June 1, 2011
Will wonders never cease?! Coming off the worst slump they have endured this year, the Washington Nationals overcame the Philadelphia Phillies, beating them 10-2 last night and 2-1 this afternoon. It was only the third time since the beginning of 2008 that the Nats prevailed in a series against the Phillies. In fact, none of the Phillies' top three aces -- Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, or Roy Oswalt -- recorded a win against the Nats. Last night was a rout, as rookie second baseman Danny Espinosa hit two home runs, and now leads the team with ten for the year. (Oddly, his batting average is only .218, however.) The Nats scored in the double digits for only the second time this year, and the final score was 10-2.
This afternoon John Lannan got his first career win against the Phillies, having lost his ten previous decisions against them, including two this year. But the undisputed star of today's game was Laynce Nix, whose solo homer in the third inning proved to be the deciding margin. That was a welcome and very timely boost to the team's sagging fortunes, but Nix's biggest contribution was making a diving catch of a ball hit by Dominic Brown with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. It was the third out, so he probably prevented two runs from scoring, and the Phillies almost certainly would have won. That will make the highlight reel on "TWIB" next Saturday for sure: "How about that!" See MLB.com.
That concludes the current home stand in Washington, with three wins and three losses. A win against Philadelphia is almost worth two wins against any other team, so it has to be considered a success. Now the Nats head west for an eleven-game road trip against Arizona, San Francisco, and San Diego. It is interesting to note that even though the Nationals had won only three of their eleven games prior to today, they actually outscored their opponents during that same period, 55-54. If they could just score runs at the right time, when they are really needed, they would rank much higher in the standings.
As is so often the case, it turned out that getting all the details right on Arlington Stadium was a lot more time consuming than I had expected. The field itself is virtually unchanged, but the grandstand profile and details such as peripheral structures and light towers are much more accurate than before. Also, I have included additional diagram versions for 1965, 1970, and 1985, showing how the stadium gradually "evolved" over the years. To better convey the subtle complexities of the stadium, I have depicted profiles at four different positions.
Of particular use to me in redrawing the diagrams was Bob Busser's wonderful phanfare.com photo gallery Web site. He has a great eye for significant details that most photographers would miss. Also, long-time fan of this Web site Bucky Nance provided me with an aerial photo from late 1971 or early 1972 that shows Arlington Stadium in the midst of construction. (The Washington Senators were in the process of relocating there, becoming the Rangers.) It is the first time I have seen the lower deck swiveled around to left field, to make way for a football game.
Obviously, there is no need for a lower-deck version diagram of Arlington Stadium, as I did with RFK Stadium!