Frank Robinson has already accomplished more in baseball than most people can dream of. He tries to put another feather in his cap Wednesday night.
The 70-year-old Robinson enjoyed one of the all-time great playing careers, hitting 586 home runs over a 21-year career in which he made 12 All-Star teams.
He also is the only player ever to be named MVP in both leagues, winning it in 1961 with Cincinnati and 1966 with Baltimore.
With his next win, Robinson will become the 53rd manager with 1,000 career wins—and the only one who was also a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Robinson earned win No. 999 in the series opener Tuesday night. Ryan Church hit a grand slam and Ryan Zimmerman drove in three runs on a pair of doubles as the Nationals (5-9) routed the Phillies 10-3.
It was Washington’s third straight win after opening the season 2-9.
“Some good things are starting to happen,” Robinson said.
Zimmerman appears to be heating up after a rough start to the season. His two doubles were his first extra-base hits since a double on opening day.
Seven of the rookie third baseman’s nine RBIs on the season have come in the last five games.
“It’s really a matter of approach, getting my pitch and laying off the tough ones,” Zimmerman said.
Livan Hernandez takes the hill for Washington looking to change his early-season fortunes. The right-hander, who has won at least 11 games each of the last six seasons, has a 1-2 record with a lofty 7.00 ERA through three starts.
Hernandez had his worst outing Thursday against the New York Mets, allowing eight runs on 11 hits—including a career-high four homers—in six innings to take the loss.
Hernandez has pitched well in his career versus Philadelphia, going 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA in 21 career starts.
While Hernandez looks to put his last start behind him, Phillies starter Gavin Floyd looks to build on his. After lasting just 2 2-3 innings to lose his April 7 season debut to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 23-year-old right-hander won at Atlanta on Thursday, yielding three runs on five hits in six quality innings.
Floyd credited his frame of mind for the improvement.
“It feels better to be able to let loose and let it go,” said Floyd, who is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in his only career start against Washington. “That’s what I focused on. … The whole thinking process of being perfect or whatever just went out the window.”
Relief pitching could be a bigger concern for the Phillies (5-8) than the rotation right now. The Philadelphia bullpen allowed six runs in two innings as Tuesday’s game got out of hand late, the fourth time in five contests Phillies’ relievers had given up at least three runs.
“In order for us to win, our bullpen has to get better,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
Lackluster offense also continues to plague the Phillies at home. Philadelphia has scored just 24 runs to go 1-6 in seven games at Citizens Bank Park, where the team went 46-35 and averaged 5.3 runs per game in 2005.