The Nationals topped the Cubs 2-1 this afternoon at Nationals Park for their 82nd victory of the season. This guarantees them their first winning record since moving from Montreal to D.C. for the 2005 season. The club went 81-81 in their first season in D.C. and 80-81 last year.
Ross Detwiler was excellent this afternoon, holding the Cubs to just four hits over seven shutout innings. Drew Storen pitched a scoreless eighth inning while closer Tyler Clippard danced around an RBI single by Welington Castillo in the ninth to lock down his 30th save of the season. Adam LaRoche launched his 25th home run of the season in the win while Ryan Zimmerman added an RBI double.
At 82-52, the Nationals currently own the best record in baseball and hold a 6 1/2 game lead over the Braves in the National League East. There’s officially winning baseball in D.C. for the first time since the Washington Senators went 86-76 in 1969.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.