Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: All Win Streaks Come To An End

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Jul 1, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Matt Wisler (37) hits an RBI single in the fourth inning of their game against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Nats Can’t Take Advantage Of Wisler’s Lack Of Command

As I mentioned earlier, the Nationals were able to get to 22-year-old Matt Wisler the first time they saw him last Thursday. In that outing, Wisler went four innings, gave up six runs (four earned runs) on nine hits, and did not walk or strikeout a batter. Through his first two starts, the 22-year-old did not walk a single hitter.

Last night, Wisler’s command was not sharp. He has five walks in 5.1 innings. However, the Nationals were not able to take advantage of those opportunities that they had. Overall, the Nats went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven players on base.

One of the main problems last night was hitting into double plays in big situations. The first double play came in the third inning. Denard Span had a one out walk and Danny Espinosa had the only hit against Wisler, a base hit to right, which went off the glove of Jace Peterson. The Nats could have scored first and sent another message like they did when they scored four in the first inning on Tuesday. However, Yunel Escobar grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end that scoring chance.

Three innings later, the Nats were down 4-0, but still had a good scoring opportunity. Espinosa started it off wth a walk. Two batters later, against new pitcher Luis Avilan, Bryce Harper hit a single to right to put runners on the corner. However, Wilson Ramos, who has been in a slump of late, grounded into another 6-4-3 double play to end that rally.

It wasn’t a surprise that Wisler was pulled during the sixth inning after Yunel Escobar nearly hit a two-run homer, which was caught at the warning track in center. The Braves’ pitcher had thrown 84 pitches and his season high in his first two outings was 88. That being said, the Braves bullpen deserves some credit for shutting down the Nationals over the final 3.2 innings. The combination of Avilan, Nick Masset, Jim Johnson, and Jason Grilli gave up one run (Span single against Masset in the seventh) on three hits and struck out four.

Next: Rivero Growing Confidence In The Bullpen