July 29, 2013
After Jordan Zimmerman got crushed 11-0 on Friday afternoon, it was clear the Nationals’ (52-54) offense needed to step up to avoid a sweep in the day-night doubleheader against the New York Mets.
With Friday night’s game tied 1-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Ryan Zimmerman hit a homerun to lift the Nats to a 2-1 victory and doubleheader split.
“Just worked into a good count and finally didn’t try too much,” the third basemen said. “After the way that first game went, that was a huge win.”
The Nats kept the momentum up through the weekend, outscoring the Mets 4-1 on Saturday. But Sunday was the highlight of the four-game series, with the Nats delivering a 14-1 blowout win. Washington rocked Carlos Torres (1-2), who gave up eight runs and nine hits in just three innings.
They got the scoring started early, with catcher Wilson Ramos hitting an RBI single in the second, and Bryce Harper following with a two-out, two-RBI single that put them up 3-0. Zimmerman, who finished three-for-four, led off the third inning with a single and scored on a base hit by Ian Desmond. When Ramos came to the plate with the bases loaded, he worked a 2-1 count before launching a rocket to left field. The grand slam, the first of his career, built an insurmountable lead the Mets never came close to overcoming.
Outfielder Denard Span, who had four hits including a one-run homer in the sixth, was pleased with the win, but had hoped their performance—fourteen runs on eighteen hits—would have been the norm, not the exception, this season. “This is definitely what we envisioned coming out of spring training,” The outfielder said. “Being able to score runs like this and put a lot of pressure on the other teams’ pitching.”
After losing the first six games after the All-Star Break, besting the Mets has improved Washington’s post-break record to 4-7. While they still trail first-place Atlanta by almost ten games, their perseverance and ability to come back from poor performances has shown fans not to count them out yet.
The temperatures are getting a little cooler, and the days a little shorter, which for Redskins fans mean one thing: football is right around the corner.
Although NFL kickoff is six weeks away and the pre-season has not even started yet, fans are still eager to get a glimpse of their beloved Washington Redskins. Last year, the Skins (10-6) won the NFC East and made a playoff appearance for the first time in five years. And, despite failing to advance past the first post-season game, the performance gave hope to fans that had not seen their team play a winning season since they went 9-7 in 2007.
After the team’s first practice last Thursday drew a record crowd of fifteen thousand, the team will head back to their new training facility in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday for a morning walk-through and afternoon practice. One of the most glaring concerns for the Skins and their fans is whether or not RGIII is, or will be, healthy when the season starts. Griffin underwent reconstructive knee surgery in early January, after re-injuring himself during a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
While the star quarterback has been medically cleared to practice during training camp, he will likely not take part in full eleven-on-eleven practices or preseason games. “Unless it’s a necessity, then I don’t think I’ll play in the preseason unless Coach says so,” Griffin told reporters last week. RGIII will likely have two or three more weeks of workouts and individual drills before Shanahan believes he is ready for more. The goal is to have Griffin ready for the September 9 regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
On Monday, Griffin held a press conference where he said that while his leg is feeling better, he plans to wear his leg brace for the entirety of the 2013 season. “You get used to it, your leg gets stronger and you can carry that extra weight,” he told reporters. As to whether or not the brace is permanent, Griffin would not say, addressing only the near future. “I don’t know if I’ll wear it forever,” he said. “I know I’ll wear it for the rest of the season.”
The Redskins will continue to have open training camps throughout the next few weeks, including Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday, August 3.