Washington Nationals Recap: Nats fall to O’s as playoff hopes continue to slip away
When the book closes on the 2015 season for the Washington Nationals, fans and analysts will attach several narratives to the team’s once promising but ultimately disappointing campaign. For some, they’ll be the team that couldn’t close down games in the second half. For others, they’ll be the team with the inconsistent starting rotation, endless injuries and questionable management.
But, in the end, an easy and all-too-simplified narrative will be that the 2015 season was one of missed opportunities for the Nationals—missed opportunities to win games, and missed opportunities to gain ground in the NL East. Wednesday night was yet another perfect example of this, as the Nationals lost to the Orioles, 4-3, and failed to take advantage of another loss by the first-place Mets.
Things looked bad from the beginning for the Nationals, as the Orioles took an early lead against starter Max Scherzer.
After Scherzer walked Chris Davis with two outs in the top of the first inning, the Nationals’ right-hander allowed a two-run homer to Steve Pierce to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead.
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Fortunately for Scherzer, the Nationals’ offense bailed him out for those early runs. Washington got one of the runs back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single off the bat of Yunel Escobar, cutting Baltimore’s lead to 2-1. The Nationals scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Wilson Ramos and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Anthony Rendon, giving Washington a 3-2 lead.
But things are never easy in the late innings for the Nationals, and the team once again failed to hold on to the lead and get it to closer Jonathan Papelbon. In the top of the seventh, Scherzer allowed yet another two-out, two-run homer. This time, it was to Manny Machado, and the Orioles slugger gave his team a 4-3 lead.
It was a rough ending to an otherwise solid night for Scherzer, who struck out 12 batters over 6 2/3 innings while allowing four runs on seven hits.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, the offense wasn’t able to do much of anything against the Orioles’ bullpen. The team had a few chances to tie the game, but ultimately the most exciting moment the team could muster in the late innings was when Papelbon was ejected after hitting Machado with a pitch in the ninth inning.
It was another disappointing loss for the Nationals, and with New York’s second straight loss to the lowly Braves, the Nationals have now wasted two golden opportunities to gain ground on New York. They’ll try again tomorrow, when they end their three-game series against Baltimore at 4:05 p.m. ET.
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