The stage was set. Frank Robinson was in the house to throw out the first pitch. The weather was perfect. Playoff baseball had returned to the city of Washington, D.C.! It was going to turn out great.
So much for that…
The Nationals dropped Game 3 of the NLDS to the Cardinals yesterday, losing by a score of 8-0 and now sitting on the brink of elimination. The Nats will now have to win two straight if they want to advance to the NLCS against the Giants.
Oct 10, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma (38) is congratulated by third base coach Jose Oquendo (11) after hitting a three run home run against the Washington Nationals during the second inning of game three of the 2012 NLDS at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
Edwin Jackson got the start for Washington, but would give up four early runs over five innings of work. Though Jackson did a great job of keeping the ball in the strike zone, that strength proved to be his greatest weakness as he gave up eight hits and a home run. He finished the day with four strikeouts and was tagged with the loss.
Though the pitching struggled, the offense was not any better.
The Nationals got just six hits out of their starting lineup, including two from Ryan Zimmerman and three from Ian Desmond. The lone single to Jayson Werth and a pinch-hit single by Steve Lombardozzi rounded out the offense that also drew three collective walks (two to Werth). However, the lack of offense certainly wasn’t due to lack of opportunities, especially to Michael Morse.
Morse was 0-4 in the game with a strikeout, and was responsible for a quarter (5) of the Nationals 20 stranded runners in the contest. Morse left two runners on in the bottom of the first, and also left the bases loaded in the fourth. Other notable disappointing performances included that of Bryce Harper (0-5), Adam LaRoche (0-3), Danny Espinosa (0-3, 2 K’s) and Kurt Suzuki (0-4, 1 strikeout).
The Nationals were just outmatched in every aspect of the game tonight, and will have to return to form if they are to stay alive tomorrow afternoon.
Champ of the Game: Ian Desmond collected three hits in the game and put the ball in play in every at-bat. Desmond collected as many hits as the rest of the starting lineup combined.
Chump of the Game: Everyone takes home the hardware tonight, with the exception of Zimmerman, Desmond, Werth and Storen. Yikes.
Unsung Hero: Ryan Zimmerman had a multi-hit game, which will hopefully rub off on the rest of the lineup tomorrow.
Next Game: The Nationals look to fight off elimination tomorrow and live to see another day as Ross Detwiler (0-0, 0.00 ERA) takes on Kyle Lohse (1-0, 3.18 ERA). Though a quality pitcher, Lohse has been the most vulnerable of the Cardinals pitchers after he gave up two runs over 5.2 innings in the Wild Card game against the Braves last Friday night.