3-game weekend wrapup; Two out of three 'ain't bad as Nats win first road series against Diamondbacks
The Nationals played a really entertaining series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix this weekend. The Nats took the first two games and had more than a sporting chance at winning the Sunday game, but the sweep was not to be.
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman continued his hitting streak, now at 28 games. To put this in historical perspective, Zimmerman is now precisely at the halfway point to tying New York Yankee Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, which he accomplished in 1941. It has long been considered one of the most unassailable records in sports. While I'm not getting my hopes up that Zimmerman will tie or top DiMaggio (since there are too many variables involved, from weather to team rules*), it is my hope that he gets the streak to at least 30, to get on most hitting streak lists of note, and I'd be happy if he got to 37 to get ahead of Washington Senator Gene DeMontreville (who had a 36-game streak in 1896-97. I'm sure that I'd settle for him tying or beating Washington Senator Heinie Manush, who had a 33-game streak in 1933.
(*I hope for Manager Manny Acta's sake, as well as Zimmerman's, that Zimmerman isn't late to a team meeting or function for the duration of this streak. Acta would have to choose between caving in and allowing Zimmerman to play and losing credibility with the team, or keeping his hard line and not start him for a game, and crushing the hopes of of the fans. The fallout from that is just too much to imagine.)
Okay - onto the games.
Game 1, Friday May 8th: Nats 5, Diamondbacks 4.
This game was murder on me. I have to be at work early on Saturdays, so a Friday night game, especially a west coast game, takes a lot out of me, ending as they do after 1:00 a.m. eastern time.
The Nats came back from being down 1-0 to go up 4-1, then 4-2, then 5-2 and held on as the D-Backs mounted their comeback. Jésus Flores and Adam Dunn both had homers, starter Shairon Martis got the win, and Kip Wells got a save.
Game 2, Saturday May 9th: Nats 2, Diamondbacks 1.
Starter John Lannan got his second win and kept the D-Backs off of the scoreboard for his six innings, and the D-Backs didn't score their one run until the bottom of the 9th, which added a thrilling, if horrible, aspect to the game if you're a Nats fan. Adam Dunn went long again, a homer that hit 50 feet above left-centerfield. If he'd hit that at Nationals Park, I believe that it would have landed in the Red Loft, or on the plaza. Ryan Zimmerman also went deep, so between him and Dunn, the two of them accounted for all of the Nats scoring. The bullpen held, and Joel Hanrahan got the save.
Game 3, Sunday May 10th (Mother's Day): Diamondbacks 10, Nats 8.
Despite 13 hits, including four home runs (two of which were on consecutive plate appearances, from Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham), the Nationals were undone by two errors and a faltering bullpen. Despite gaining the lead twice, the Nats allowed 17 hits by the D-Backs.
Adam Dunn's two homers pushed his season total to 11, putting him behind only St. Louis's Albert Pujols (who has 12) for the moment. He is a lot of fun to watch hit. If only his defense were as impressive. Willingham continues to make the most of his opportunities, with his good defense and his two, count 'em, two homers.
Now, on to San Francisco and the Giants, currently a better team than the Diamondbacks and only a little bit worse than the division-leading Dodgers. The Nats will need to make sure that they have more than "flowers in their hair"** to take two of three in the City by the Bay.
In other news, presumptive Nationals #1 pick in the June college draft (one month away) Stephen Strasberg, threw the only no-hitter of his college career in his final college start, against Air Force. Nationals assistant-G.M. Mike Rizzo said that, if the draft were today, Strasberg would be their pick, but that a lot can happen in 30 days. Über-sports agent Scott Boras is expected to ask for a six-year, $50-million contract for Strasberg, which would set a new high for a #1 drafted player.
(** '60's Scott Mackenzie song. Look it up.)