In case you hadn't heard by now, the formerly-in-last-place Washington Nationals just ended an eight-game winning streak (which I can talk about now, since the streak is over and I don't risk jinxing anyone). They took 3 games of their 4-game series with the Padres in San Diego, swept the Cardinals at home, and took the first two of three from the Orioles. The streak was in part due to good pitching from starters Liván Hernandez, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann and Jason Marquis; good relief work (finally!) from Tyler Clippard, Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen; and consistent hitting from Michael Morse, Danny Espinosa, and Ian Desmond. The streak also marked the return of former Gold Glove winner, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Ryan has been off to a slow start since missing 58 games due to abdominal surgery, but most people agree that just having him back in the lineup gave the team a much-needed psychological boost. It was great watching the Nats play well, and hopefully just because they lost yesterday's game doesn't mean they are done with their winning ways. They are two games under .500, and they look much better as a team. However, they did not get to a third-place tie with the Mets in the NL East on their own. It helped that the Marlins have lost 10 games in a row (their manager, Freddy Rodriguez just resigned so as not to get fired), and that the Mets have been inconsistent. But despite winning 8 games in a row, the Nationals are still 9.5 games behind the Phillies, because as we all know, the Phillies never lose. Sigh!
My husband and I celebrated Fathers Day yesterday with a trip to nearby Hagerstown to see the Suns play the Delmarva Shorebirds. We went because the Nationals' first-round draft pick from last year, Bryce Harper, plays for the Suns and is supposed to be the best hitter since Babe Ruth. Well, first of all, Bryce was not in the lineup yesterday, getting a day off. We did see him a lot, and he does not look like an 18-year-old kid. He looks all grown-up and seems to be fitting in nicely with his teammates. So there was the fact that we went to see Bryce and he didn't play. Also a bit disappointing was the fact that Municipal Stadium is REALLY REALLY old, so the bathrooms smelled like they held 80 years of urine in their floors, and despite having seats practically on the field, there was this plastic bar that went across the fence in front of us that blocked our view. If we had been maybe 3 inches taller, it would have been fine. In this case, the cheaper seats would have been better. But old stadiums have that old-stadium charm, and it was nice to be in a throwback environment where they still have a person manually changing the score in the outfield scoreboard (very Fenway Park-like). It was neat knowing that Willie Mays had played there, and the small size of the stadium made it feel cozy and intimate. We had a good time, and the Suns ended up winning 11-4. As a frequent visitor to our local Harry Grove Stadium, I didn't realize how nice how have it until I went to visit someone else's minor league park!