July 4, 2022 [LINK / comment]
And they said it couldn't be done... After a "false start" at the end of last year, when I suddenly ran out of time before finishing the task of graphical refinement, I am pleased to announce that my Yankee Stadium diagrams have been revised. It is the first such update to those diagrams since 2008. Why so long? Over the years I have probably spent a hundred or more hours closely scrutinizing photos and other graphical materials on this stadium alone, trying to reconcile discrepancies until I was satisfied that I had it right. Not perfect, but pretty darned close. There is a new 1967 version that includes minor changes compared to the 1946 version, which is the "classic" Yankee Stadium that ballpark aficionados all know and love. As with other recent stadium updates (e.g. Nationals Park, Polo Grounds, etc.), the new diagrams include several new features:
I have also changed some of the photos on that page, and have added a new travel-oriented section ("Visit New York!"), as I have done with other recent stadium page revisions. In this case it includes a photo montage of prominent city landmarks.
The grandstand in the new diagrams is significantly different compared to the 2008 diagrams, as is usually the case with major diagram updates, but in this case there is also a change to the field itself. It turns out that right-center field was about six feet closser to home plate than I had previously estimated, which means that there wasn't as much of a change between the old (1988) version of Yankee Stadium relative to its 2009 successor. The fence in right-center field in New Yankee Stadium is about 12 feet closer (rather than 18 feet, as I had estimated before) to home plate than was the case in the previous stadium so named.
The first phase of All-Star voting ended last week, and the top two vote recipients in each league are automatically in: Aaron Judge (Yankees) in the American League, and Ronald Acuña (Braves) in the National League. Most of the names are familiar, but there are a few newbies in there, such as Jose Trevino, catcher for the Yankees. The results of the final voting will be made public this Friday evening, with the final rosters being announced on Sunday. See MLB.com. The only Washington National player who is clearly worthy of an All-Star invite is Josh Bell, but Paul Goldschmidt (Cards) and Pete Alonso (Mets) are the finalists at first base, so if Bell gets in, it will be via one of those back-door mechanisms designed to make sure that all teams get at least one All-Star representative. The game will be played at Dodger Stadium two weeks from tomorrow; that was originally going to be the site of the 2020 All-Star Game, which was canceled due to the coronavirus.
It was definitely NOT a happy 4th of July weekend in Our Nation's Capital. The Nationals suffered lackadaisical losses on Friday night and late Saturday afternoon, with both Josiah Gray and Jackson Tetreault having a hard time on the mound, both getting tagged for the loss. In Sunday's game the Nats were without a hit until the seventh inning, when they finally showed some spunk. Josh Bell hit a leadoff double, followed by two more hits, but the Nationals only managed two runs in that inning, tying the game and letting starting pitcher Erick Fedde off the hook. One inning later Bell hit a two-out solo homer, giving the Nats the lead for the firt time in the series. And the crowd went wild! In the top of the ninth, Tanner Rainey got the first two batters out, then walked Avisail Garcia (on a full count), and then had a 2-2 count on Jesus Sanchez who hit a two-run homer to right field, taking back the lead. Arghhh! But in the bottom of the ninth Victor Robles hit a clutch two-out RBI single to send the game into extra innings. More exciting and inspirational heroism! But in the top of the tenth Carl Edwards Jr. gave up singles to the first four batters he faced, and the Marlins ended up winning after all, 7-4. What a crushing letdown! Adding to the misery of that game was the fact that Juan Soto was replaced in mid-game, after pulling a calf muscle during a rundown.
This morning, just after 11:00, Patrick Corbin took the mound for the Nationals and put in a very solid performance. It was a similar sequence of events, with the Marlins taking an early 1-0 lead and the Nationals tying it in the eighth inning, thanks to a walk and a stolen base by Ehire Adrianza and a clutch RBI single by Luis Garcia. Juan Soto took a bases on balls as a pinch hitter (but was replaced by a pinch-runner), loading the bases with just one out. But neither Lane Thomas nor Josh Bell could get a run in, and the game went to extra innings, again! Tanner Rainey took the mound, and just like in the ninth inning the day before, the Marlins scored two on a home run -- this time by Bryan De La Cruz. Arghhh-hhh! The Nats could only get one run in the bottom of the inning and once again lost -- their fifth consecutive defeat and their fourth straight loss to the Marlins. It's almost like they are cursed or something...
This was the sixth time the Nationals have been swept this year, the third time they have been swept by the Marlins this year, and the first time they have been swept in a four-game series since August 2-5, 2021, against the Phillies.
Furthermore, these were the fourth and fifth extra inning games that the Nationals have lost this year. They won their first such game, on May 18 against the Marlins, but then lost their next five. Guess what? I was at two of those games, on June 17 (2nd game) and 18! After today's game the radio announcers (Dave Jageler and Charlie Slowes) pointed out the Nats' poor record in extra-inning games over the past two years, and how the Nationals haven't fared well under the new rule by which a "ghost runner" starts on second base when extra innings are played. That made me curious about how the Nats have done in extra-inning games further back in time, so I compiled my voluminous spreadsheet data and came up with the following results:
Years marked with a green background are when the Nationals made a postseason appearance. There doesn't seem to be much correlation between extra-inning wins and losses versus their overall performance.