Washington Nationals Reaction: Bad Offense, Defensive Miscues Continue to Cause Problems


The Washington Nationals ten game road trip got off to an inauspicious start as the Nationals were swept on Sunday by the Miami Marlins. It ran the Nationals losing streak to five and dropped their record for the season down to 7-12.

Sunday’s game was almost indistinguishable from the first two in the series for the Nationals. For the series, the Nats never managed to score more than two runs in a game, including Saturday’s game where they were shutout. Sunday, though, was still the worst of the trio for the Nationals offensively. Over nine innings, they managed only four hits and three walks. The fact that they went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranded only five is really a testament to how few baserunners they managed to accumulate.

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Sunday’s game is just another in the latest saga of the Nationals offense. In spite of managing a week of solid play and finally stringing together high-scoring games as recently as last week, the Nationals have now reverted to their early season form.

The scariest part of this, though, is the lineup. Early in the year, there was at least the fact that Denard Span, Jayson Werth, and Anthony Rendon were missing. In Sunday’s lineup, only Rendon was not present.

As far as starting pitching was concerned, the Nationals got what would amount to an average Gio Gonzalez start. Over the five innings he pitched, Gonzalez allowed six runs on ten hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. He struggled to get ahead of hitters, and at times just didn’t locate the pitches the way that he wanted to, and Miami’s lineup, which is incredibly unforgiving, made him pay. Dee Gordon went 4-for-5 and Giancarlo Stanton crushed the ball all over the park.

Of course, it’s hard to lay all of the blame at the feet of Gonzalez. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Stanton got over-aggressive on the base paths on an infield single. Ryan Zimmerman threw to Wilson Ramos, who looked to have Stanton dead to rights. Instead, thanks to Escobar creeping up the line and Ramos’ indecision, Stanton managed to get back to third. The next hitter, Adeiny Hechavarria,  made the Nats pay with a three run triple. It was just another example of the Nationals shooting themselves in the foot and costing themselves big with defensive blunders.

All-in-all, Sunday was just another microcosm of what’s gone wrong with the Nationals season so far. Bad fielding and impotent offense have haunted this team far too often in 2015. It’s been continually pointed out that it’s a long season, but it’s not encouraging that the same narrative has followed the team for two of the three weeks so far.

There’s still time to right the ship, but with every game the Nats let slip through their hands, the window of opportunity grows ever smaller.

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