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Cubs historical sleuthing: Nationals Park edition

Here’s one from a reader, from a Cubs road game.

This one was sent to me by BCB reader PACubsfan1. A reminder! If you’ve got old Cubs or Wrigley photos you’d like me to sleuth, send ‘em over (to the email address on my profile here).

This is obviously Nationals Park — the big “W” in the photo is the giveaway.

But the Cubs uniform numbers aren’t really readable. The only one I can tell for sure is the number 1, worn by the third base coach. That’s Gary Jones, who was the Cubs’ 3B coach from 2014-17.

That narrows it down some. But other than seeing a righthanded batter with a two-digit number on his uniform, and the Cubs having the bases loaded, this could be any time during that span.

Let’s narrow it down a bit. It’s obviously a day game. The Cubs played seven day games in Washington in those years, so that’s not much of a help.

Here’s what nailed it down for me. The name BLEVINS is shown on one of the Nats Park ribbon boards. Blevins is warming up in the bullpen.

Jerry Blevins spent just one year in Washington, 2014, and pitched in two day games in that series. He’s shown with a 5.04 ERA, which means this is after the first game of that series, which Blevins finished with that ERA.

What we are looking at here is the top of the seventh inning Sunday, July 6, 2014. The Cubs are trailing 1-0, and have loaded the bases on a single by Chris Coghlan, a walk drawn by Justin Ruggiano and a single by Anthony Rizzo. There’s one out, and Starlin Castro is batting, facing Drew Storen. That matches the double-digit uniform number (Castro wore 13).

The result of this at-bat was a sacrifice fly by Castro, tying the game 1-1. Blevins then entered and struck out Luis Valbuena to end the inning.

Unfortunately, Pedro Strop allowed a Nats run in the bottom of the eighth and the Cubs lost 2-1. The Cubs were in last place in the N.L. Central at 38-48 after this loss, 12½ games out of first place.

Just a little slice of recent Cubs history. Thanks for sending the pic along!