Going to a Nats game? You may want to have alternative transportation plans if it runs late

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I lived in the D.C. area for three years and one of the things I loved the most about it was Metro. As far as subway systems go it’s clean, easy-to-navigate and altogether swell.  The only problem — which was way bigger for me when I was 23 than it would be now — is that it closes at around midnight, so if you’re going to a late show or event, you’re on your own for the ride home.

Most Washington Nationals games end well before midnight, but some don’t. Rain delays. Extended extra-inning affairs.  For those sorts of contingencies, the city of Washington pays Metro overtime to run late to accommodate the baseball crowd. But that may not last:

During past seasons, the city covered the costs of bringing in extra trains if there was a long rain delay or an epic 18-inning contest that caused a game to end past Metro’s normal operating hours. But that agreement is unique. All of the other sports teams and concert venues in our area pay Metro for any late-night service. Council Member Tommy Wells says he would like to see the Nationals pick up the tab, which Metro says costs $90,000 per hour.

This service benefits the Nationals first and foremost. Having it there encourages and allows their fans to come to the ballpark in comfort, allows them so buy hot dogs and beer and big foam fingers, knowing that they have a ride home.  I can’t see why the Nationals shouldn’t pay for late service like everyone else does.

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.