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.
Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.
Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.
The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.