As far as weekends to be a Nationals fan go, this past one has to rank up there with some of the best. The Nationals not only silenced the droves of Phillies fans that made the trip to Nationals Park with a walk-off grand slam in the first game, but they capped it by taking down the Phillies is extras again on Sunday.
Baseball’s rigorous schedule, though, necessitated that the Nationals turned the page almost immediately after they left Nationals Park Sunday evening. The National League West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks are in town for a four-game set that begins tonight.
It’s been over two months, but there’s a good chance neither side has forgotten the beanball games that were played in the teams’ first meeting during the first weekend of June. One of the main players in that saga, Jason Marquis, has since switched sides and seen his season end with a broken leg. But the memory of Wilson Ramos’ home run — and subsequent snails’ pace around the bases — along with many hit batters for both sides likely aren’t far from the minds of either side’s players.
It will be interesting to see how things play out this series, especially with the Diamondbacks holding a slim 1 1/2 game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West and playing their next 22 games against divisional opponents. Now would not be a good time for them to lose any of their players to a suspension or the like.
At any rate, the Nationals enter the day 61-64, three games under a .500 mark they haven’t hit since July 18, two days after the All-Star break, when they were 48-48. They’ll send Ross Detwiler to the mound against local boy Joe Saunders (West Springfield High School) hoping that their lefty can build upon what may well have been his finest professional start.
Here are the lineups behind them:
Ian Desmond SS
Brian Bixler CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Michael Morse 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Danny Espinosa 2B
Jonny Gomes LF
Wilson Ramos C
Ross Detwiler P