Nationals 4, Cubs 2: Beneath The Sturgeon Moon

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The game was long, dull and, despite the score, mostly one-sided. So let me tell you some lunar facts.

Not long after the first pitch of the Cubs' 4-2 loss to the Nationals Tuesday night, a ghostly-looking orange-tinged full moon began to rise over the right-field bleachers, eventually brightening the sky above Wrigley Field.

Seriously, that was the most interesting thing about this dully played defeat. This moon is called a "blue moon" because:

Today's full moon qualifies as a Blue Moon because it's the third full moon in a season with four (most seasons have only three). Historically, there have been two different definitions of a Blue Moon.

Technically, a Blue Moon is the third full moon in a four-full-moon season. However, a 1946 article in "Sky & Telescope" magazine mistakenly defined it as the second full moon in a single month (since most months have only one full moon), and the definition stuck. Because August will have just this one full moon, it wouldn't meet the mistaken, though commonly used, definition, though it does qualify as a technical Blue Moon.

It's also known as the Sturgeon Moon, so named by Native American tribes:

This large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like Lake Champlain is most readily caught at this time. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon, because when the moon rises it looks reddish through a sultry haze. It was also known as the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

Would you rather I talked about Starlin Castro's 0-for-4 in which he had a couple of really bad at-bats? Or Anthony Rizzo's 0-for-4, ditto?

The Cubs' two runs scored on solo home runs by Brian Bogusevic (his first as a Cub) and Donnie Murphy. That was Murphy's seventh in 48 at-bats and it's a career high for him. This makes almost no sense; if Murphy didn't play another game this year, his 2013 season would be just the 15th in major-league history with at least 48 at-bats and an OPS of 1.250 or higher. Check out the others:

Player OPS AB Year Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Barry Bonds 1.422 373 2004 SFG NL 147 617 129 135 27 3 45 101 232 41 .362 .609 .812
Ted Williams 1.410 91 1953 BOS AL 37 110 17 37 6 0 13 34 19 10 .407 .509 .901
Barry Bonds 1.381 403 2002 SFG NL 143 612 117 149 31 2 46 110 198 47 .370 .582 .799
Barry Bonds 1.379 476 2001 SFG NL 153 664 129 156 32 2 73 137 177 93 .328 .515 .863
Babe Ruth 1.379 458 1920 NYY AL 142 616 158 172 36 9 54 137 150 80 .376 .532 .847
Babe Ruth 1.359 540 1921 NYY AL 152 693 177 204 44 16 59 171 145 81 .378 .512 .846
Shane Spencer 1.321 67 1998 NYY AL 27 73 18 25 6 0 10 27 5 12 .373 .411 .910
Babe Ruth 1.309 522 1923 NYY AL 152 697 151 205 45 13 41 131 170 93 .393 .545 .764
Ted Williams 1.287 456 1941 BOS AL 143 606 135 185 33 3 37 120 147 27 .406 .553 .735
Barry Bonds 1.278 390 2003 SFG NL 130 550 111 133 22 1 45 90 148 58 .341 .529 .749
Babe Ruth 1.258 540 1927 NYY AL 151 691 158 192 29 8 60 164 137 89 .356 .486 .772
Ted Williams 1.257 420 1957 BOS AL 132 547 96 163 28 1 38 87 119 43 .388 .526 .731
Babe Ruth 1.253 495 1926 NYY AL 152 652 139 184 30 5 47 153 144 76 .372 .516 .737
Babe Ruth 1.252 529 1924 NYY AL 153 681 143 200 39 7 46 121 142 81 .378 .513 .739
Donnie Murphy 1.250 48 2013 CHC NL 14 53 9 16 4 0 7 12 3 12 .333 .396 .854
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/21/2013.

Besides Shane Spencer, which of those does not belong?

Obviously, Murphy isn't going to keep this up, nor is he going to be any significant part of this team going forward. I suppose he's put himself in the conversation to be a bench player in 2014; he can play third base, second base and shortstop and can hit... well, at least better than Cody Ransom.

Murphy's home run would have been more useful if James Russell and Kevin Gregg hadn't stunk out the top of the ninth by allowing two runs and putting the game essentially out of reach. Once again, the Cubs failed to hit with RISP -- 0-for-8. They left six men on base and the Nats left 12, but Washington was 4-for-14 with RISP and that was enough for them to win.

Otherwise, as I said, that moon was the most interesting thing about this game, which dragged on for exactly one hour longer than Monday's swift affair. Chris Rusin pitched reasonably well, but was lifted one out short of a quality start, for whatever that's worth. Relievers Blake Parker and Pedro Strop did their part to keep the game close until the dreadful ninth.

Enjoy the Sturgeon Moon, then. Perhaps the baseball tonight will be better-played.

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