Rainout, Strasburg win, one-run loss. That was the Washington Nationals weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. Today is an off day. Tomorrow, the Nats, leaders in the NL East by .003 host the New York Mets for three games with first place likely in the balance. Just like we thought heading into the season. The Florida Marlins, make that Miami Marlins (still getting used to that) have been surging and are right there with the Mets .003 behind the Nats. The Mets finally had their first no hitter with Johan Santana pitching one (with some help from the umps) on Friday night. He might face the Nats on Thursday. By the way, don’t run on the field in Queens (NY Post)
A counterpoint to Tim McCarver’s silliness on Friday, Jon Saunders loves the way Bryce Harper plays:
“Let’s hope he always plays like he’s 19.”
Harper was NL Rookie of the Month for May. Gio Gonzalez was NL Pitcher of the Month (nationals.com press release), but couldn’t get through five yesterday in a loss. Only his second bad start of the season.
Steve Lombardozzi hit his first MLB homer yesterday, followed by Harper hitting another home. Rookies haven’t gone back to back to lead off a game since the 19th century or so.
The Nats are 30-22 right now. If they finish 8 games over .500 (losing every other game) they probably make the playoffs. That’s kind of weird to think of — mediocrity from here out probably means some sort of playoff bid. Even weirder — just win one more game a month than they lose and they are at about 92 wins. We are probably in for a whole new kind of frustration as baseball fans here in D.C. We’ll get over it. If the various pieces of the lineup start coming together, this team could be pretty good. Yes, we always say that, but this time it isn’t “if everybody plays great, the Nats could challenge for .500.” Now, its “if everyone plays great” they could challenge for 95 wins and the division.
THOMAS BOSWELL: Washington Nationals learn youthful mistakes are costly – The Post
When you’re in first place, as the Nats still are, baseball changes. Gaps in ability shrink. You are your habits, perhaps even more than your talents.
This glistening afternoon before 38,046 shouldn’t have produced a loss. Steve Lombardozzi and Harper became the first rookies to hit back-to-back home runs to lead off a game in the modern major league era, since 1900, according to Elias Sports Bureau. And on consecutive pitches, too. Fully formed teams don’t get shut out for nine innings after such a start. But mature is what the Nats want to become, not what they are.
“The ingredients are there,” said Johnson. “We’re not a unit yet.”
It is going to be quite a race this season — the healthiest team may be the division winner.
Oh looks, hundreds of trombone on the warning track (DC Sports Bog, The Post) with thunder and lightning nearby!
Ryan Zimmerman “stinks” right now – Nationals Journal, The Post
Oh heh, the MLB Draft is today (Nats Insider). The Nats draft 16th. Drafts are not as much fun these days, the trade off being that baseball is more fun.