After a 4-game sweep that had the Nationals embarrassing the Cubs by a collective 31-9, Davey Johnson had a message for the Cubs and the whole of baseball after tonight’s game: “If they’re getting mad at my guys in the 5th inning [for] swinging 3-0 or running, they better get used to it.”
And mad the Cubs were in the third base dugout, as two separate benches-and-bullpen clearing incidents occurred in the 5th and 6th inning that lead to three Cubs ejections (Bench Coach Jamie Quirk, Catcher Steve Clevenger and Pitcher Manny Corpas) and the ejection of Nationals pitcher Michael Gonzalez. What began with words between Nationals third base coach Bo Porter and the Cubs’ Jamie Quirk in the fifth quickly escalated into a fracas that cleared the pens and resulted in blows.
A brushback pitch to Harper in the bottom of the 6th was the primary cause of the second fracas, as the rookie took exception to the chin music, and took a few steps toward pitcher Lendy Castillo, while expressing his dissatisfaction with the pitch’s proximity and location. It wasn’t much after that that catcher Steve Clevenger shoved Michael Morse, and all hell broke loose. Davey Johnson looked mighty spry and energetic in holding back “Beast Mode” Morse, while Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman each took turns making sure Harper didn’t find himself in the thick of the pack.
The Nationals, at this point up 7-2, had been playing aggressively that evening, sending runners to steal, despite a 5-run lead, and swinging openly at 3-0 pitches, something certain baseball managers might object to as showing up the losing team. It’s not that the Cubs didn’t have right to feel slighted, the Nationals have spent the entire week demonstrating to anyone watching that there’s a reason the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908.
Ryan Zimmerman and Kurt Suzuki each took home three RBI, while Adam LaRoche added another 2 on a moon-shot of a home run that required official review to determine that it had gone over the wall. Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven innings, for of which were about as good as he’s thrown all year, notching 9 strikeouts, and giving up just two runs.
Magic Number Tracker: Nats won, Braves won, so the Magic Number is down to 18. For the uninitiated, that number represents the number of Nats wins and Braves losses necessary to clinch the NL East and a playoff spot. Current best guess for a clinch date is during the road trip to Philly.
An Aside: This evening, I was ensconced in my partial-season seats down in 128 and had the opportunity to use Dasdak’s online ordering tool that’s been added to Nationals Park this season, and recently rolled out to more and more sections. My first order was placed at 6:45pm, just as the game was about to begin. Within 180 seconds (yes, I timed it), I was holding a cold Diet Coke and a tasty cheesesteak. We tried it again in the middle of the 2nd inning when my wife arrived, and the wait was a little longer, about twenty minutes, but once again, hot food, cold drink, salty pretzel, all arrived more quickly than standing in line and without having to miss part of the game.
The system requires an account to be setup (they offer Facebook integration for the easiest way to setup an account) and then store a payment method. You can add tip (they offer handy percentage-based options, or a flat dollar amount) and they charge just $1 for the whole game in extra fees. The prices are the same as the Levy Concessions prices, though the number of items is currently limited. Overall, I would recommend the service. Staying in your seat is a heckuva lot more convenient than standing in line.