June 14, 2005
Let me get the details of the game out of the way. That was a shellacking. The Angels dismantled the Montreal Expos, er, Washington Nationals 11-1, and it was never really close. Good-bye, 10-game win streak. Hello, Vladimir Guerrero. I'd swear that on his first hit, where Guerrero got jammed on a pitch up around his throat, he was smiling as fought the pitch off into right field, almost as if to say, "No, I can hit it if you put it there too." Guerrero's second hit was smashed so hard to the outfield that Angels announcer Rory Markus immediately knew that Adam Kennedy would be a dead duck at the plate as he tried to score from second.
And it didn't get much better after that for Washington's team. But maybe the outcome was not surprising. Of all the division leaders, the Nationals are the only one with a losing record on the road. The staff ERA is 2 runs per game higher away from RFK, and as for that recent winning streak, well, it doesn't hurt to have Oakland and Seattle on your schedule these days. You might recall that the Oakland and Seattle figured quite prominently in the winning streak that propelled the Yankees back into the picture about three weeks ago. However, starting with the 17-1 loss to the Red Sox at the end of May, the Yankees have gone 3 and 12.
I'm not necessarily predicting the same fate for the Nationals, but I will say that I am skeptical about this feel-good story. While it is fun to see the team with the lowest payroll in the NL East out in front, but it's also a division that could be up for grabs going into the final week of the season. Not one of the NL East teams has a winning record on the road, so check those schedules and see which team has the most home games in the final weeks of the season, because it could come down to whoever's enjoying home cooking the most.
Posted by Andrew Torres at 1:28 AM