The dog days of August are done, and we’re into the last month of baseball season. The Nationals, while still better than previous years, are a long way from the playoff hunt. That does not mean, however that you can’t see some good things at Nationals Park. This homestand brings with it the return of Stephen Strasburg, the debut of a new rookie in the starting rotation, a free concert, and the start of Fan Appreciation Month.
There are a lot of reasons to find yourself down at Nationals Park for an early Fall game, and there just aren’t that many left to go before we head into the dark of winter. Capture the light while it’s still present, folks, and see the Nationals play some solid baseball in the meantime.
Labor Day Weekend: The Nationals are working to turn the series with the Mets that opens tonight into a grand extravaganza for the fans, even if the real excitement is with Tuesday’s game. First up is Friday night, when many tickets are on sale for just $5, and there’s fireworks at the ballpark following the game. Saturday brings with it on-field picture day starting at 4:30 and concludes with a Lifehouse concert. Now, some would say that Lifehouse would just be adding insult to the injury of this losing season, but hey, it could be worse, right? Sunday the Nats are raising money for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team with a Celebrity Softball game featuring, amongst others, some of the Nationals’ broadcasters. Sunday, the Nationals are doing 2-for-1 hotdogs and sodas with a coupon found in a copy of today’s Washington Post, so shell out the bone for today’s paper, and it’s save you a fair amount at the Park.
Big Giveaways: While the biggest giveaway is next weekend with Danny Espinosa’s bobble head doll, the Ryan Zimmerman Fathead Jr. wall sticker on Sunday is for the first 10,000 kids 12 and under. Those are the big events, but you can always check the promo schedule for other big events.
Strasmas Returns: I look forward to the days when Strasmas comes every five days throughout the whole season. But, for now, Stephen Strasburg is set to pitch on Tuesday in his first start of the season. His start last night at Harrisburg may have been his best so far, going 6 innings and surrendering just one hit and topping out at 99mph.
Homestand Prediction: After the Mets leave town, the Nationals face the Dodgers and the hapless Astros. The Dodgers have been somewhat resurgent over the past month, and currently have a record just slightly better than the Nationals. CF Matt Kemp is having a career season, with a near 1.000 OPS, 31 HRs and 102 RBI, so that’s one to watch. Also look for SP Tom Milone or Brad Peacock to make their first start in a Nationals uniform on Saturday, and then again the Thursday following.