June 21, 2011
Well, it was bound to end sooner rather than later. The Washington Nationals had won eight consecutive games, their longest winning streak since August 2-9, 2009*, but the Baltimore Orioles decided that "eight was enough." It's too bad, because the Nats were just one game below .500, and it would have been the latest in the season that had reached that mark since the end of 2005. Starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny, making his first appearance after being on the 15-day disabled list, just could not contain the O's, and was replaced during the fifth inning. Meanwhile, the usually-reliable Nationals committed three defensive errors, including one by Ryan Zimmerman. Without a doubt, Zimmerman's bat has been a huge factor in the Nationals' improved offensive performance since he returned from the DL.
One positive effect of interleague play is in the attendance figures: All three Orioles-Nationals games in D.C. had a paid attendance of at least 35,000.
Tonight the Nationals welcome the Seattle Mariners to town, and the visitors have a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning...
Outfielder Rick Ankiel has been placed on the 15-day DL because of a minor injury to his rib cage.
* See my Washington Nationals page.
For the past month or so, Michael Morse has repeatedly filled the role of hero, and is currently the hottest slugger in the major leagues. In the one game at Nationals Park I have seen this year thus far (May 27), he hit a walk-off solo home run. Today's Washington Post had a feature article on Morse, noting the similarities between his career path -- a sudden breakout year at age 28 -- and that of Jayson Werth. He has made some technical adjustments in his swing, and is finally living up to his potential. Morse is currently "fourth in slugging (.564), sixth in OPS (.925) and eighth in batting average (.309)." That alone ought to qualify him for the All Star Game, and the following (unfortunate) news item may give him a chance to play at least a couple innings. Joey Votto of the Reds will probably start the game as first baseman. Morse's future looks very bright, and the same is true of his team.
The Cardinals' star player, Albert Pujols, suffered a small fracture in his forearm, after colliding at first base with Wilson Betemit of the Kansas City Royals. He will be wearing a splint on his wrist for the next month or so, and they hope he will be back on the field a couple weeks after that. See MLB.com. That is terrible news for a team whose fortunes have been on the downswing lately. It also puts the contract negotiations between Pujols and the Cardinals in new light.
For the first six innings, it was quite a pitchers' duel, but the University of Virginia Cavaliers baseball team finally got some runs late in the game, and defeated the University of California in their first game at the College World Series on Sunday, 4-1. They are now playing against the South Carolina Gamecocks, who jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Keep up with the action on the ESPN scoreboard.
I made a few minor improvements to the diagram for Colt Stadium, home of the Houston Colt 45s, as the Astros were originally known. That pretty much takes care of stadiums in the Lone Star State.
I also added a lower-deck-only version diagram of the Astrodome, like I did with RFK Stadium last month, and tweaked the other diagrams on that page a little bit. The outfield seating section is rendered more accurately than before, and on the 1960s combined (baseball + football) diagram, there is an alternate profile for the outfield for the years before 1989 when the upper decks were extended all the way around the outfield.
Many thanks to Larry Freitas for his recent donation in support of this Web site. You too can help out by sponsoring one or more stadium pages, or simply by making a smaller donation via PayPal. I deeply appreciate all such expressions of support.