May 24, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Nationals pile on the runs

During their recent rebound, the Washington Nationals' strong point was in their pitching staff, to the surprise and delight of many. The low team batting average, in contrast, has come as a disappointment to their fans. Now their bats are finally getting hot, as Felipe Lopez hit a grand slam that made the difference in an 8-4 win over the Reds on Tuesday, and Ryan Church hit two homers in the 12-7 victory last night. On Monday, the Nats wasted a big lead as the Reds came back to win, 8-7. That makes a total of 27 runs scored by the Nats in the last three games, their highest such total in team history. (Their previous such record was April 18-20, 2006, when they had scored 26 runs against the Phillies.) The Nats will be trying to win the final game of the four-game series in Cincinnati tonight.

I was greatly annoyed that the Nats were bested in two out of three games by the Baltimore Orioles in the weekend series; arghhh! Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell took a look at the bright side, marvelling that so many fans showed up to see three games that are essentially meaningless in terms of the pennant races. Each of the three games were decided by a one-run margin, providing plenty of drama and opportunities for learning small-ball strategy.

So, the 82,317 fans who came to old RFK Stadium this weekend to enjoy three one-run games were the hard core: the students of the game, the kids just starting to fall in love with the sport and those so loyal to their teams that they never stop dreaming of better days. And all weekend they got their reward.

The mail bag

From Mike Zurawski: has a detailed overview of plans for renovating Kauffman Stadium, home of the Royals. The most noticeable change would be the new concourse that would wrap all the way around the stadium's exterior. I've always thought that fans ought to be able to sit or at least walk close to the green bank / waterfall in the outfield, and it appears that is their intention. Good! Also, the Oakland (?) Athletics have bought land in Fremont for their new stadium, moving ahead with their plans in spite of uncertainty over final approval by local government authorities. Team owner Lew Wolff hopes "to open the new ballpark within three to five years." See