August 26, 2016 [LINK / comment]
Historic night for Nationals in D.C.
As the series against Colorado began this evening, Jayson Werth got things started off right with a solo homer in the first inning tonight, his second in two nights and his sixth of the month! But the Rockies came right back with a run in the top of the second, and likewise replied in kind after the Nats scored a run in the third inning. The Nats took the lead for good in the fourth inning, but it was on a bases loaded ground-into-double-play, hence no RBI for Jose Lobaton. Daniel Murphy hit a solo homer in the fifth, and the Nats tacked on four insurance runs in the seventh inning, two of which came on a Bryce Harper triple -- his first of the year! In the top of the ninth, Shawn Kelley gave up a three-run homer to Nick Hundley, and Mark Melancon had to finish the game, just in case. Final score: Nats 8, Rockies 5. It was the 100th career victory for Gio Gonzalez, who pitched for six innings. Daniel Murphy also had a historic milestone, getting the 500th RBI of his career. See MLB.com. It's worth noting that Trea Turner's hitting ability and fast base-running led to three errors committed by the Rockies. He is proving to be an invaluable asset to the Nationals as the 2016 season heads into the final stretch.
Before the game, former Washington Senator Frank Howard was honored by having his name added to the "Ring of Fame" that adorns the facing of the second deck in Nationals Park. About time! A statue of him swinging a bat already adorns the main plaza beyond left field in Nationals Park. It was fun watching him be interviewed by Phil Wood, who does radio commentary on FM 106.7 and sometimes TV commentary on MASN. Howard autographed a book for me at the SABR convention in Washington several years ago, and I can attest that he is a friendly guy who loves baseball and loves Washington.
The Nats expected to gain a game on the Marlins in the NL East tonight, but the relief pitchers for the Padres gave up five runs in the final three innings, and the home team in Miami won the game.
Nats acquire Rzepczynski
Hoping to strengthen their wobbly and worn-out bullpen, the Nationals traded minor league infielder Max Schrock (and cash) to the Oakland A's for left-handed pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. (Transactions after August 1 are subject to waiver clearing, of course.) Rzepczynski had a 3.00 ERA with Oakland this season, with 37 strikeouts in 36 innings. He excels at inducing ground-ball outs. See MLB.com. In tonight's game against the Rockies, Rzepczynski struck out the one batter he faced.
Nats' four-game series sweeps
The possibility that the Nationals might get swept by the Orioles last night had me so worried that I went through my records to see how many times the Nats have swept (or have been swept in) four-game series over the years. Here is what I came up with:
|Dates||Opponent||Win / Loss||Home / Away|
|Sept. 7-10, 2006||COL||L||A|
|Apr. 5-8, 2007||ARI||L||H|
|July 3-6, 2008||CIN||L||A|
|Aug. 8-11, 2008||MIL||L||A|
|July 16-19, 2009||CHC||L||H|
|Oct. 1-4, 2009||ATL||W||A|
|Sept. 12-15, 2011||NYM||W||A|
|Sept. 20-22, 2011*||PHI||W||A|
|Aug. 6-9, 2012||HOU||W||A|
|Sept. 3-6, 2012||CHC||W||H|
|Sept. 9-12, 2013||NYM||W||A|
|Aug. 18-21, 2014||ARI||W||H|
|Sept. 18-21, 2014||MIA||W||A|
|Aug. 13-16, 2015||SF||L||A|
|Sept. 3-6, 2015||ATL||W||H|
|Apr. 7-11, 2016||ATL||W||H|
|May 5-8, 2016||CHC||L||A|
* : Includes double-header.
|10 W, 7 L||6 H, 11 A|
Of the six home series sweeps, the Nats won four and lost two. Of the 11 away series sweeps, the Nats won six and lost five. The Nats have been involved in three series sweeps with both the Braves (winning each time) and the Cubs (winning just once).