2005 Washington Nationals season
The Washington Nationals' 2005 season was the first for the team formerly known as the Montreal Expos since moving to Washington, D. C. and 37th overall for the franchise. The team signed four key free agents during the off-season: Vinny Castilla, José Guillén, Cristian Guzmán and Esteban Loaiza. Although they recorded an 81-81 record, the Nationals nevertheless finished last for a second consecutive year although they were only nine games behind the NL East champion Atlanta Braves.
|2005 Washington Nationals|
|Major League affiliations|
|Owner(s)||Major League Baseball|
|General manager(s)||Jim Bowden|
WDCA (UPN 20)
WTTG (Fox 5)
(Mel Proctor, Ron Darling, Kenny Albert)
(Charlie Slowes, Dave Shea)
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On November 9, 2004, the Nationals traded Maicer Izturis and Juan Rivera to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for José Guillén. On November 24, 2004, the Nationals traded minor-leaguer Antonio Sucre to the Pittsburgh Pirates for J. J. Davis. On January 19, 2005, they signed Esteban Loaiza as a free agent. On February 7, 2005, they signed Melvin Nieves, also as a free agent. On February 13, 2005, the Nationals traded minor-leaguer Jerry Owens to the Chicago White Sox for Alex Escobar. On February 15, 2005, they traded Alejandro Machado to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later; the Red Sox sent minor-leaguer Carlos Torres to the Nationals on March 28, 2005, to complete the trade. Meanwhile, on March 22, 2005, the Nationals traded minor-leaguer A. J. Wideman to the Toronto Blue Jays for Tyrell Godwin and on March 24, 2005, they traded Seth Greisinger to the Atlanta Braves as part of a conditional deal.
Advertising and marketingEdit
The Nationals' marketing slogan for the season was "Let Yourself Go." Nationals Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Cope explained that the slogan told "people to come to the game, to let themselves come out here [to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium]. But then once you're here, have fun, let loose. We don't want it to feel like stuffy old D.C. -- and it doesn't."
Screech, the mascot of the Washington Nationals, made his debut near the beginning of the 2005 season. A bald eagle who wears the home cap and jersey of the team, he was "hatched" on April 17, 2005, at the "Kids Opening Day" promotion at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium during the third home game in Nationals history, a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A nine-year-old fourth-grade student in Washington, Glenda Gutierrez, designed the mascot and won a contest sponsored by the team, explaining that Screech was "strong and eats almost everything." The first, chubby version of Screech appeared during the team's first four seasons in Washington; just before the start of the 2009 season, the Nationals replaced him with a thin version who debuted in March 2009, explaining that Screech had "grown up" and become a "teenager."
Broadcast media difficultiesEdit
The Nationals' broadcasting deal for 2005 was put together at the last minute and led to difficulties for fans attempting to follow the team on radio or television. Its two flagship radio stations – FM-104.1 WWZZ in Waldorf, Maryland, and AM-1050 WFED in Silver Spring, Maryland – had weak signals and were not audible in many of Washington′s suburbs. On television, the Nationals′ network, the new Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), was carried on DirecTv, RCN Cable, and Verizon′s fiberoptic service and WTTG Channel 5 and WDCA Channel 20 broadcast 79 games, but the Washington area′s dominant cable television provider, Comcast, refused to carry MASN during the season because of an ongoing legal battle with MASN over broadcast rights to Baltimore Orioles games. The limitation of radio and television coverage forced may Nationals fans to rely on print media and in-person attendance at games to follow the team during 2005.
The Nationals had a terrific first half, as they had a 51-32 record by July 5 and were leading the Atlanta Braves by 4.5 games. However, the team struggled in its final 79 games, going 30-49 and scoring only 299 runs (3.78 per game). They were also shut out 7 times during that span. Nevertheless, the teams was able to finish the season at .500; this was only the fourth time in 10 years that the franchise had finished at or above .500.
- On April 4, 2005, Brad Wilkerson (after being the last player to ever wear a Montreal Expo jersey) had the honor of being the first batter for the Washington Nationals and he promptly responded with the first hit in the new team's history. Nevertheless, Kenny Lofton hit a three-run homer and Jon Lieber pitched 52⁄3 effective innings, leading the home team Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-4 victory over the new Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. (Lieber was credited with the win for the Phillies and would also score a win for Philadelphia in the last game of the 2005 Nationals season.) Outfielder Terrmel Sledge hit the Nats' first home run in the April 4 contest.
- Scorecard: April 4, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
|W: Lieber (1-0) L: Hernandez (0-1)|
|HRs: Terrmel Sledge, Kenny Lofton Attendance: 44,080.|
Length of game: 3:19. Umpires: HP: Darling, 1B: Poncino, 2B: Wegner, 3B: Nauert
- On April 6, 2005, the Washington Nationals recorded their first-ever regular season win by beating the Phillies, 7-3. The win came in their second game of the season and was highlighted by Wilkerson's hit for the cycle.
- On April 14, 2005, the Washington Nationals won their first regular season home game at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., by a score of 5–3 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. President George W. Bush kept up a tradition of sitting U.S. Presidents by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day in Washington, exactly 95 years after William Howard Taft started the tradition at Griffith Stadium in 1910. There were 45,596 fans in attendance, including former Senators players and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Liván Hernández threw eight shutout innings, and Vinny Castilla was denied the chance to hit for the cycle when Diamondback reliever Lance Cormier hit him with a pitch in the bottom of the eighth; Castilla needed only a single to complete the cycle. Chad Cordero recorded the save for Washington.
- On August 4, 2005, Brad Wilkerson became the first Washington Nationals player to ever hit a grand slam, against then Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher, Duaner Sánchez. The Nationals won the game 7–0, on a four-hit complete-game shutout by John Patterson.
- During his August–September callup, Ryan Zimmerman recorded 23 hits in 58 at bats. He thus became the first member of the Washington Nationals to complete the season with a batting average of at least .300 in at least 50 at bats.
- The Nationals led all National League teams in interleague play in 2005, recording 12 wins.
National League EastEdit
|New York Mets||83||79||0.512||7||48–33||35–46|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
2005 National League Records
Opening Day lineupEdit
- May 14, 2005: The Nationals traded Endy Chávez to the Philadelphia Phillies for Marlon Byrd.
- May 31, 2005: The Nationals released Melvin Nieves.
- June 10, 2005: The Nationals traded Tomo Ohka to the Milwaukee Brewers for Junior Spivey.
- July 13, 2005: The Nationals signed Mike Stanton as a free agent and traded J. J. Davis, Zach Day, and cash to the Colorado Rockies for Preston Wilson.
- July 20, 2005: The Nationals selected Kenny Kely off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
- August 6, 2005: The Nationals sent Steve Randolph to the San Francisco Giants as part of a conditional deal.
- August 30, 2005: The Nationals traded minor-leaguer Ben Cox to the San Francisco Giants for Deivi Cruz.
- September 29, 2005: The Nationals traded Mike Stanton to the Boston Red Sox for minor-leaguers Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta.
The 2005 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft took place on June 7 and 8. With their first pick – the fourth pick overall – the Nationals selected third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who would advance through the minor leagues quickly and join the Nationals in September. Other notable players the Nationals selected were outfielder Justin Maxwell (fourth round, 114th overall), pitcher Marco Estrada (sixth round, 174th overall), pitcher John Lannan (11th round, 324th overall), pitcher Craig Stammen (12th round, 354th overall), pitcher Ryan Buchter (33rd round, 984th overall), first baseman Tyler Moore (41st round, 1,222nd overall), and pitcher Scott Barnes (43rd round, 1,280th overall). Moore and Barnes did not sign with the team.
|2005 Washington Nationals|
The Nationals drew 2,731,993 fans at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 2005, placing them eighth in attendance for the season among the 16 National League teams.
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; R = Runs scored; H = Hits; 2B = Doubles; 3B = Triples; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in; AVG = Batting average; SB = Stolen bases
Complete offensive statistics are available here.
|OF||J. J. Davis||14||26||0||6||0||0||0||2||.231||1|
|P||Tony Armas, Jr.||19||32||1||4||0||0||0||1||.125||0|
|P||T. J. Tucker||13||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||–||0|
|P||C. J. Nitkowski||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||–||0|
Note: Pos = Position; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; G = Games pitched; GS = Games started; SV = Saves; IP = Innings pitched; R = Runs allowed; ER = Earned runs allowed; BB = Walks allowed; K = Strikeouts
Complete pitching statistics are available here.
|SP||Tony Armas, Jr.||7||7||4.97||19||19||0||101.1||57||56||54||59|
|T. J. Tucker||1||0||6.39||13||0||0||12.2||9||9||2||5|
|C. J. Nitkowski||0||0||8.10||7||0||0||3.1||3||3||2||2|
|25 (10 with Nationals)|
|90 (43 with Nationals)|
Awards and honorsEdit
Nationals among league leadersEdit
|Stat||Player||Total||NL Rank||MLB Rank|
|OBP||Nick Johnson||.408||6||8 (tie)|
|2B||Brad Wilkerson||42||7 (tie)||11 (tie)|
|3B||Brad Wilkerson||7||7 (tie)||12 (tie)|
|Stat||Player||Total||NL Rank||MLB Rank|
|W||Liván Hernández||15||9 (tie)||16 (tie)|
- Liván Hernández, SP
- The two games on August 31 were played as a single-admission doubleheader with attendance counted only for the two games combined.
- baseball-reference.com Trades between Washington Nationals & Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- baseball-reference.com Trades between Washington Nationals & Pittsburgh Pirates
- Esteban Loaiza Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Trades between Washington Nationals & Chicago White Sox
- Trades between Washington Nationals & Boston Red Sox
- baseball-reference.com Trades between Washington Nationals & Toronto Blue Jays
- Trades between Washington Nationals & Atlanta Braves
- Svrluga, Barry, "For Nats, What Counts Is Turnstiles," washingtonpost.com, May 2, 2005.
- Steinberg, Dan, "About Screech's Unveiling", washingtonpost.com, March 2, 2009.
- Anonymous, "Second season of uncertainty," washingtontimes.com, February 18, 2006
- Box Score of Game played on Monday, April 4, 2005 at Citizens Bank Park
- baseball-reference.com Trades between Washington Nationals & Milwaukee Brewers
- Mike Stanton Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- baseball-reference.com Trades between Washington Nationals & Colorado Rockies
- Kenny Kelly Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- baseball-reference.com Trades between Washington Nationals & San Francisco Giants
- baseball-reference.com 2005 Washington Nationals Picks in the MLB June Amateur Draft
- baseball-reference.com 2005 Washington Nationals
- Box Score of Game played on Wednesday, April 6, 2005 at Citizens Bank Park
- 2005 Washington Nationals Schedule by Baseball Almanac
- Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007