Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Red Sox Have Home Field Advantage....in D.C.

The Washington Nationals set a single game attendance record at Nationals Park with 41,517 fans passing through the turnstiles.

Unfortunately for the Nationals, most of those fans were cheering for the Boston Red Sox.

Going into tonight's game, average attendance this season at Nationals Park is 21,384.

Red Sox fans nearly doubled attendance tonight. Although by the sound of the crowd it felt like it was 90% Red Sox fans.

Then again the Nationals didn't have much to cheer about as the Red Sox won 11-3.

To be fair, the game was tied 3-3 in the 7th. The Nationals starter John Lannan pitched six and a third innings giving up three runs while scattering nine hits. He struck out three and walked two. Not Hall of Fame stuff but good enough to keep you in the game.

The Nationals bullpen, on the other hand, gave up eight runs (seven of them earned) on eight hits with five walks over two and two thirds innings. And the Nats had some veteran pitchers on hand like ex-Red Sox pitcher Julian Tavarez, Ron Villone and Kip Wells. If Manny Acta had kept Lannan to finish the 7th inning perhaps the game would have been closer. The Nats might have still lost but it would not have been so embarrassing.

The Nationals had the bases loaded in the 9th but Nick Johnson hit into a game ending double play. When I heard the cheers I thought the Standells' "Dirty Water" would play over the PA system as it does after every Red Sox win at Fenway. After all, the "home team" did have the advantage.

There will be similarly large crowds of Red Sox fans in Washington tomorrow night and especially Thursday when future Hall of Famer John Smoltz makes his long awaited Red Sox debut.

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