Often overlooked lefthander Ross Detwiler pitched an absolute gem of a game last night to help the Washington Nationals top the Chicago Cubs 2-1. The 26-year-old allowed just four hits and no runs in seven innings of work, doing his best to keep the opposing Cubbies off balance while forcing 10 ground ball outs.
He earned his ninth win of the year with the Nats' Curly W, and the team improved to 30 games over .500. The club still has the best record in baseball, and is only seven runs behind the Texas Rangers for having the best overall run differential. Most importantly, however, Detwiler’s great start ensured something very important, it helped clinch the Nationals’ first-ever winning season in Washington.
Let that sink in for a moment. While this season has been charmed, and it’s been a hell of a ride that isn’t even close to over, let’s not overlook the huge step the team took last night. It was not long ago at all that the Nationals were the laughing stock of baseball. Sure ,Washington was essentially an expansion team, born out of a club that had been gutted by Major League Baseball, but for a team that was built from nothing, from 2006-2010 the team’s results were poor even for those standards. It was hard to be a baseball fan in Washington, and for those of us who were, it was even harder to convince others around us why.
In the grand scheme of this amazing season, clinching a winning record is certainly a baby step, but in the eight year history of this ball club, it is a momentous occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, baseball has grown up in D.C., and it does look like it is here to stay.