BALTIMORE—The Washington Nationals finished the first half of the game with a 5-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on July 7 thanks to a three-run eighth inning. They took two of three from the Royals to end the first half of the season and went into the All-Star break in a much better spot than before.
At one point, the Nationals were 12 games under .500 but won 28 of 39, coming into the break with a 47-42 record and firmly in the playoff hunt.
Washington took 10 of 12 before this break, but the only bad news was that Max Scherzer and Anthony Rendon, the team’s two picks for the All-Star Game, did not play due to injury issues.
Scherzer did go to the game despite back issues, while Rendon stayed back to get treatment on some leg problems.
“We all kind of huddled around and realized it’s probably not smart for me to be pitching in the All-Star Game,” Scherzer said on masnsports.com last weekend. “I need some rest right now to let this thing fully heal up so that I’m completely good to go for the second half.”
BAYHAWKS SPLIT TWO GAMES
The Chesapeake Bayhawks split two games last week, first losing in Denver on July 4 before winning at home two days later.
In Denver, the Outlaws pulled out a 14-13 victory in a game that was delayed three times due to weather issues. Lyle Thompson led the way for the Bayhawks in that game with five goals and one assist. Steele Stanwick added two goals and two assists.
But two days later, Thompson came through again, posting five goals and three assists in a 16-13 victory over the Atlanta Blaze at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. This game also had weather issues, but they got the contest finished without postponement.
Thompson has accumulated 33 points in the team’s first five games and is a huge part of the Chesapeake (3-2) offense.
“I’m just trying to play my game,” Thompson said. “Our coaches have really allowed me to do that. They have shown a lot of confidence in me and given me the freedom to make plays.”
ORIOLES IMPROVE ON ROAD TRIP BEFORE BREAK
The Baltimore Orioles went 3-3 on their road trip that ended July 7 and sat at 27-62, the worst record in the major leagues, as they headed into the All-Star break.
Baltimore took two of three in Toronto last weekend, scoring 4-1 and 8-1 victories, before the Jays bounced back on July 7. Toronto jumped out to a big early lead and scored a 6-1 victory.
Chance Sisco hit a homer for the lone Baltimore run. Sisco is one of the younger players who seem to be slowly to find their way. He now has six homers, 17 RBI and a .283 batting average.
“I think we played well the first two games here, and you win a series on the road, you can’t be disappointed about that,” Brandon Hyde, the Orioles’ manager, said in The Sun. “Obviously, when you win the first two, you want to get the third one. But I feel pretty good about how we played the last three series. I’d love to see it continue.”
Pitcher John Means was the Baltimore’s lone All-Star Game representative this season.
RED SOX SIGN NAVY PITCHER.
The Boston Red Sox signed Navy pitcher Noah Song, MLB.com recently reported.
Boston picked Song in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, but he can’t do baseball on a regular basis until the fall of 2021 due to commitments to the Navy. MLB.com reported that Song must start training as a flight officer on Nov. 1.
He can then ask to serve the remainder of his commitment to the Navy (five years overall) as a reservist. If that is approved, then he can play. But this summer, Song is going to play at Class A Short Season Lowell.
The 22-year-old right-hander went 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA this year. He’s the highest drafted senior to come out of the Naval Academy.