Nats almost sweep the Rockies
The Colorado Rockies came to Washington on Monday to face an amped-up Nationals team that was hungry for even more victories. Unfortunately, the game was postponed because of forecast rain that -- as far as I know -- did not actually take place. This scheduling change put added pressure on the Nationals' roster and may have ended up costing them a game. The Rockies boast an impressive lineup of hitters, most notably their All-Star third baseman, Nolan Arenado. They also include two former Nationals: Daniel Murphy, who signed as a free agent after being traded from the Nats to the Cubs one year ago, and Ian Desmond, who spent a few years with the Texas Rangers. But the Rockies lack pitching (as a team they're tied with the Orioles for the highest ERA in the majors), and that was evident in the first game of the series on Tuesday.
In the Tuesday game, Trea Turner led off with a home run, and Adam Eaton also scored later in the [first] inning. In the second inning [Turner] hit an infield single, and in the fifth inning he hit a leadoff triple, but in neither case did those hits result in any scoring. In the seventh inning, when the Nationals staged an eight-run rally (!!), he hit an RBI double, thus completing the "cycle" for the second time in his career. (The first time was April 25, 2017; see the Washington Nationals page.) By amazing coincidence, [Turner's] previous cycle was also against the Colorado Rockies, but it took place in Coors Field. (Would that qualify as "recycling"? ) Stephen Strasburg pitched six scoreless innings and got his National League-leading 13th win of the year. Final score: Nats 11, Rockies 1.
In the first of two games on Wednesday, Erick Fedde only lasted four innings on the mound even though he had a low pitch count (79) and only gave up one run. Solo home runs by Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon tied the game and took the lead, respectively, as the Nats held on to win, 3-2. In the nightcap game, Patrick Corbin had a scoreless six-inning outing, while the Nats took advantage of an error to score a run in the fourth inning. Yan Gomes added an insurance run with a homer in the seventh inning, and the Nats won again, 2-0.
The final game of the series on Thursday was much different. Max Scherzer was pitching for the first time since the All Star break, needing to rest a strained back muscle. He was doing fine until the fourth inning when -- you guessed it -- he gave up a home run with two runners on base. He stayed in through the fifth inning, and would have been exposed to a potential loss had it not been for a three-run homer by Anthony Rendon, tying the game. In the top of the sixth, Matt Grace lobbed an easy pitch to Ryan McMahon, who hit a two-run homer to retake the lead. But in the bottom of the inning, Gerardo Parra tied the game once again with a two-run double. Trea Turner then batted him in to give the Nats the lead. One inning later, a solo homer by Matt Adams gave the Nats a valuable insurance run. But an inning after that (the eighth) the former National Daniel Murphy hit a solo homer, and in the top of the ninth, another former National, Ian Desmond, did the same thing to tie the game. The Nats' bullpen was worn out and depleted, and manager Dave Martinez decided to let Fernando Rodney pitch even though he had pitched in both games on Wednesday, just like closer Sean Doolittle. Rodney obviously didn't have it, and the Rockies took advantage. Thus, the Nats blew a perfect opportunity to sweep the Rockies and draw to within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Braves. (Does that scenario sound familiar?) Final score: Rockies 8, Nats 7.
Tonight the Nationals welcome the defending National League Champion L.A. Dodgers to Our Nation's Capital, a potential preview of a postseason matchup, if things continue as they have been. The game underway right now is close (LAD 1, WSH 0) but seemed to be a mismatch as far as starting pitchers go: the Nats' Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.80 ERA) faces Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.71 ERA). Saturday bodes even worse for the Nats: it's Who Knows Who against Clayton Kershaw. Sunday's game offers the best hope for the Nats to win at least one game: Stephen Strasburg (13-4, 3.37 ERA) against Walker Buehler (9-1, 3.23 ERA). And barring some unforeseen contingency, I'll be there!
Stadium locations: all done!
I finished the Stadium locations page, adding map/diagrams for Montreal, Toronto, as well as Queens and Brooklyn, New York. The Queens map/diagram actually encompasses all of the current and past MLB stadiums in New York, since there isn't much else in Queens with which to compare the location of Citi Field and Shea Stadium, other than Arthur Ashe stadium, where the U.S. Open tennis tournament is played each September.
Reorienting "The Murph"
Thanks to a tip from Angel Amezquita, I realized that I had the wrong compass orientation for Jack Murphy Stadium. Center field was not due north, as I apparently thought before, it was actually east-northeast. So, I corrected the directional compass for all the diagrams, but nothing else changed other than making the football gridirons with solid lines.
But wait, there's more! I have beefed up the "Coming Attractions" box on the right side of the baseball blog page, separating stadiums whose diagrams need to be updated from those I have not done at all. It also shows the remaining "site today" diagrams, and indicates that the map/diagrams are all completed. Once I finish revisions to the remaining stadium diagrams in the next few weeks, I'll get started on long-deferred stadiums -- various stadiums where special MLB games have been played in recent years (most notably, London Stadium), as well as the "antique" wooden ballparks from the turn of the 20th Century, such as Washington Park III in Brooklyn. I just learned for the first time that Washington Park was totally rebuilt with a concrete and steel grandstand when the Brooklyn Federal League franchise was born in 1914. [As you can see in the Brooklyn map/diagram, Washington Park IV] looks almost identical to Weeghman Park, home of the Chicago Whales during their two years of existence, and which later became transformed into Wrigley Field.