August 25, 2014 [LINK / comment]
Nats bounce back, clobber Giants
In baseball, as in all human endeavors, "you can't win 'em all," but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. It was a bit of a letdown when the Nationals had their ten-game winning streak stopped by the Giants in a lopsided score (10-3) on Friday night, but it hasn't affected their momentum at all. In the late afternoon game on Saturday, the Giants scored twice in the first inning, but the Nats did the same in the bottom of the first, and their pitcher Jordan Zimmermann settled down and went seven more innings without allowing a run. The Nats kept adding runs, boosted by Asdrubal Cabrera's second homer as a Nat, and the home team won, 6-2. On Sunday afternoon, it was a more extreme version of that pattern, as Stephen Strasburg allowed five runs during the first three innings. He just couldn't locate his fastball, so his off-speed pitches failed to have the desired effect. He was pulled in the fourth inning, just as the Nats began a comeback with a two-run rally. Relief pitcher Craig Stammen gave up a solo homer, but the Nationals exploded after Ian Desmond led off with a homer in the sixth inning, and before you knew it, the score was 8-6. They added another run in the seventh inning, and then five more runs in the eighth inning. The poor Giants didn't know what hit them. Final score: Nats 14, Giants 6. It was their highest run total of the year, and probably the biggest comeback in terms of net run differential.
Meanwhile, the Braves lost the second two games of their series in Cincinnati, so the Nationals gained another game in the NL East race. They are now eight games in front. The main danger for the Nats at this point is not to get too comfortable with being that far ahead.
Tonight the Nats begin a long road trip, playing against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. After resting on Thursday, they head to the west coast, playing three games in Seattle against the Mariners, and three games in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. That will be a challenge.
Cubs sweep the Orioles
Not many people expected this to happen: The Chicago Cubs swept the visiting Baltimore Orioles at Wrigley Field over the weekend. The young rookie Javier Baez got two more home runs, making his total six (6), in only 82 at bats so far. Pretty amazing, and just what the Cubs need. Meanwhile, the Yankees are on a winning streak, so the Orioles' lead in the AL East has been cut to six games.
Globe Life Park tweak
I finally completed the lower-deck version of the Globe Life Park diagrams, which show the entry portals and (semi-obstructive) support columns for the first time. There are only four rows of seats behind those columns. Making that diagram, in turn, prompted a few very small changes in the other diagram versions, so all that has been taken care of.