Nats take two from Phillies
Thanks to the fine pitching of Cole Hamels, the Phillies put an end to the Nationals' seven-game winning streak last night, going seven-plus innings in a 4-0 shutout. Well, all good things must come to an end. It was the first time since June 2005 that the Nats had won more than six games in a row. (That was when they took first place in the division for several weeks, surprising everyone.)
Nats' catcher Jesus Flores got creamed by Chase Utley at home plate (Y'er out!), and there were some scary moments when he couldn't get up, but fortunately the tests were all negative. He'll be out for at least a couple weeks with a sprained ankle. The Nats have a solid backup catcher in Wil Nieves, and there's always a possibility that Paul Lo Duca could get "unreleased" and put back on the Nats' roster...
Tonight's game was an exciting, back-and-forth affair, and a clutch RBI single by Ronnie Belliard started a four-run rally in the eighth inning. The Phillies came back with two more runs in the top of the ninth, but Joel Hanrahan managed to hold on, and the Nats won 9-7. It was a great home stand, with eight wins and only one loss. With a win-loss record of 54-86 for the season, the Nationals are on the verge of climbing out of the Major League cellar, close behind both San Diego (53-85) and Seattle (54-85). Now they head to Atlanta for a four-game series with the Braves, whose lead over the Nats in the NL East standings has shrunk to only six games. It is within the realm of possibility that the Nats could finish the season in fourth place, ahead of the Braves.
Photos from fans
Thanks much to Brian Vangor (whom I met at the Nats game in May) for sending his photos of Yankee Stadium, showing the nearly-completed newfangled version beyond the left field bleachers. Also, in response to my note about baseball at the Superdome in New Orleans, Joe Johnston sent me a batch of pictures he took at a 1983 exhibition game in the "Big Easy," when the Yankees played the Blue Jays. It was a true revelation! (Cue the choir.) That prompted me to do some searching, and I found some useful info at baseball-fever.com. Stay tuned for a brand new stadium page... Finally, thanks to Mike Hoecker for his photos of Great American Ballpark and the birthplace of Cy Young. I'll get one or two of those posted right away. I do appreciate all such photographic contributions.