As I mentioned in my post yesterday, the scattering of spectacular wins that the Nationals have pulled off in the early part of the season were fun to watch, but not really indicative of the way a team builds a winning habit. Surround them liberally with games-they-should-have-won, and you have the formula for our April malaise.
Yesterday’s game was another spectacular win, but unlike some of the earlier versions, it was a game where the better team won, rather than the worse team getting lucky.
And don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of luck involved… but it wasn’t the luck that results from the other team’s bad fortune, but rather, the luck you create when you’re playing well. The highlight was Austin Kearns and Jesus Flores combining for a 9-2 force at the plate, but there was plenty of highlights to go around, and you can see them here (to see the Kearns-Flores put-out, click the link below the video player).
… and for those of us who care to revel in ex-Nat schadenfreude, there was no better central character than Felipe Lopez. In addition to being the player thrown out at the plate going from third to home on a ball hit to right field, he was called out at first earlier in the game on a ball hit in the infield , even though Adam Dunn dropped the throw… but Dunn was able to pick the ball up before Lopez got to first because Lopez didn’t run it out. Some things never change.
The Nats modest streak doesn’t undo a terrible April. But suddenly the Nats are winning the games they should win, and as a team, and for us, as fans… we can finally take a breath and look around at the MLB world. On this Sunday, we discover that we’re only 5.5 games out of first, and we no longer have the worst record in baseball – that distinction belongs to the Indians.
The Nats can’t undo April. But they’ve started to build a sound season, despite the rocky start.
Other notes: Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman both hit solo homers deep to center. Zimmerman’s extended his hitting streak to twenty-seven games. Both homers can be seen in the video highlights linked above.
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