WASHINGTON, D.C. — I bicycled to Nationals Park, met my dad, and then watched the Washington Nationals struggle mightily against New York Mets knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey, possibly the “the Most Interesting Man in Baseball” (The Post). In 7 1/3 innings, a mere handful of balls hit by D.C. (mostly in the 8th inning) reached the outfield. I thought it unwise that the Mets took him out after 105 pitches too — aren’t knuckleballers rubber-armed?
The lone Nats run come in the 9th inning, a solo shot by Ryan Zimmerman. That’s twice now that Mr. Walkoff has homered in the ninth inning this season (I was there for both of them) but the blasts were harmless to the opposition, proving too little too late.
Dickey’s opposite number, Chein Ming-Wang drew unfortunate comparisons to Tony Armas, Jr. during his start. He frequently loaded the bases, only to get out of jams. He fielded about 4 comebackers well, but a fifth got past him. A 2 run blast by Lucas Duda provieded the winning run. An additional Mets run came later.
For the 8th time in 9 tries, the Nats couldn’t complete a sweep. It is a strange, but utimately tolerable problem for one to have.
Over 32,000 tickets were sold for the afternoon getaway day. There were several clusters of groups, but overall a lot of people wearing red caps and/or shirts. We sat in the shade of section 409 with the Capitol dome off of our left shoulders.
Interleague play resumes this evening in Boston, the Nats first trip to Fenway Park in six years. The last one didn’t go too well. For whatever reason, there have been several New England writers on the Nats beat over the years. This is big for trip for them. Amanda Comak noted in The Wash. Times (or the Nats blog they have at least) that The Boston Globe is hyping the Nats. Also, @AdamKilgoreWP tweeted that “Lots on Nats gear on flight, at hotel in Boston. Not usually the case.”
I wonder if they’ll be as bad as the Orioles fanboys/Angelos apologists that work in D.C. sports media.
FANBOY COLUMNIST IS HAPPY!
THOMAS BOSWELL: In Nationals’ clubhouse, disparate personalities such as Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Gio Gonzalez fit – The Post
I still enjoy the optimism of a Bos column. Everybody is getting along in the clubhouse and he might mean it this time.
Two years ago tonight, this happened: Nats: I have seen the future of baseball and it is Stephen Strasburg
Strasburg is on the hill tonight.