In the past eight days I’ve been to Nats Park three times. And each game has been wacky and wonderful, in its own way.
I wrote about the “Rainbow” game in the title last Sunday, when my friend Dolores McDonagh and I watched Tanner Roark (our #4 starter) pitch masterfully for eight shutout innings, and Stephen Drew (remember that name) come in and smash three doubles to contribute to the win. So what does Drew do for an encore? Immediately catches some sort of flu and is out of action for six straight days. (But keep remembering that name.)
I also took one of my older score books to the game last Saturday. In looking through that book at the clinching game in 2012 (for the division title), and some other 2014 games, it brought back good memories of even-numbered years for this ball club. A nice start to the week.
On Wednesday, Andrew and I met at Nats Park after work to catch the Nats vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since our Claire has moved to LA, she has gone over to the dark side, so we promised to troll her from the game.
And it didn’t take long for the Nats to strike – and for us to get in our gloating texts to Claire.
In the first inning, Bryce Harper hit a tater that almost landed in the Navy Yard. He scorched a home run into the far upper deck down the right field line that got everyone excited. It was the first of four home runs in what was an 8-1 Nats rout of the Dodgers.
But surprisingly, Harper’s moon shot wasn’t the most exciting play of the game.
That honor belonged to Trea Turner, who stole home when Danny Espinosa was caught in a run down between first and second. Turner inched down the line and then turned on the afterburners. The park went wild.
Andrew and I almost went hoarse from chanting N-A-T-S Nats! Nats! Nats! Woo!! (We do sit in section 313.) Gio even pitched well and got the win. It was the club’s first win since last Saturday, my last day in the park. Maybe I was on to something.
So when I arrived at Nats Park last evening on the hottest day of the summer (heat index somewhere north of 100 degrees), and with the Nats having lost on Thursday and Friday, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My friend Rich Turner joined me and I brought along another old score book that I had “semi-retired” because it wasn’t very good at recording wins.
(By the way, I did rescue this from the trash…which enabled me to use it last evening.)
Mad Max Scherzer pitched another masterful game, with 10 swinging strikeouts against the Padres in seven innings – striking out the side in his final inning. His only flaw (natch) was giving up a 2-run homer in the first. But the Nats offense went missing for much of the game, with Bryce Harper having an especially difficult game. I turned to a fellow fan who was scoring the game in the 8th and said that at least Bryce couldn’t get the third out in this inning – since he was up second in the order. (Bryce had made the final out in his first three plate appearances, each time with men on base.)
After Jonathan Papelbon escaped a ninth-inning mess of his own making (natch), the bottom of the 9th arrived with the bottom third of the order in line to hit. Luckily, that includes Anthony Rendon, who lashed a solid single to put the winning run on base with no outs. Danny Espinosa struck out (reverting to his former bad habits). Next Stephen Drew (remember that name) – available for the first time in six games due to that flu – pinch-hit in Papelbon’s spot. All he did was mash a triple off the wall between center and right, bringing a streaking Rendon home with the walk-off win.
Three-for-three. What a wacky, wonderful week.
Do the Nationals want to give me free season tickets? I have the score book to vouch for my good luck!
More to come…