Remember last year how Phillies fans came down to Washington en masse for a couple of series against the Nationals? About how no one in Washington except the accountants were happy with it? About how it was a symbol of just how bad Nationals baseball was that fans from an opposing team would travel and take over the Nationals’ very own ballpark? Well, Jayson Werth went on a radio show today and assured Nats fans that that won’t happen again:
“That’s gonna change quick. I think you guys are gonna see. The owners are on board, and Mike Rizzo’s done a good job. The reason those people come over here is they don’t have a chance to watch their team in Philadelphia. And as soon as we start filling the seats here with Nats fans, those people are gonna go away and we’re gonna regain home-field advantage. And I’m looking forward to that day, for sure.”
That’s admirable. And I really do hope that Werth helps instill a fresh new attitude about the Nationals in their hometown. But if he thinks that’s going to do anything apart from inspiring Philly fans to try even harder to buy out the seats to the first Nats-Phillies series in Washington next season he’s crazy. If anything, tickets in CBP will be even harder to come by then they were last season, what with Cliff Lee and all. And with Werth drawing this line in the sand, you just know that there are thousands of Philly fans who will be eager to cross it.
By the way: that first series is April 12th through the 14th. Get your credit cards and bus tickets ready, Philly fans!
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.