June 30, 2023
On Wednesday night, New York Yankee pitcher Santiago Germán (note the accented a, to distinguish the name from the central European nationality) accomplished something that no other pitcher has done since 2012: he threw a perfect game! Three pitchers did so in that year: Phil Humber (White Sox), Matt Cain (Giants), and Felix Hernandez (Mariners). (See my August 15, 2012 blog post.) It was the 24th perfect game in MLB history, and the fourth by a Yankees pitcher. The Yankees were merciless in Oakland, scoring 11 runs. See MLB.com. Since I happened to be in that venue a little less than two weeks ago, I thought I would include a photo of where this big event took place:
For the record, I should also point out that Max Scherzer (then of the Washington Nationals) threw a "virtually" perfect game in June 2015, being thwarted with two outs in the ninth inning when Jose Tabata (then of the Pirates) put his elbow in front of the ball. Speaking of Scherzer, there are reports that he will agree to waive his no-trade clause with the New York Mets, who are underperforming by historic proportions this year. Who knows with what contending team he might end up?
Another curious historical footnote related to the perfect game: Until Wednesday, the Oakland A's were enjoying the longest streak of avoiding being no-hit in the major leagues, the last time being on July 13, 1991, against the Orioles. Guess which team now holds the honors for the longest such streak? Yep, the Washington Nationals (and their predecessor franchise team, the Montreal Expos!
After a respectable performance in May (14-15), the Washington Nationals plummeted into the pits of Hades for the first three weeks of June, winning only four of their first 19 games. The pitching staff held up their end for the most part, but the offense stagnated, as they only scored five or more runs in four games. Lane Thomas continued to raise his average, leading the team with , but Joey Meneses regressed from the .300+ range to the .280 range. After taking two out of three games from both the Padres and Mariners over the past week, the Nationals began another road series in Philadelphia tonight. In the second inning Stone Garrett hit a two-run home run that was quickly answered by the Phillies who scored one run. Both teams had multiple scoring opportunities after that, but amazingly, no further runs were scored. Nats 2, Phillies 1. Josiah Gray struck out 8 batters over six innings, after Patrick Corbin had struck out 9 batters over seven innings in the previous game. Not bad at all! So, after going 4-15 from the beginning of June through the 23rd of the month, the Nationals have won 5 of their last 6 games, yielding an overall win-loss record of 9-16.
Now that the month of June has ended, the Washington Nationals page has been updated with data for June and the first half of the 2023 season. (The end of the month happens to coincide with the 81-game mid-point of the season.) The month of July is going to become uncomfortable as negotiations over possible player trades move into high gear. The Nationals will obviously be "sellers," and some players such as Jeimer Candelario and Kyle Finnegan are among the most likely to go. The biggest question is whether the Nats front office will hold onto their rising star slugger Lane Thomas, who is under team control for at least the next year. Aging "rookie" Joey Meneses might also be tempting for teams that need more solid bats in their lineup; for purely sentimental reasons I hope he stays with the Nationals.
After taking a look at my Baseball cities page, I noticed that, in the wake of my big trip out west earlier this month, I have now been to all current MLB cities with the exception of Tampa / St. Petersburg and San Diego. In the coming months I will be adding urban skyline photo montages such as the one below to almost all of the other stadium pages. Those bits of scenery provide a bit of "flavor" and geographic context for the places in which those stadiums are situated. (The one for Kansas City was displayed in my May 23 blog post.) Can you guess which one this is???