Washington Nationals Reaction: Costly errors are a recipe for long losing streaks
Michael Taylor‘s costly error in the ninth inning last night cost the Washington Nationals the game, and it’s exactly the type of miscue the team can’t afford right now.
The Washington Nationals haven’t been perfect this season, but they’ve done several things that have helped them stay atop the NL East for most of the season.
For starters, and perhaps most importantly, the team has been able to avoid long losing streaks — the kind of skids that can derail a team’s hot start and put them in a difficult position down the stretch.
Now, however, the Nationals are on their longest losing streak of the season. The team has lost five games in a row, including several games in which the Nationals led and should have won.
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Prior to their current streak, the Nats’ longest skid of the season was four games.
The most painful loss was undoubtedly last night’s loss to the Dodgers, when a costly error by Michael A. Taylor allowed Yasiel Puig to hit an inside the park, little league, walk-off home run. The result of the game alone might have surprised Nationals fans, but the way Taylor misplayed a single and somehow let it turn into a home run was infuriating, to say the least.
Of course, the loss wasn’t exactly devastating for the Nationals. The team’s stellar play over the last few weeks has given the Nationals a cushion that allows them to lose a few games without their playoff chances taking a major hit.
But losing streaks can change the course of a season, and the more games the team loses — especially games like last night’s, which they should have won — the more damaging the streak is to the team’s confidence.
Right now the Nationals, remarkably, are still in good shape. They lead the Mets by 3.5 games in the NL East, and the brilliance that their starting pitching and offense have shown at times this season leaves little doubt that the team is more than capable of getting back on track and winning the division.
Next: Washington Nationals: Taylor Error Pushes Skid To Five
But if the Nationals want to achieve their lofty goals in 2016, they can’t afford mistakes like the one Taylor made last night. Tough losses in June are just that: tough. But if they continue to happen over the course of the summer and fall, they become damaging. And ultimately, they could hurt or ruin the team’s chances of making the postseason.