July 31, 2023
In a much-anticipated move, former Nats ace and future Hall-of-Famer Max Scherzer officially parted ways with the New York Mets over the weekend, getting traded to the Texas Rangers. One can imagine how upset he must be at having signed a contract with a team that has flopped so disastrously this year. He apparently has a player option to extend his current contract for another year, so if he has success in October, he could return with the Rangers next year. At age 39, however, there are many questions about how effective he can be, but he stubbornly refuses to concede defeat to Father Time. In today's Washington Post, Chelsea Janes addressed this drama. There have been negotiations over a possible trade involving Justin Verlander as well. Will this be a "fire sale"??
Scherzer's last start with the struggling Mets was, ironically, against the Nats on Friday night in New York City. In the opening game of the four-game series on Thursday, the Nats had a chance to win but fell just short, 2-1. Since only five games separated the two teams in the current NL East standings, the Nats could have pulled to within a half game of fourth place if they had managed to sweep the Mets. On Friday evening the Nats' young starter Mackenzie Gore faced Scherzer, but the odds were against them and the Nats lost, 5-1. Scherzer has lacked consistency this year, and he is giving up even more home runs than usual. (That's his weak spot as a pitcher.) On Saturday Patrick Corbin almost got through six innings before being replaced, while the Nationals racked up 13 hits (without any home runs), dominating the Mets, 11-6. But their hopes of evening the series on Sunday were dashed, as starting pitcher Trevor Williams (highly overpaid IMHO) had another mediocre outing, lasting just four innings on the mound. Final score: Mets 5, Nats 2.
Earlier in the week, the Nationals fought back to beat the Rockies after falling behind 4-1 in two games in a row! On Tuesday they took the lead on a a 4-run rally in the 8th inning, winning 6-5, and on Wednesday they did so in the bottom of the 9th inning, sparked by Joey Meneses's leadoff single, finally winning it 5-4 on a two-out bases loaded single by CJ Abrams. And the crowd (if you can call 16,893 fans a "crowd") went wild! Truth be told, it was mainly the result of the Rockies' poor relief pitching, as the Nats reached base five times on walks (one intentional) and a hit by pitch.
Back in Washington tonight, the Nationals prevailed in a close back-and-forth game with the Milwaukee Brewers. Rookie pitcher Jake Irvin put in another respectable outing (5 1/3 innings), while Joey Meneses hit a solo homer in the 2nd inning, a double, and a clutch 2-run single in the 7th inning to give the Nats a 5-3 lead, and that ended up as the final score. Lane Thomas accounted for the other two RBIs. The Nats now have a 45-62 record (.421), having won six of their last ten games.
[UPDATE: The Nats ended up with a record of 12-14 for the month of July, which has been duly recorded on the Washington Nationals page.]
Elsewhere in the majors, the Chicago Cubs won eight games in a row before losing to the Cardinals on Sunday. The NL Central Division is rather weak this year, and the Cubs are only four games behind the division-leading Cincinnati Reds. (Wow!?) The Baltimore Orioles continue to hold a small lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.
Just before tonight's game, it was announced that third baseman Jeimer Candelario is being traded to the Chicago Cubs for two minor league prospects. No surprise there. One more day before the trade deadline passes...
Several new photos have been added to the Dodger Stadium page, including one exterior view and six interior shots such as this one:
I'll probably add one or two more photos later on. And while I was at it, I added two photos to the Memorial Coliseum page, along with the urban "montage" that you see below. And as if that weren't enough, I also posted two photos of what the neighborhood where Wrigley Field once stood looks like today. That takes care of Los Angeles!
Another "revelation" about Minute Maid Park: during the 2017 renovations that got rid of "Tal's Hill" in center field, not only did they remove a large portion of the second deck near center field, but they removed a large portion of the third deck near the right field corner! Both former seating areas have been replaced by various party decks. Also, I realized that the promenade behind the left field wall (above which the rails for the retractable roof are located) is about 8 feet wider than I estimated before. Needless to say, I've been spending a lot of time getting those diagrams fixed!
Today I got distracted by some of my Oakland Coliseum photos, and noticed some additional details that I had not recognized previously. It was mostly a matter of modifications since the Raiders left town in 2020. More updates to come!