Ok guy (that is, if anyone is still reading), I know we’re behind. I know we’ve been “bad bloggers” this season, but perhaps it’s because there’s other things we’re doing with our time. When you’re watching baseball games every night, it’s hard to concentrate on what’s going on on the TV AND to write a blog post. And then there are the non-baseball things going on in our lives. In any case, Drew and I are still making predictions, and while I haven’t gotten around to rounding up our July predictions (super quick summary: we weren’t quite optimistic enough), we’re going to put in our August predictions before the month gets too far ahead of us. And because we’re going for speed here, there won’t be pictures (at least for a little bit).
Maggie: I’m thinking at least 2. They’re having a crappy year, and showing it, but the Nats do have to face Cliff Lee. (2-1)
Maggie: We’re playing them at home (as opposed to Miami, where they historically cream us), so I’m happy enough to say (3-1)
Maggie: All my past predictions have been so cautious. They have more losses than we do wins. I’ll go with a big series win. (3-1)
Aug 10-12: @ Arizona
Maggie: For whatever reason, the Diamondbacks make me wary. I’ll go with (1-2)
Maggie: This is the right time of year for a late season Mets collapse. (3-0)
Maggie: I think it would be silly to count Atlanta out since they’re the last team other than the Nats that seems to have any spark in the NL East. I’ll say Nats win the series, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta took it instead. (2-1)
Maggie: A group of Nats fans will be visiting CBP on Saturday night, and I’ve got high hopes they leave happy. I say we sweep the series. (3-0)
Maggie: Visiting Miami has never been the Nats strong suit. Thank goodness it’s only a 2 game series! (1-1)
Maggie: The Cards are one of those more historically (well, recently historically?) dominant teams. I don’t see them fading off into the autumn light. I should end my optimistic month with a won series, but I’ll call it a split. (2-2)
Maggie: a ridiculous 22-10.
So – are we totally nuts for imagining a 22-10 run over the month of August (plus 1 day in July and 2 in September)? Let us know your predictions in the comments!
What’s worse than losing a game 11-4 in an UGLY way? Losing a blog post because WordPress is having issues. That’s right – this is attempt number two after having written everything and put in pictures and EVERYTHING. So we’ll make this a quick version of that more extensive post that has been lost to the black hole of the internet.
So Edwin Jackson started out well – he had a strikeout to start the game. But then he allowed 6 runs on base, and 5 of those runners scored. Ouch. Luckily, after that he pitched another 4 innings of 1-2-3 out baseball to make things less painful for the Nats fans in attendance.
Helping EJax out was the offense. Adam LaRoche had some great base running in the second inning (assisted by a wild pitch, and a big hit by Wilson Ramos), and then Ryan Zimmerman came through in a big way in the third with his first HR of the season. This brought the score to Astros 5, Nationals 4, and it seemed like a comeback was in the works!
Unfortunately, this is when things got confusing. At the top of the 6th, before his spot in the hitting rotation had even come up, Jackson was taken out of the game in favor of Tom Gorzelanny. This proved to be a big mistake, because Gorzelanny allowed 5 runs in the 6th inning, and another in the 7th, bringing the score to 11-4 Astros (the score which would prove to be the final). Does anyone out there have any idea what happened?
It was National High Five Day at the park, which was pretty cool, because I’m a fan of high-fives. Not so cool was the complaining by a guy sitting behind me. He went on for about 15 minutes about how there are no real Nationals fans because no one is actually from the Washington area, and that it was pathetic that the stadium was empty. Two things: there are plenty of people who are Washington-area natives (myself included), and if you consider that there was a Caps playoff game that night (a weeknight), and some people may be holding off on attending games until they figure out if this Nats team is for real.
So – you’re all Nats fans – what do you think? Is this complainer right? How many Washington DC-area natives do you know that are fans of the local baseball team? Do you think attendance will pick up later in the season?
Full album here.
Greetings from Viera, where I’m visiting for a few days taking in my very first Spring Training! I’ll be blogging the games I attend, and hope to have a “What it’s like to be a fan visiting your team at Spring Training” round up when I get home. In the mean time, here’s last night’s game.
Game: Spring Training #13 – Nationals vs the Astros
Pitching tonight for the Nationals: Livian Hernandez, Tim Wood, Ross Detwiler, Jimmy Barthmaier
Final Score: Nationals – 6, Astros – 7.
Inning of the Game: Normally this is where Ashley or I would talk about the play of the game, but last night, there wasn’t one. Sure – you could say that the home runs (which I’ll talk about in a second) were great plays, but those were by one player. Instead, I’m going to talk about the very last inning – the one where it was cold out, and I was hoping that the Nats would just finish up and lose. Instead, we get a couple guys on base, Nyjer Morgan hits an RBI singled, followed quickly by a Bryce Harper RBI single, and on a long at-bat, we get one more run with the tying run standing on third. It was all very exciting – to think that the Nationals could come back at the last second and maybe take this to extra (colder!) innings. Sadly, the last guy at bat, 3rd baseman Brian Bixler couldn’t pull it through and struck out swinging.
Players of the Game: Up until the 5th inning, this was an ugly game for the Nationals. Then, Morse hits a long bomb to center field, and the Nationals aren’t going to be shut out. Two innings later Jesus Flores comes up with a 2-run homer to bring the Nats up to a more respectable 3. These guys and their hits made that stunning last inning possible.
Favorite Non-baseball Moment: Before the game, I made my way over to the Training Complex, where the Minor Leaguers were still getting in their workouts. But because it was towards the end of the day, (and a few of them needed to be over at Space Coast Stadium a little later), there was a steady trickle of guys leaving the field. I really enjoyed seeing these players talking with fans, signing autographs, and being way more accessible than it’s possible to be once the season starts.
Where did I sit: As a season ticket holder, you get a pair of free tickets to a spring training game. I redeemed mine for the very center of the upper section, and ended up sitting in the very last row. This wasn’t a bad spot – it had a great view of the field and I was able to listen to Phil Wood as he announced the game.
What did I eat: Since it was a cold night, I wanted something warm, and settled on a cajun sausage dog from the Grandstand Grill kiosk. The vendor warned me that it would be spicy, but I told him that would be ok. And oh, it was. That sausage was jambalaya in hot dog form. Delicious and spicy in every way. Highly recommended.
- I loved the ushers. Every single one that I stopped and talked to was super friendly. One guy on the 3rd base side (where the sun was shining, and it was warmer earlier in the game) told me to come back and hang out with him where it was warm. Considering how cold it got…maybe I should have absorbed as much sunshine as possible!
- Yes – it was cold. The game started off around 65 degrees, and by the last strikeout, it was at 46. I wish I had worn another layer under my sweatshirt.
- On one of my early walking circles of the concourse, I nearly walked into GM Mike Rizzo. For a moment, I thought he looked familiar, and then figured out who he was, and made my way back to the area near the Nationals Dugout, where he had been rushing to take part in a ceremony with Potomac Nationals Players.
- The P-Nats players were there to receive their rings from winning the Carolina League Championship. It made me think back to the doubleheader I attended where they clinched first place in their division.
- Nyjer Morgan did not start the game well. There were some very catchable balls hit his way in the 3rd inning, and it was just not fun to watch.
- Lots of families attending the game together, and not surprisingly, most of the kids were boys. Maybe if more parents started bringing their girls to Spring Training too, eventually things would happen, like more parity in the availability of player t-shirts and jerseys for women.
- One of the more quirky things about Space Coast Stadium is it’s proximity to the Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral. Because of this, when a rocket was launched at 6:38, people sitting in the stands were able to see as it shot into space. From my vantage point, by the time it was visible, it looked more like a star shooting the wrong way – but still very cool!
- I have a few videos from this game as well, but considering I should be heading out soon for today’s game, I’ll have to save those for later. Besides – a few are on my fancy new phone (which makes tweeting and saving my game notes easier, and provides a back-up in case both my camera battery and the back-up die).
(the rest of the album from this game can be seen here)
Game: #152 – Nationals vs. Astros
Starting Pitchers: Jason Marquis (#21, 2-7, 6.09) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (#51, 2-1, 2.16)
Final Score: Nationals: 4, Astros: 3
Nats New Record: 64-88
Play and Player of the Game: Danny Espinosa hits a 2-run homer immediately as Maggie and Ashley step outside the stadium gates. In addition to that, he made a pretty awesome double play and is proving just why he deserves to be in the big leagues.
Favorite Non-baseball Moment: Every time Ashley walked away from the game, the Nats scored or got on base. She had just stepped away to get dinner when Michael Morse hit his home run, and was in the bathroom when Justin Maxwell got on base before Espinosa’s aforementioned homer.
Who was there: Ashley and Maggie (Maggie’s cousin Kate also was there with her office, but did not sit with the FLoB)
Our Records: Ashley – 10-10; Maggie – 11-14
Where did we sit: As a September treat, we used a discount to get seats in the Club level (Section 214). The seats were amazing, but our only gripe was that sitting directly behind home plate, the backstop net was in the way for photos and game watching. There were also quite a few wires in the way. BUT – an otherwise fantastic view, cushy seats, better food options in the Stars & Stripes Club (see below), and the people sitting in our area were really enthusiastic. All in all, a good experience, and definitely a bit of a splurge.
What did we eat: Maggie had a chicken parmesan sandwich, which was decent – the same “fried chicken” patty that is used in the chicken and waffles, with a slice of provolone, and marinara sauce. Definitely sloppy to eat. Ashley had a roast beef sandwich which she liked a lot – it was quite juicy, but the carving station where it came from was out of horseradish sauce and instead used dijon mayonnaise.
President’s Race: Finally, a little creativity with the race! All the presidents stepped out beforehand to have a dizzy bat race. But Teddy cheated and took off without getting dizzy. He had a great lead, and both Ashley and Maggie were sure he would get disqualified for not being dizzy, but instead he fell down just before the finish line, and George took the win.
- Ashley was particularly sad to see that Adam Dunn had an injured hand due to getting pegged in the hand earlier in the game.
- There was a crazy lightning storm happening at the same time as the game. Sadly, neither of us were able to snap a picture of the lightning as it lit up a humid end-of-summer sky.
- A few news items: we’re glad to see that there’s no way for our Nats to lose 100 games this year, but we’re sad to see Stan Kasten leave at the end of the season.