The Nationals hit six home runs last night. They also did it on Tuesday night. That’s only the third time a team has hit six homers on consecutive nights ever. The previous two: the Angels did it against the Expos in 2003 and the Dodgers in Colorado in 1996.
Caveat: the former did it in Hiram Bithorn stadium in Puerto Rico, which was very homer friendly, and the Dodgers did it when Coors Field was at the height of crazy. But for as bad as the Cubs are, I don’t think they justify the same sort of asterisky treatment those band boxes should get.
The specific number of homers in these games inspired this post, but the significance of it is that for as much as we’ve talked about the Nationals pitching this year, the offense is really asserting itself now. Bryce Harper is waking up after a somnambulistic July and August. And Adam LaRoche has been insane. They have power threats in every position except catcher and right field, and even then Jayson Werth has been getting on base at an all-star clip since returning.
The Nats are the most complete team in baseball right now.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.