For years, the American League played the American League and the National played the National and the world seemed to function just fine. Then, interleague play was introduced and baseball got better. It got better because teams like the A’s and Giants, the Yankee’s and Mets played and the
Blue Jays Orioles and Nats play. There are a few teams without geographic rivals (Red Sox and Braves,) but that misses the point; baseball is better with more interesting games.
That brings us to the Tigers / Nats match up this week. These two team, which are picked by many to meet in the World Series, are on the every six year rotation. Every six years the Tigers come to Washington. To put that into perspective, the Tigers roster has almost entirely flipped over in six years. Justin Verlander, is the only significant players still on the team that last visited DC at RFK. Ivan Rodriguez was there, then here and retired since then.
Wednesday and Thursday we have a chance to watch Miguel Cabrera and Bryce Harper play on the same field at the same time in a non all-star game setting. We have the current Triple Crown winner and his potential heir apparent. The point wasn’t missed on the Detroit television broadcast. The announcers on Fox Sport Detroit linked the two players continually throughout Wednesday night, even throwing up a graphic of both players stats (virtually identical) through their first 162 games. You could tell the announcers were excited to finally see Harper in action.
Harper was the player Detroit was looking forward to seeing, but the best part of the Detroit broadcast was the shock and awe from them of Jordan Zimmermann. Nats fans know what a good pitcher he is, but his word of his talent apparently had not reached the AL Central. Some great pull quotes from the night:
After striking out Avila on a wicked breaking ball in the sixth, “This dude is tough”
During the seventh inning Rod Allen yelled out, “”He just seems to be getting stronger” as Zimmermann ripped off a 96 mile per hour fastball.
The final interesting tidbit from Detroit TV is how the Tiger players, in taped segments, kept saying that this was just another game and series. This of course is like a player saying it is not about the money, you know it is about the money. You know this matchup is a good one. Interleague play lets two teams that rarely cross paths put on a show.
- Interleague intrigue here all the time (timesleader.com)
- Blog Post: MLB Wednesday Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals Start Time, Odds (pregame.com)
- Interleague matchup power rankings (ohbuckhecrushedit.wordpress.com)