Nationals are on a winning streak!
Believe it or not, the Washington Nationals are tied with the Arizona Diamondback for the longest winning streak in the National League: three whole games! It may not sound like much, but you've got to emphasize the positive wherever you can. In fact, the only team in the majors with a longer current winning streak is the Toronto Blue Jays, who came back and beat the Orioles in the bottom of the ninth inning at Rogers Centre. The last time the Nats won three games in a row was May 8-10. (That was the tail end of a five-game winning streak.)
Starting a lengthy home stand on Thursday night, Jordan Zimmermann held the Colorado Rockies to just one run in eight innings, and thus earned his tenth win of the year. Ian Desmond homered again, and Adam LaRoche went three for four. Final score: Nats 5, Rockies 1.
Last night, Stephen Strasburg was just as masterful, earning his fourth win. The deciding run came late in the game, when Ian Desmond hit a solo home run, his third homer in as many days! Final score: Nats 2, Rockies 1.
The way this afternoon's game against the Rockies is going (behind 7-1 in the ninth inning), it's a safe bet that the Nationals' winning streak is about to end.
The Nationals: A photogenic team!
Visitors to this blog may have noticed all the players' faces in that panorama photo I made after seeing the Nationals-Twins game on June 8. In case you haven't guessed, I got a new camera for Christmas, and it has a very powerful telephoto lens: 50x optical zoom. (Some cameras boast of big digital zoom numbers, but all that does is make the pixels bigger, without adding any detail to the photographic image.) Anyway, here are the photos I've taken for the entire 2013 Washington Nationals first-string team, either from the June 8 game or from the NatsFest back in January:
CF: Denard Span
LF: Bryce Harper
RF: Jayson Werth
SS: Ian Desmond
2B: Anthony Rendon
3B: Ryan Zimmerman
P: Jordan Zimmermann
1B: Adam LaRoche
C: Kurt Suzuki
Believe it or not, all the photos of the players wearing caps or helmets were taken from the upper deck, about 150-200 feet away. A more elaborate version of that stylized position chart can be found in the 2013 section of the Washington Nationals page. It includes the whole pitching rotation plus the closer. I'll probably tweak the format of that graphical table in the near future.
Also, I will be soon adding larger-size versions of the above player photos, as well as several others, to the Washington Nationals photo gallery page.
Pitchers need head gear!
Millions of people have seen the horrifying video clip of Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb being hit on the side of the head by a line drive in a game against the Kansas City Royals last week. It was hard to believe that the doctors found only a "mild concussion." According to MLB.com, the Rays' manager Joe Maddon wants Cobb to take his time and get well before trying to rejoin the active roster. Indeed, he should. Dr. David Geier, an expert in sports medicine, recalls the tragedy of August 17, 1920, when Cleveland Indians player Ray Chapman was killed by such a blow to the brain. Not until 1958 did both leagues require the use of batting helmets. Some kind of head protection, if not a full helmet, should be worn by all pitchers.