How much do you think the Nationals wish their season could have ended yesterday amid the ecstasy of Justin Maxwell’s bottom-of-the-ninth, full-count grand slam at Nationals Park? How much do you wish that was game No. 162?
Well, sorry. There are still four games to go, all of them here at Turner Field in Atlanta. And though a couple of a days ago, it appeared these games would be meaningful, the situation has changed dramatically in the last 48 hours. Going into play Tuesday, the Braves trailed the Rockies in the NL wild-card race by only two games. But two Colorado wins and two Atlanta losses later — including last night’s heartbreaker in which Matt Diaz was picked off third base to end the game — have left the Rockies holding a four-game lead with four to play.
And since the Rockies are currently playing at Milwaukee, tonight’s Nats-Braves game could be rendered meaningless before Tommy Hanson throws his first pitch. So buckle up for some potentially difficult baseball to watch the next few nights, especially Saturday’s 4:10 p.m. game, with the Nats still trying to decide who will start. Marco Estrada is the likeliest option, but Jim Riggleman could also choose to go with a bullpen game.
But before I douse everyone’s positive feelings for good, one last note about last night’s thriller that I forgot to mention yesterday but deserves mention as perhaps the stat of the season…
Justin Maxwell has 110 plate appearances in his major league career so far. Two of those plate appearances have come with the bases loaded. Both times he hit a grand slam. So Maxwell’s career stat line with the bases loaded reads as follows…