Remembering the Nationals’ last 10-game winning streak

August 22, 2014

Frank Robinson in his final game.

Ten-game winning streaks are rare. Other than the wild ride the Nationals are experiencing now, it has happened only one other time in the team’s brief history. From June 2 to 12, 2005, the Nationals’ first season in Washington in which little was expected, they rattled off 10 straight wins.

For old time’s sake, here’s what Manager Frank Robinson’s lineup looked like on June 12, the day they defeated the Seattle Mariners, 3-2, for the 10th straight victory:

1. Brad Wilkerson, CF

2. Ryan Church, LF

3. Jose Guillen, RF

4. Nick Johnson, 1B

5. Vinny Castilla, 3B

6. Junior Spivey, 2B

7. Brian Schneider, C

8. Jamey Carroll, SS

9. Tony Armas, SP

The entire box score is filled with memories and old names that make you laugh now. Armas threw 107 pitches over five scoreless innings. Gary Majewski came on in relief and gave up two runs over 1 2/3 innings. Raul Ibanez hit an RBI double in the seventh inning. But in the sixth? Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs double to center to drive in the Mariners’ first run and then got picked off at second two plays later. Dobbs had a brief stint with the Nationals this season and is at Class AAA Syracuse now.

The Nationals led 2-0 thanks to a two-run shot by Spivey and RBI single by Carroll off Mariners starter Ryan Franklin. Carroll, now 40, nearly made the Nationals roster in spring training and hasn’t played since. Luis Ayala, who also spent spring training with the Nationals this year, relieved Majewski and fired 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Chad Cordero notched his 19th save with a spotless ninth. Cristian Guzman, who was traded five years later for then-minor leaguer Tanner Roark, replaced Carroll at shortstop in the ninth.

Know who started at shortstop on the other side? A 23-year-old Michael Morse and he went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts that game. Morse makes his first trip to Washington on Friday night since he was traded before the 2013 season. During that stretch, the Nationals also faced Adam LaRoche, who started at first base for the Atlanta Braves on June 2, 2005, and Matt Thornton, who fired two-thirds of an inning on June 10 for Seattle.

It’s a fun exercise to think back at how much has changed in 10 seasons. During that 2005 10-game winning streak, the Nationals’ rotation was Esteban Loaiza, Livan Hernandez, Tomo Ohka, John Patterson, Sun-Woo Kim and Armas. Carlos Baerga played second base during much of the 10-game run. Marlon Byrd, now with the Phillies, played mostly left field and some center. It all looks so different now.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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James Wagner · August 22, 2014