Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Nationals may not have gained any ground on the New York Mets on Thursday night, after the Mets staged a comeback against the pathetic Phillies and collected a 13-inning win, but they at least didn’t cede any more ground. They managed to bounce back from a tough loss on Wednesday and took care of their own business, which is really the only part of the equation that’s in their hands.
While the Nationals did win, allowing Jonathan Papelbon to collect a save in the process, the game was far from being a runaway victory. The offense continued to languish through the early half of the game, coming to life just barely in the fifth and adding a couple of insurance runs in the sixth and seventh.
The biggest reason that the Nationals managed to stay in the game until the bats finally stirred was standing on the mound and wearing number 41.
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Joe Ross, the rookie sensation, continued to impress, throwing six strong innings of one-run, one-hit ball before giving way to the bullpen. If it hadn’t been for Ross, the game might have been out of hand before the offense woke up. Instead, the Nats managed to walk away victorious from a fairly low-scoring affair.
Yet, like with most Nationals wins of late, this one came at a cost. Once again, the injury bug took a bite out of the Nationals. This time it was Yunel Escobar and Michael Taylor, who left the game in the fifth and seventh innings respectively. While they aren’t expected to miss any major time, the team got worse news regarding one of its players who had just returned from the disabled list.
Denard Span, it was announced after the game, would be heading back to the disabled list after suffering another setback. After just two games back in the lineup, it appears that Span’s season is done, and perhaps even his time in Washington. It’s another injury bug casualty, and this one looks to be serious.
So, while the Nationals walked away with a win, there was still some bad news, and we’ll take a look at both.