My fourth trip to Nationals Park this year turned out to be a long but exciting day. After a 2-hour and 26-minute rain delay on Sunday afternoon, Gio Gonzalez won his 16th game of the season -- a team record -- as the Nationals defeated the Mets, 5-2. The Nationals improved their record to 75-46 and now have a five-game lead over the Braves, who were shut out by the Dodgers, 5-0, on Sunday. The Nationals next play the Braves in an important three-game series beginning Monday at Nationals Park.
The rain delay wasn’t so bad, because it wasn’t raining too hard, so we were able to go to our seats in section 133 and take cover under our huge umbrella. They were nice enough to show the Braves-Dodgers game on the scoreboard screen, so we kept ourselves entertained watching that (at least I did, while my husband took a nap). When Luis Cruz of the Dodgers hit a home run, everyone cheered. I bet the Dodgers had no idea that they had thousands of instant fans cheering them on in DC!
When the game finally started, Gio Gonzalez took the mound. It was not his best start (I think he was ready for a 1:35 game and was probably tired of having to stay warmed-up for so long), but he only allowed one run in 5 and 2/3 innings. Offensively, the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer that scored Michael Morse, and Bryce Harper hit a solo one as well as a triple that scored Jayson Werth. Harper scored after that triple thanks to a hit by Ryan Zimmerman.
The only question mark that the Nationals have is shortstop Ian Desmond. Desmond has gone 0-for-12 since his return from the Disabled List, where he stood since the All-Star break with an oblique strain. In my opinion, Desmond was brought back a little too early without much rehabbing in the Minors and should have been given a little more time at the plate before returning. After all, Espinosa was filling in just fine at shortstop, and Steve Lombardozzi was playing second base quite well. Lombardozzi, who was getting hot right before Desmond returned, has been relegated to the bench. He’s one of those guys who should play every day in order to get consistent, so we’ll see if the Nationals keep him around for next season or trade him for, say, a good catcher.
But I digress… back to yesterday’s game… The funniest part of the day was in the eighth inning, when Mets’ right fielder, Scott Hairston, decided to throw his glove down on top of something that was moving. We didn’t know what it was – a bird, a mouse? The way he threw the glove down on that thing you would have thought it was a large creature of some sort. Then he removed the glove that was covering the creature and he tried to kick it. Then he reluctantly picked it up with his glove, making sure the vicious creature did not inject him with a lethal bite. When a Nationals official came to retrieve the creature with a big towel, we realized it was a praying mantis! Yes, Scott Hairston delayed an already-delayed baseball game because of a praying mantis! I bet you he’s not the one who empties the mouse traps in his house!
So our fourth visit to Nationals Park this year was a long one, but it had a positive result. We will be back for our fifth and final visit of the regular season in a few weeks,, when the Nationals entertain the Milwaukee Brewers. In the meantime, stay tuned for this week’s 3-game series against the Braves – it promises to be a very good one!