Moving in the right direction… one win at a time

Last night’s win was insignificantly significant for at least one reason–if nothing else it guaranteed the Nats won’t reach the century mark in losses for the first time since 2007. This feat won’t be celebrated with champagne showers… but it’s progress. It is a step in the right direction.

“Certainly we want to raise the bar higher than that,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “Winning a little more than last year is a step. We feel we are making progress, but ultimately, you are what your record says you are. We would like to win some more games. We are certainly not happy about the number of losses. If it has a nine in front of it or a 100 in front, it’s not good.”

Tyler Clippard doesn’t see a difference between 100 losses or 90, just like when you double nothing, well you still have nothing. Whether you lose 100 games or 90 games, the team is still only going to play 162 games.

“There is no significance,” Clippard said. “It’s a non-successful season whether it’s 100 losses or 95 losses. When you are in last place, it’s not good.”

He is right in the sense that it is a bad season either way but a 100 loss season is a regrettable milestone and a 99 loss season is just a bad year. When you lose 100 games you are clumped into a category but when you lose 99 games your season is just forgotten. It is the same thing with 100 RBI, 200 innings pitched or 1,000 yards rushing milestones, among many other things.

In a different type of milestone:

The Nationals have played 960 games since arriving in the Nation’s Capitol in 2005. They are 406-554. The Baltimore Orioles are 406-554 over that same span. That is pretty impressive and it settles any debate about which team is better. I don’t know what the odds of two teams playing 960 games and finishing with the same record but they aren’t the only teams. The Red Sox and Angels are 550-411 and the Rockies and Padres are 481-480 over the same span.

It’s worth mentioning:

The Nationals scored all seven of their runs last night in the bottom of the eighth with two outs. It was just the second time that Washington scored as many as seven runs in one inning at home since returning to DC. The last time was on April 16, 2005, in the team’s second game in Washington, when the Nationals recorded a seven-run seventh inning against the Diamondbacks.

After a rough first inning that saw the Astros jump to a 3-0 lead last night, starting pitcher John Lannan retired 17 of the final 20 batters he faced.

Last night, Tyler Clippard posted his MLB-leading 10th relief win. The last NL relief pitcher to record a double-digit win total was Todd Jones in 2004, for the Phillies and Reds. Clippard also notched his 100th strikeout in relief, becoming the first DC-based reliever to do so. His 100 relief K’s this season trail only the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol (124).

Bill Ladson reports that the Nats are expected to announce by the end of the week that Manager Jim Riggleman will be back for at least another week. 

Astros (73-78):

1.    Jason Bourgeois – CF

2.    Angel Sanchez – SS

3.    Jeff Keppinger – 2B

4.    Carlos Lee – LB

5.    Chris Johnson – 3B

6.    Brett Wallace – 1B

7.    Jason Michaels – RF

8.    Jason Castro – C

9.    Wandy Rodriguez – SP (11-12, 3.65 ERA)

* Jason Michaels hit his eighth long ball of the season last night in the first. A ******** 18 of his 39 hits (46.2%) have now been of the extra-base variety.

Nationals (63-88):

1.      Danny Espinosa – 2B

2.      Ian Desmond – SS

3.      Adam Dunn – 1B

4.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

5.      Michael Morse – RF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Roger Bernadina – LF 

8.      Justin Maxwell – CF

9.      Jason Marquis – SP (2-9, 7.71 ERA)

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