Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Nats Strand 13 In Loss To Reds

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May 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) throws his helmet after striking out in the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals Miss Chances vs. Reds Bullpen

After Anthony DeSclafani left the game, it was up to the Reds bullpen to get the final nine outs of the game. Coming into the night, Cincinnati had the worst bullpen ERA of any team in the National League this season. That being said, no one expected the drama that would occur in the seventh inning of a close game.

Jumbo Diaz began the seventh inning by giving up a leadoff single to Denard Span. He would rebound by striking out Ian Desmond and Yunel Escobar. With Bryce Harper coming to bat, Price went to the lefty Tony Cingrani to face him. On the first pitch, Cingrani drilled Harper with a 93 mile per hour fastball right in the back.

To me, this wasn’t intentional because it wouldn’t be smart to put the tying run on base, even though Harper has been nearly unstoppable this month at the plate. That being said, first baseman Joey Votto had a few choice words for Harper, who was not too pleased with getting drilled in the back. Could this incident be brought up again in the next two days? It might. Check out what Cingrani told the media after the game:

Harper would follow up that at-bat in the top of the ninth with a base hit off closer Aroldis Chapman on a 102 mile per hour fastball. It will be interesting to see how Harper responds the next couple of days at the plate after being called out by Cingrani.

The best chance the Nationals had in this game came in the eighth innings. Trailing 5-2, the Nats were able to load the bases thanks to CIngrani walking Danny Espinosa, Dan Uggla, and Denard Span during that at-bat. Before going to Chapman for the ninth, Price went to J.J. Hoover to face Ian Desmond.

Coming into the at-bat, Desmond was 2-for-7 against Hoover with a home run and the Nationals shortstop did have an infield single in the fifth inning with the bases loaded to score the first run.

In this at-bat with Hoover, the Reds right-hander challenged him with fastballs in the heart of the zone and Desmond missed them all. It looked as though he was trying for the grand slam rather than putting it in play and cutting into the deficit.

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