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!
Time for another prediction post with Drew from Crunching Through My Day. We made predictions for both May and June…so let’s see how things go for the month of July! We’ve both got birthdays at the end of the month, so I know we’d like to see some wins on those days. I’ll present the first half of the month here, and Drew will show us the rest of the month later this week.
7/3-5 vs San Francisco Giants
Drew: Well now, the G-men have really come on lately and taken the NL West by storm. Does this scare me? Yes actually. It does. The Giants just swept the Dodgers (which killed the Nats back in in May.) In many other ways, the Nats and Giants are similar. Their pitching staffs (staves? What’s the rule here?) are about K/9 and HR/9. The Nat’s pitching staff provides a few extra WAR while the Giants offense beats the Nat’s in that category. However, with the heat and a tough road trip against the Braves, plus the bottom half of the Nats rotation coming up, I’m going to say the Giants take 2 of the three games. However, the Nat will win on the 4th of July to support Truth, Justice, and The Natiude Way!
Maggie: There is nothing in this world that makes me sadder than missing the Lincecum-Zimmermann matchup tonight. The game should be epic. Drew has said with stats and whatnot what I see with my eyes: the Giants are a team that is coming on strong in the middle of the summer, and they should be rightly feared. Not enough where I don’t think the Nats will take a game…but appropriately feared. Nats lose the series, 1-2.
Drew: The Nat’s took advantage of the thin air (is the humidor still on?) in Colorado to awaken their anemic offense. I have a feeling that the bats will slow a bit in the warm confines of DC but that the Nats will still beat up on the Rockies. I know the Rockies are probably better than their record indicates but I can’t be much. When Jamie Moyer is your staff ace at the start of the season, there’s not a lot good things I can (besides the 4.11 FIP and .340 opponent BABIP say enough). I’m going to say 2-1.
Maggie: Sure, we split the series with the basement-dwellers, but that was at the end of a long series of road trips and homestands against the toughest divisions (the Easts) in baseball. Can you blame them for “taking a break” and “only” scoring 35 runs during that series? I have a feeling that once the Nats are back in their stadium, with the top of their lineup that the distinction between best and worst in the NL will become quite clear. Nats sweep, 3-0.
Drew: As much as I like the pageantry surrounding the All Star game, I’ve got to admit that the AL is probably going to win this year. They spanked in the NL in interleague play. I want my NL to win but I’m not going to hold out hope.
Maggie: This is another place where I agree with Drew. I love that the Nats have 3 players (maybe 4?) in the fight, but when the AL spanks the NL in interleague play, it doesn’t bode well for a reversal at the All Star game.
7/13-16 @ Miami Marlins
Drew: Miami has been a real disappointment so far. I spent the offseason worried that they might steal the last playoff spot from the Nats. Of course that was before the Phillies free fell into almost nothing. Since then, the Marlins have gotten lucky. They should be about even with Houston and Colorado in terms of wins. Their pitching has been pretty awful, with the lowest K/9 rate and opponents BABIP of nearly .300. Despite that, I don’t think the Nats can sweep this series. Due to the vagaries in the tea leaves and baseball, I’m saying we split the series 2-2
Maggie: More Miami hate from me. Watching them suck it up this year has been nearly as enjoyable as watching the Phillies tank. And because the Nats seem to do well when they play in Florida, I’ll expect them to continue to kick butt and take names in Miami. Nats take it 3-1.
Look for the last half of July later…
Game: #027 – Nationals vs. Giants
Starting Pitchers: Jordan Zimmermann (1-4, 4.55) vs. Matt Cain (2-1, 3.34)
Final Score: Nationals: 5, Giants: 2
23 may be Maggie’s lucky number, but Ashley is rather partial to 27. Thus, she was excited to be attending the 27th game of the season to watch #27 (Jordan Zimmermann) pitch. It was also the 500th game played in D.C. since the Nationals moved to Washington. Zimmermann gave up two runs, but overall pitched very well. He also rocked the tall socks, which is a key uniform component the First Ladies find lacking in most MLB games.
It was another dreary day, but Ashley was excited to finally see a win. The rain was just enough to soak a score book, but not quite bad enough to make any of us get out of our seats. The Nats certainly didn’t seem to mind the weather too much – it actually turned out to be an exciting game.
As the third batter up, Werth hit a long ball to center field. He tried to turn this into a double, but he was tagged out at second. Although he was legitimately switching gear for the top of the next inning, from where we were sitting it looked like he just sat down in a huff at the base after chucking his batting helmet back towards the dugout.
During Desmond’s at bat in the 3rd, the Giants missed a ball and the wild pitch enabled Ankiel to score the tying run. The fans sitting near Ashley had the following conversation: “The pitcher must have thrown the catcher something he wasn’t expecting.” “Yeah, like a strike.” The dialogue continued this way for most of the game, and really made it more enjoyable.
Ivan Rodriguez had a great game. In addition to scoring in the 4th, he had two RBIs in the 8th. On the latter play, he he made a valiant effort to double, but was tagged out at 2nd base. Of note, Pudge also rocks the tall socks and is another favorite of Ashley’s.
Pudge also has a great arm. This series of shots shows him launching a ball from the plate to prevent Giant’s outfielder Darren Ford from stealing 2nd base. You can see Ford barreling into Cora and forcing some great acrobatics. Ultimately, Ford was ruled out and the game quickly went on to the finish.
There was even more cool stuff about this game than what’s mentioned here. Games like this are why Ashley loves baseball – it really is exciting!
More pictures, including some of the runs and all of the pitchers, can be seen here.
Game: #89 (of 162) – Nationals vs. Giants
Starting Pitchers: Livan Hernandez (#61, 6-4, 3.12) vs. Madison Bumgarner, (#40, 1-2, 2.86)
Final Score: Nationals: 2, Giants: 6
Nats New Record: 39-50
Play of the Game: This wasn’t an amazing game for the Nationals. There were so many missed opportunities! Hopefully after a few days off they will come back ready to win. That being said, Ashley’s favorite play of the game was Ian Desmond stealing second base. It was late in the game (8th inning), and it was a subtle “blink and you’ll miss it” play. In fact, she was actually uncertain she even saw a stolen base, so she had to go look it up to make sure.
Player of the Game: Matt Capps. He wasn’t able to save the game for the Nats, but he received his All Star jersey. We wish him the best tonight!
Favorite Non-baseball Moment: Maggie saw Clint after we got inside the park, so we went over to say hi. There was a cameraman there and asked if Maggie and Ashley wanted to be filmed as excited Nats fans. Maggie heard “Fan of the Game” and immediately volunteered Ashley for it (which the cameraman was happy to do). So, Ashley jumped around like crazy and tried her best to be an enthusiastic Nats fan. However after waiting eagerly all game, it ended up being three little kids who were the fans to vote on. Ashley was disappointed that her chance for fame and glory was taken away, but a cameraman did come by and film her dancing to Kernkraft 400, the bouncy “oh oh oh” song. (This is one of Ashley’s favorite sports songs because it is also played at college football games).
Who was there: Ashley, Maggie, and Maggie’s parents
Our Records: Ashley – 5-8; Maggie – 5-10; Maggie’s Dad – 4-4; Maggie’s Mom – 0-4
Where did we sit: Maggie and Ashley had tickets in section 409. They sat there for the first half of the game, and then moved down to 310 to sit with Maggie’s parents. Both seats were excellent – a great view of the field and in the shade with a nice breeze. Perfect for a hot summer day!
What did we eat: Both of the us grabbed some pretzels – Ashley got a salted Curly W that she found rather boring, and Maggie got the pretzel bites which were completely delightful. There were just enough in the serving cup, and in addition to some salt (but not TOO much), there was a very subtle sweet glaze. She would definitely get them again (and confessed to wanting to eat them all the time). Since it was hot, we both wanted a cold drink. Ashley went for the slushy, but they were out, so she stuck with water. Maggie found a better way to cool down – she got a tall daiquiri. She found it tasty (and cold!), but the tall thing they serve it in is deceptive in it’s ability to hide the fact that there’s really not that much liquid in there. This would be a treat once in a while during the summer days, but not necessary most of the time.
Promotional Items: The promo item was a backpack for kids under 12. Ashley asked around, and while they were packing up the extras found a supervisor willing to give her one (because she could act 12, even if she’s really a little bit older). While slightly smaller that the bag Ashley usually takes to games, she thinks it will work well for carrying her wallet and camera in the future.
President’s Race: Teddy was quick out of the gate wearing a Santa hat in honor of the “Christmas in July” toy drive. He was in the lead until he rounded the corner, but then he got distracted handing out presents to people in the stands. George ended up dancing across the finish line in first place.
- We really liked the “highlights from the first half” that showed between innings.
- Everyone in our section was interested in the World Cup. The Nats put the score up at one point, but with a 0-0 game it was hard to tell what was happening!
We’ll be taking a break for a few weeks… the Nats are out of town until July 27th! Don’t worry though, Ashley and Maggie will be at that game and promise a full report. Ashley’s also going to watch the Delmarva Shorebirds this weekend, and there might be another minor league game in the works too.
Game: #088 – Nationals vs. Giants
Starting Pitchers: Craig Stammen (#35, 1-2, 5.37) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (#57, 5-3, 3.86)
Final Score: Nationals: 5, Giants: 10
Nats New Record: 39-49
Favorite Non-baseball Moment: Our lucky moment (see below)
Who was there: Maggie and her brother Ben
Our Records: Maggie – 5-9; Ben 0-3
What did we eat: Ben had a slice of pizza. Maggie’s eyes were a little bigger and she decided to tackle the Rough Rider. The Rough Rider is a foot long rib slathered in barbecue sauce and grease. It was DELICIOUS. The Rough Rider is a little pricey at $12, but for this much meat and flavor, it’s totally worth getting your face and hands a little greasy.
President’s Race: I missed it.
- So for this game, there is really only one story. As you can see at the top of the post, Ben and Maggie are sitting with Clint. But let’s go back to the very beginning. Brother and sister are hanging out in their parent’s basement before the game. Maggie turned to Ben and said, “You need to change your shirt because what if they select us for the Lucky Seat upgrade like they did last time? You know they’re looking for people in Nats gear.” Ben pulls on a red Natstown shirt, and as they walk to the car, realizes he and Maggie are twinsies. Oh well. We get their food, go to their seats, and sit. The tickets were free from one of Maggie’s coworkers, and they’re kind of in the nosebleeds, but they have a good view. Maggie is finishing her rib at the end of the top of the 1st, when she looks up and sees Clint and camera crew and Nat Pack members climbing up the stairs, and asked, “Am I going to need to wipe the grease off my face?” Clint said, “Maybe – have you all been to games and seen the Lucky seat upgrades?” Yes, we said, and we will accept this upgrade. We then tell him the story of what happened last week, and how Maggie “owed” Ben. Clint said, “Well, I don’t think she owes you anymore.” There was a lot happening during the bottom of that first inning, so we had a nice long chat with Clint – about the team, about the stadium, about Maggie & Ben’s sister who is currently serving in Afghanistan, about Clint’s throwing skills that allow him to chuck t-shirts into the club level. Finally, the inning ended and it was time to go on the big screen and get upgraded. Maggie and Ben smiled like goofballs, Maggie hugged baby brother, and they left for the PNC Diamond Club to the cheers from their section.
- The PNC Diamond Club is pretty awesome. you get a wristband so you can walk in and out. the seats are heavily cushioned and SO comfortable. The view is low in the field, and you can see a surprising amount considering how low you are to the field (compared to the upper decks where you take in the ENTIRE game). There are menus at the seats, and you can order food. Tickets come with added value on them which let you order food and shop in the team stores without having to pull out your wallet. The “Lucky Seats” come with a DC Lottery prize pack. Inside are two lottery scratchers (Ben won $2, Maggie did not win anything), two vouchers for Powerball, a coffee mug, a chip clip, and a pen. The only downside to these seats is the price. They are (along with the President’s Club seats) a “bucket list” sort of purchase for most of us regular folks: something to do once so you can say you did.
- Ben and Maggie both invested their ticket value money (which must be used the day of the game) in jerseys. Ben got Strasburg, and Maggie got Zimmerman. Unfortunately for Maggie (and all female Nats fans), there’s not a lot of choice in the team stores as far as women’s jerseys. They’re all white, and at the home plate store, there’s only Strasburg. Go to the CF store, and you get a second choice – Zim. Hey Nats – something to work on?
- The less that’s said about that game, the better. It was a decent start, including a rocking home run by Michael Morse, but things got ugly in the 7th when Clippard came out to relieve.
- There were more stories from this game, but there isn’t the time, the space, and I don’t think any of you have the patience to read them all