The Nationals are making a habit out of this whole walk-off thing.
Adam LaRoche connected for a solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning this evening to give the Nationals a dramatic 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks at Nationals Park. The Nationals have now won seven consecutive games, including three in a row in walk-off fashion. You don’t see that very often.
Watch video of the game-winning homer below:
Tonight’s game was an entertaining back-and-forth affair. Arizona grabbed an early lead before Wilson Ramos put the Nationals in front in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run homer. The Diamondbacks quickly took the lead back with a two-run shot from Didi Gregorius in the top of the eighth, but the Nationals stormed back in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI triple from Anthony Rendon and a sacrifice fly from Jayson Werth. Tyler Clippard, filling in for Rafael Soriano, then blew the save in the top of the ninth before the Nationals won the game in extras.
Believe it or not, this was LaRoche’s first career walk-off homer. After a bit of a power outage, he has gone deep six times in his last 12 games and is now up to 19 homers on the year.
The Nationals now sit at 70-53 on the season, six games up on the Braves in the National League East. They own the best record in the National League.
Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T, accusing its subsidiary, DirecTV, of being the ringleader in a plot in which it conspired with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T cable (then a separate company), to refuse to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodger-owned TV channel in violation of antitrust laws.
Now that lawsuit is over. The DOJ settled with AT&T last night.
The bad news: no part of the settlement obligates DirecTV or any of the other alleged co-conspirators to carry Dodgers games or to even negotiate to that end. There is likewise no fine or truly substantive penalty. It’s basically a “do not do this again!” agreement with some antitrust training requirements for executives and some orders to monitor their communications about these things.
“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” an AT&T spokesman said yesterday, likely in the tone of a guy who is pretty happy to have had a major antitrust suit against him settled so quickly.
When the suit was filed, I anticipated a settlement, as most antitrust suits brought by the DOJ are settled. Such a settlement could’ve featured a cash penalty or, more significantly, a brokered agreement between the parties in question in lieu of a cash settlement that could’ve led to Dodgers games being carried on more channels. After all, more competition is the end game of the Antirust Division.
As it is, however, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a surrender by the DOJ and a victory for the those carriers who coordinated their efforts to not carry the Dodgers.
An open question, unanswered in anyone’s statements yesterday, is whether this settlement is 100% about the merits of the case — keeping in mind that the DOJ tends not to file antitrust suits unless they think they can win, instead preferring to negotiate first — or whether it represents a new set of laxer priorities when it comes to antitrust enforcement from the Trump Administration and AG Jeff Sessions.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.