September 14, 2009 [LINK / comment]
Nationals win series in Miami
For the first time since visiting Chicago late last month, the Washington Nationals have won a series, beating the Florida Marlins two games out of three. In the rubber match yesterday, there was a long rain delay, and soon after they resumed play it started raining again. The score was 7-2 in the bottom of the ninth, when the umpires decided to call it the final score.
Boosted by those two wins, the Nats currently have a 50-93 record. With 19 games left this season, they have to win 13 games to avoid losing 100 or more games for the second year in a row. There remains a very slight possibility that they could still overtake the Mets and avoid the "cellar" position in the National League Eastern Division for the fourth year in their five-year existence. (The Nats finished in fourth in 2007.)
In my blog post of Sept. 11, I should have called attention to the fact that Ian Desmond's home run last Thursday at Nationals Park was in his very first Major League game. [Desmond went 2-for-4, and drove in four runs. He deserves congratulations for the spectacular debut performance, and it was a night he will never forget. Meanwhile,] Livan Hernandez won his first game since returning to the Nationals last month. Desmond is currently batting a phenomenal .615, 8 for 13. Let's see if he can keep this up for the rest of September. He has shifted from his usual position at shortstop to second base, [and] Cristian Guzman's job may be in jeopardy thanks to Desmond. See MLB.com.
One of the curious things about the second half of this season is that Adam Dunn has raised his batting average to above .280, closing in on Ryan Zimmerman, who has fallen to below the .300 mark. Because of the "role reversal" between the heavy slugger and the consistent hitter, they even switched those two guys in the lineup one game last week. In contrast, Dunn's home run production slacked off this month, until he got two over the past few days, raising his total for the year to 37. It shouldn't be too hard for him to reach the 40 mark once again...
The mail bag
In ballpark news, there is a (slight) renewed push in the San Jose city government to hold a referendum on financing a new ballpark for the Oakland (or whatever) Athletics. One study estimated that a new stadium would generate $130 million in annual spending, and would create 2,100 jobs in San Jose, of which 980 would be "new jobs." (?) Mayor Chuck Reed says he is "elated" by these findings, and team owner Lew Wolff cited the "stimulus" benefits from such a project. See the San Jose Mercury News; hat tips to Bruce Orser and Mike Zurawski.
In The Bronx, most or all of the "frieze" that used to surround the bleachers, a replica of what had originally adorned the rooftop, has now been demolished. See some photos at baseball-fever.com; hat tip to Mike Zurawski who thinks the sooner they finish tearing it all down, the better.
There is more news to get to soon...
Belated photo caption
I finally came across the piece of paper with the names of the friendly family I met and photographed at "family-friendly" Coors Field when I was in Denver for the Cubs-Rockies game last month, so I decided to display the photo again:
Speaking of the Rockies, they were on a hot streak until they lost two games over the weekend. They are currently three games ahead of the Giants in the NL Wild Card race, only three games behind the Dodgers in the NL Western Division. They face the Giants again tonight.