Braves widen lead in NL East
The Washington Nationals had their chances but just couldn't "get 'r done" in Atlanta, and the Braves won the latter two games of the series. On Saturday evening, (broadcast by FOX Sports), Gio Gonzalez lived up to the high demands placed on him, allowing just one run over seven innings. In the top of the ninth, the Nats had runners on second and third with nobody out thanks to hits by Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, but the team failed to score. Wasting an opportunity like that is just plain unacceptable. In the tenth inning, the Nats' often-unreliable relief pitcher Henry Rodriguez walked two batters, and then B.J. Upton (who has been in a terrible slump) hit a broken-bat single to right field, and Atlanta won in dramatic walk-off fashion, 2-1. Very, very disappointing. The Nats should have won that game. See MLB.com.
On Sunday, Nathan Karns went 4 2/3 innings, slightly more than in his first major league outing on Tuesday. Unlike that time, he left the game with the opposing side ahead, and thereby was charged with the loss. In the bottom of the first inning, Ryan Zimmerman committed a throwing error, and the next batter (Ramiro Peña) homered to give the Braves a quick 2-0 lead. The Nats tied the game in the second inning, but the Braves quickly retook the lead and kept it. Ian Desmond homered in the sixth, but it didn't affect the outcome. Final score: Braves 6, Nats 3.
As a result, the Braves have widened their lead in National League Eastern Division to 6.5 games. The Nats have today off, and then tomorrow they welcome the New York Mets to town. This weekend, the Minnesota Twins (ex-Washington Senators) will play in D.C., and I'm going to see my first ball game of the year!!!
PETCO Park tweak
I made some minor corrections to the PETCO Park diagrams, based on a video at utsandiego.com and some photos by Keith Barnes on smugmug.com, both of which were found on baseball-fever.com. The changes mostly have to do with the bullpen area beyond left-center field, and the new row of table-seats along the (shortened) right field wall. Last November I had done a preliminary diagram for 2013, before all the details were clear. Interestingly, PETCO Park still has an above-average playing field size (I estimate 110,100 square feet), even though none of the outfield dimensions are greater than 396 feet.