September 16, 2016 [LINK / comment]
Nats edge the Mets, and vice versa
After the series in Washington this week, the New York Mets are no longer a contender for the NL East Division, and are focused entirely on the wild card race against the Cardinals and the Giants. On Tuesday night the Nats scored first in the bottom of the second, and the score was 1-1 until the fifth inning, as rookie pitcher A.J. Cole had another solid outing. But the Mets took a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning, and he was done. It looked bleak in the bottom of the ninth, but the Nats staged a heroic rally to tie the game, 3-3. With runners on first and second with nobody out, and Ryan Zimmerman up to bat, it seemed all but certain. But alas, Ryan struck out and Danny Espinosa grounded into a double play, sending the game into extras. Mark Melancon pitched for the Nats in the top of the tenth, whereupon T. Rivera hit a solo homer, and that decided the ball game. Final score: Mets 4, Nats 3.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tanner Roark took the mound, and quickly got himself into hot water: bases loaded and only one out! But he kept his cool, and escaped any damage by getting a strikeout and a [long foul] out. After that, the Mets failed to get any hits off him for the next few innings, as the score remained tie, 0-0. Then in the bottom of the seventh, Wilson Ramos crushed a solo home run way up into the Red Porch seats at Nationals Park, and that ended up being the only score of the game. Mark Melancon got three consecutive outs in the ninth inning to get the save.
That put the Nationals back to a ten-game lead over the Mets in the NL East, reducing their magic number to just seven. The Nats will probably clinch the division title in Miami next week, on the road just like two years ago. (That was in Atlanta.) The weekend series that is about to get underway in Atlanta will be the Nationals' final visit to Turner Field, which will be replaced next year by SunTrust Park. (Construction is nearing completion.)
Stunning walk-off homer in Boston
In the [first] game of the Yankees-Red Sox series in Boston last night, David Ortiz hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth, the 537th homer of his career, thereby going ahead of Mickey Mantle. But the Yankees still had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning, and seemed assured of closing the gap in the ultra-tight four-team race for the American League East. But then one of those miraculous comebacks transpired, as the Yanks' vaunted closing pitcher Dellin Betances gave up two walks, and then with two outs, David Ortiz and Mookie Betts hit consecutive RBI singles to make a 5-4 game. It was almost like October 2004 all over again. And then Hanley Ramirez came to the plate, and belted a home run into the center field stands, to win it 7-5, sending Bostonians into ecastic jubilation. For all the details, see MLB.com.
Stunning walk-off homer in Chicago
This afternoon in Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs came back from a 4-2 deficit with a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. Losing two in a row to the Brewers would have been an embarrassment. In the tenth inning, the Cubs' Miguel Montero hit a dramatic walk-off home run to give the Cubbies their 94th win of the year. They had already clinched the NL Central Division title the night before after the St. Louis Cardinals lost.
Braves Field tweak
Much like with Baker Bowl and Shibe Park a few days ago, I realized that the directional compasses on the Braves Field diagrams were off by about ten degrees, because the street grid in that part of Boston is slightly "tilted," so I tweaked those diagrams ever-so-slightly. The only other thing that changed were the office building, which now shows the roof creases, and the football gridirons, which are rendered with solid lines rather than dotted lines. I also added another photo I took earlier this month, a closeup of Nickerson Field.
New stadium in K.C.?
That's what my brother Dan is hoping for: a retro-design ballpark in historic downtown Kansas City, which has been enjoying a renaissance over the past decade or so. Read his letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star. You heard it here first!