The Washington National unveil new jerseys. They’re OK.

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Some people have told me that I should have waited to do my writeup on the Nats’ jerseys until after they unveiled their new duds last night.  I don’t think it makes a difference.  The new outfits are neither the best nor the worst the Nationals have ever sported.  They’re worth discussion, but they don’t change my analysis.

As for that discussion: I like the curly-W on the new home whites well enough. It’s certainly an improvement over the block “Nationals” they’ve been using. It’s being referred to as “an authentic bond with the past,” but the old Senators never put a curly W on the actual jersey. They had block Ws and script “Senators,” but the W’s were always on the caps. I like the look — it’s kind of like the Tigers English D, no? — but I don’t know I can call it my favorite. Give it time, maybe.  I was thinking that a script “Nationals” to track the road grays (which I really like) would be the best move, but what do I know? The W is probably less generic than a simple script would be.  This could grow on me.

The other changes are the red and blue alternates. You know how I feel about solid alternates — batting practice jerseys, blah — and this is no different.  They’ve included a red, white and blue W on the blue alternate which is not my taste, but hey, they’ll probably sell a lot of them. They’re only going to be worn on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Sept. 11th and military appreciation days anyway, so it’s not like we’ll see it often.

Other changes: the road cap gets a red bill. Eh, I liked the solid blues, but this isn’t an atrocity. There’s new piping and things too, but I don’t get too animated by that sort of thing unless it’s distracting, which this isn’t.

Ultimately the Nationals are a team still searching for its identity. As far as uniforms go, I suspect they’ll find it in whatever it they happen to be wearing when they win the division the first time.  For now though, I think this looks pretty good. Just wish they’d can the solid alternates.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.