There will be no quarter, no sleep, until November. The Rockies will give you no rest, no chance to catch your breath, you better just keep running. This is the message that the team is sending to teams ahead in the chase, and those trying to catch up as they won their fourth straight game 4-1, and swept the Nationals in Washington D.C. on Friday night.
Jason Hammel came back from a disappointing start in Florida to pitch one of his best games of the season, going seven innings and giving up just three hits and two walks while striking out three. With fastball command that was lacking in LandShark Stadium, Hammel cruised by the Nationals the first time through the lineup and didn't allow a hit until Adam Dunn singled with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. He allowed one run in the sixth when Dunn doubled home Christian Guzman, but that would be the only scoring for Washington. Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street each pitched scoreless innings in relief of Hammel. For Street it was his 32nd save of the season.
It was a weird win tonight from the offensive side. Every player in the Rockies lineup save for Ian Stewart reached base at least one time, but only two reached more than once (Troy Tulowitzki with a hit and a walk and Yorvit Torrealba via hit and reaching on a Guzman error) yet the Rockies were able to put together four runs out of it. Clint Barmes (who walked) and Yorvit Torrealba (who singled) scored in the fifth when a pop-up flare to shallow left field dropped for a double off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez, and then two more insurance runs scored in the eighth after Todd Helton got his first hit of the night, and was driven home by a Troy Tulowitzki double. Brad Hawpe singled allowing Tulo to score the final run.
Stewart continues a slump at the plate, striking out four times, but saved a couple of runs with sparkling defensive work at third base.
68 - 53
I want to say something about reflexivity in sports after reading this article at FanGraphs, where Matthew Carruth still ignores the gathering evidence that the Dodgers aren't in as stable a position as the playoff odds show, but I may have to save this for the weekend. My fear is that by then it might already be moot. Needless to say, I think the Dodgers lead will continue to dwindle over the next week, and there will be soon a sudden and dramatic dip in their odds of winning the division because of it.
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