Marlins sweep the Nationals
Just as soon as the Washington Nationals showed a spark of life in their 3-1 series win over the Cincinnati Reds, they managed to suffer a relapse and got swept by the Marlins in Miami. In the game on Tuesday their starting pitcher Joan Adon gave up five runs in the second inning, including a grand slam hit by Jazz Chiholm; it was his first home run of the year. Later in the game he hit his second home run. The game was basically a farce, and the final score was 12-2. [Adon was immediately sent down to the minor leagues. His first name is pronounced "YO-ahn," which is the Catalonian version of "Juan."] Wednesday's game was much better, with neither team scoring for the first nine innings. The Nats' young starter Josiah Gray gave up six hits and got six strikeouts over five innings, a very good outing. The Nats scored one in the tenth inning on an RBI by Keibert Ruiz, but the Marlins scored two in the bottom of the inning to win it. There was a very close play at home plate that would have been the second out, probably sending the game into the 11th inning, but the Marlins won a challenge and reversed the call -- their second challenge of the game, [which is not permitted.] (Apparently it was an umpire-initiated review, but that is not how it was announced on the field; somebody screwed up badly.) In tonight's game Stephen Strasburg took the mound for the first time in over a year, but he got off to a rocky start, giving up three runs [in the first inning]. The Nationals almost tied it in the top of the fifth inning, but then Strasburg fell apart and the Marlins scored four more runs. Final score: Marlins 7, Nats 4. And thus the Nationals were swept in a three-game series for the fourth time this year.
Other streaks: losing and winning
Perhaps the Nationals shouldn't feel so bad, since the Los Angeles Angels have lost fourteen (14) games in a row! In the seventh inning of tonight's game against the visiting Boston Red Sox, however, they have a 5-1 lead and are in line to finally end that string of ignominious losses. Elsewhere in the American League West Division, the Oakland Athletics have lost eight in a row, but they were not expected to contend for the postseason. In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers have lost six games in a row, and are in danger of falling out of first place for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, some teams have really gotten going. The Atlanta Braves have won eight games in a row, while the Philadelphia Phillies have won seven. They are both several games behind the Mets in the NL East, however, and have a long way to go to become real contenders. In the American League, the Boston Red Sox have won seven games in a row, rising above the .500 mark, but they are still in fourth place in the AL East Division.
[UPDATE: The Angels held on to beat the Red Sox 5-2 late tonight, ending both team's long streaks.]
Managers get fired
On June 3rd, the Philadelphia Phillies fired their manager Joe Girardi, an expression of dissatisfaction over their 22-29 record. The acquisition of Kyle Schwarber and other big players during the off-season just hasn't paid off, and it's easier (and cheaper) to fire a manager than terminate a player. Girardi led the Yankees to their last World Series title, in 2009.
And two days ago, the Los Angeles Angels fired their manager Joe Maddon. Two weeks earlier, the Angels boasted a 27-17 record, but now their path to the postseason looks a lot more difficult. In 2016 Maddon led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in over a century.