The Nationals topped the Cubs 2-1 this afternoon at Nationals Park for their 82nd victory of the season. This guarantees them their first winning record since moving from Montreal to D.C. for the 2005 season. The club went 81-81 in their first season in D.C. and 80-81 last year.
Ross Detwiler was excellent this afternoon, holding the Cubs to just four hits over seven shutout innings. Drew Storen pitched a scoreless eighth inning while closer Tyler Clippard danced around an RBI single by Welington Castillo in the ninth to lock down his 30th save of the season. Adam LaRoche launched his 25th home run of the season in the win while Ryan Zimmerman added an RBI double.
At 82-52, the Nationals currently own the best record in baseball and hold a 6 1/2 game lead over the Braves in the National League East. There’s officially winning baseball in D.C. for the first time since the Washington Senators went 86-76 in 1969.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is slated to remain with the club through the end of the 2018 season, general manager Ross Atkins told reporters on Friday. The news follows a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who cast some doubt on the veteran skipper’s future with the team several weeks ago when he said the Jays “seem destined to move on from John Gibbons.”
While it appears Gibbons’ job is safe for the next six weeks, that’s not saying much — especially as the club currently sits 30.5 games back of the division lead and will prepare to continue restructuring a sub-.500 roster come fall. As recently as last week, he hinted that he wasn’t feeling particularly eager to oversee a full rebuild. Per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun:
Truthfully, a full breakdown, you know I have to admit I don’t know if I’m interested in that,” Gibbons said prior to Friday’s 7-0 blowout loss to the Tampa Rays. “But we’ll see. I’m still here. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
Over 11 cumulative seasons from 2004-2008 and 2013-2018, the 56-year-old manager has guided the team to a winning record just five times, most recently when they earned back-to-back playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016. He still has another year remaining on his contract, which was recently lengthened to include the 2018 and 2019 seasons and includes an option for 2020 as well.
Atkins also revealed that the club is prepared to reevaluate Gibbons’ role during the offseason, though it’s not yet clear whether they intend to keep him on for the next two years as originally planned, reassign him to another role within the organization, or terminate his agreement with the team altogether.