Greetings, Shark fans, from New York City! Yes, there ARE Nationals fans here (though I am definitely the biggest), and the Shark's fearsome skills are known even out in my hostile NL East land of Queens. As a native of Fairfax, I long dreamed of a DC team to call my own, and, despite living in the land of Reyes and Jeter, gladly follow the Nats/Sharks all season long.
To tonight's game...
The Nationals continued their string of one-run wins tonight with an exciting 5-4 defeat over the visiting Chicago Cubs. The Nats offense started, not surprisingly, with an infield single by the Shark in the 1st inning, after which he promptly stole second base (inspiring literalist Bill Ladson, @washingnats, to continue to rev up the Speed Racer nickname... sigh). Knowing, however, that Roger would soon be constantly swimming to the warning track to devour flyballs in center for the first three innings, Danny "The Kangaroo" Espinosa decided to give the Shark's
The Shark's following two at-bats were quiet (though after his second straight K, @Nationals tweeted this - awwwww!), but Fearless Leader Ryan Zimmerman blasted a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 5th following a walk to Espi to regain the lead 4-2. (BTW, Sharkadina, why no Shark-tastic nickname for Zimm??). Zimm had a day, going 3-for-4 with a homer and 2 doubles on three swings that MASN commentator FP Santangelo nearly cried over - they were that beautiful. The pesky Cubs answered back again with another 2-run jack, this time from Aramis Ramierz.
This would be all for Gorzelanny (and for homers) as Mattheus came on in the 7th. All-Star candidate Mako Morse came back strong after sitting out due to a bruised thumb, going 2-for-4, including a double to lead off the bottom of the 7th. Jayson Werth continued his struggles at the plate, but ended his 0-for-3 night with a hard-hit deep flyball to right to advance Morse to third. With Wilson Ramos up at the plate, Morse breaks for home not once, but TWICE. Seemingly a missed sign, Ramos was swinging away early in the count and luckily hit one foul as Mako barreled down towards home. Two pitches later, both players executed the squeeze perfectly, and the Nats went up 5-4 in the bottom of the 7th. Now that is #BEASTMODE.
Tom Gorzelanny played admirably, despite earning a no-decision, picking up his first hit of the year and giving up 4 earned runs on 7 hits in 6 innings pitched. Gorzy also got the crowd up and cheering as he fouled off five straight speedballs with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 5th before striking out. The Nats bullpen was lights out, with Mattheus picking up the win, Rodriguez with the hold, and @DrewStoren with his 22nd save on the year.
The Shark ended the day a solid 2-for-5 with two infield hits, a run scored, and a stolen base. Following his bunt single in the 8th, his blazing speed so frightened Cubs pitcher John Grabow (who was trying to do to the Shark what Gorzelanny did to former Nat Alfonso Soriano in the 4th) that he balked on a pickoff move to first, conceding second base to the superior Bernadina. The Shark also recorded the last out of the game in left field, having moved in a double switch that brought in RicK AnKiel.
The Nats are now 2 games over .500 and only 7 games back on the Wild Card. They take to Nats Park tomorrow evening to go for a sweep of the Cubs to once-and-for-all settle every middle schooler's main zoological argument which animal is more kicka**: sharks or bears.
Answer: SHARKS (sorry, Dwight Schrute)
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE MORSE! You can vote as many times as you can until 4pm tomorrow! Not only does he deserve it (was slighted not to have been on the original roster, IMHO), but getting Morse to the All-Star game would show everyone how awesome Nats fans are!
And while we're at it, let's all (mentally) give Jayson Werth a hug...
Thanks, @Sharkadina and @tyinDC for the chance to come write up a game on your awesome blog! I am hoping to be in town for when the Shark takes on his aquatic nemesis, @LoMoMarlins on July 26th and will definitely be at most of, if not all, four games of the Nats September series at CitiField (for why, see here) when they will be in a playoff race. Until then, Shark fans, keep the energy alive at Nats Park as I will continue to fight for the cause up north!
More to come.