Tonight is Ryan Zimmerman's fourth annual "A Night At The Park" event, held at Nationals Park and hosted by Zimmerman's ziMS Foundation, which is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of multiple sclerosis.
Zimmerman's mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with MS in 1995, and Zimmerman founded ziMS shortly after reaching the majors in 2005. Third Eye Blind will be performing at the tonight's event, and those in attendance can bid on baseball memorabilia and other good stuff during a silent auction.
According to the event's Web site, tickets for the event are sold out, but you can still make a donation to the ziMS foundation here. I'll be at the event tonight, and if you're there as well and happen to see me, be sure to say hi.
The Nationals' win yesterday not only prevented the team's losing streak from reaching a season-high five games, it also gave the Nats their fourth win this season when scoring two or fewer runs.
Overall, when they've scored under three runs this season, the Nationals are 4-20. On the flip side, when they've scored three or more runs, the Nats are an impressive 20-3.
I guess the lesson here is simple: Get to that three-run mark, you'll find yourself shaking hands on the field at the end of the game more often than not.
The Nats have yet to lose a game all season when they've put at least five runs on the board, indicating, for the most part, how good their starting pitching has been.
Despite some inconsistent efforts from a couple guys early on in the season, the Nats' starters have the third-best ERA in the majors at 3.24, and they've worked the fifth-most innings of any staff. The bullpen, however, has been shaky, posting a 4.21 ERA (22nd in the bigs) and a 1.38 WHIP (23rd).
Drew Storen has been in a rough patch of late, posting a 2.12 WHIP and blowing two saves over his last six appearances, spanning 5 2/3 innings. He's allowed three runs in that stretch, but also allowed an inherited run to score yesterday.
Tyler Clippard, meanwhile, hasn't been scored upon over his last eight outings, spanning 7 2/3 innings. He's allowed just two hits, walked three and struck out 10 in that stretch, and has stranded four inherited runners.
He obviously still has a very long ways to go, but Danny Espinosa took a minor step in the right direction yesterday. Espinosa singled and walked in yesterday's ballgame, marking the first time he's reached base twice in a game since May 8, a span of 13 games.
The walk was also Espinosa's first since April 27. Yes, he had gone 78 plate appearances without drawing a base on balls.
I know we've talked at length about how the Nats' main bench guys (Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore, Roger Bernadina and Chad Tracy) haven't been performing to nearly the level they did last season. But when I compared their collective numbers this year to what that foursome did in 2012, I was shocked at the discrepancy.
Last season, Lombardozzi, Moore, Bernadina and Tracy combined to put up a slash line of .276/.334/.406. They battled in at-bats, drew walks and delivered key extra-base hits.
This season, the slash line put up by those four players is a paltry .163/.207/.233.
Not only have Lombardozzi, Moore, Bernadina and Tracy been needed in the late innings as pinch-hitters early on this season, but they've been given significant playing time due to injuries to Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. The Nats got so much from their bench guys last year, and it could certainly be argued that their collective struggles this season have played a big part in the Nats' overall offensive woes.