The Washington Nationals watched one slip right out of their hands as the Cleveland Indians rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to beat them 7-6 Tuesday evening. What were the biggest takeaways from the concerning defeat?
Entering play on Tuesday, the Nationals (58-42) were 4-5 since the All-Star Break. After taking two of three from the Pirates to kick off the second half, Washington won only one game apiece against the Dodgers and Padres. Things don’t get much easier from here, as the Nats will only face one opponent with a record under .500 in their next 13 games.
Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.44 ERA) struggled to get into a groove with catcher Wilson Ramos early, crossing up his backstop on several pitches. This led to two first inning runs for the Indians (57-41), including one run scored on a passed ball that went between Ramos’s legs. Gio settled in after that however, setting down ten straight hitters at one point.
Prior to the game, Dusty Baker finally caved to the media’s clamor for a shake-up in the lineup. Trea Turner made his center field debut and hit leadoff, Bryce Harper was moved up to the No. 2 spot, and Ben Revere shifted down to ninth in the order. Turner impressed both at the plate and in the field, manufacturing a run in the first inning with his speed and making a tough catch at the wall. Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos each left the yard, helping an offense show some signs of life that it had lacked during their last homestand.
All was well for the Nats until the game was turned over to the bullpen. Blake Treinen allowed an inherited runner from Gonzalez to score in the seventh, although he did force a double play to end the inning. However, Felipe Rivero gave up a run as well in the eighth, setting up Cleveland’s ninth inning comeback off Jonathan Papelbon. They scored three runs without Papelbon even recording an out, ballooning the Nats closer’s ERA to 4.18.
What were the biggest takeaways from Tuesday night’s action?
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