After the 11th inning loss Monday night the Nationals are now 0-9 at home in extra-inning affairs. This evening they battle not just the Birds but also a weather pattern…as inclement weather pushes back the start of Tuesday’s tilt with the Orioles from its original 7:05pm gametime. A similar situation existed last week when Doug Fister pitched–and the fast-working starter was still able to get everybody home early.
Mound Matchup– Fister (7-2, 2.93 ERA) won his last start…scattering 7 hits over 7 innings (3ER allowed) in a victory over Colorado. In four starts against the Orioles from 2011-13, Fister is 2-2 with an ERA of 6.46. Bud Norris (7-5, 3.62 ERA) won four straight starts before going on the disabled list with a groin injury late last month. He makes his first start since June 21st-weather permitting.
Soccer’s Slaughter— the Amazon River deposits over 200,000 cubic meters of water per second in the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil’s tears might account for more than that this evening. A 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals of soccer’s World Cup effectively ends the 2014 games; there may be a semifinal, third place and championship match remaining on the schedule but you tell that to a nation that just had its heart ripped out and stomped on. Brazil is the Kentucky basketball of soccer– a nation that’s been great enough in its past to have ridiculously high expectations (even when they’re not warranted). Some say it took a half-century (and 3 titles plus Pele being the best player in the world) for Brazil to get over its 1950 loss in the finals to Uruguay. The 21st century fan has a shorter memory, but this one will sting for some time.
About Extra Time— I wish penalty kicks weren’t the way to decide elimination matches after the 30 minutes of extra time. I know I’m not currently on the FIFA rules board and likely will not be in the near future. Can we end matches on the full field of 6,000 yards as opposed to a 48 yard triangle in front of the net? If you’re worried about players being too gassed after 120+ minutes… give teams the option to play whomever they want at the beginning of “extra time” with their three substitutions back for the next 90 minutes (keep the 15 minute periods if you like). Go to the “golden goal/sudden victory” tiebreaker as well and you give soccer’s highest level the ending it merits.