!!
Nats sweep the Cubs
Perhaps the Nationals got a little overconfident having swept the Cubs in the preceding four-game series. In the Thursday game the Nats won 9-2, making the cumulative series score 31-9. Adam LaRoche homered for the fourth game in a row, and indeed the sixth time in six games, and Kurt Suzuki hit a home run as well. He's starting to come around and become productive at the plate. He was hired primarily for his defensive ability, specifically, being able to throw out would-be base-stealers.
That game was marred by two bench-clearing incidents, which apparently reflected the Cubs' deep frustration. See masnsports.com. Well, blowing off some steam may have helped, as the Cubs beat the Pirates last night, 12-2.
Cleveland Stadium update
I made a number of relatively small changes to the Cleveland Stadium diagrams. The profile is more accurate, and a few details such as lateral walkways are included. Most notably, there is now a diagram showing just the first deck, and one showing the second deck without the roof.
What about League Park? Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time while in Cleveland last month to see what is going on at the historic site. Maybe next time.
The mail bag
Ben Ginter asks: "I am wondering the history behind when teams started to paint their logos behind home plate." That's a very interesting question I had never really thought about. As best as I can figure, here are the teams (and stadiums) which current feature the team logo behind home plate, in no particular order:
- New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium II)
- Minnesota Twins (Target Field)
- Atlanta Braves (Turner Field)
- Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park)
- Kansas City Royals (Kauffman Stadium)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (PNC Park)
- Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field)
- Washington Nationals (Nationals Park)
- San Diego Padres (PETCO Park) *
- San Francisco Giants (Candlestick Park) *
- St. Louis Cardinals (Busch Stadium III) *
- Tampa Bay Rays (Tropicana Field) *
- Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre) *
From looking through my various baseball stadium books, I found others:
- New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium)
- Seattle Mariners (Kingdome)
- Minnesota Twins (Metrodome)
- New York Mets (Shea Stadium)
- Washington Nationals (RFK Stadium)
Norm Proulx wrote me a nice complimentary e-mail message while I was on vacation. I always appreciate such warm sentiments.