Nationals Reaction: Defense Miscues Lead To More Work For Bullpen
The Washington Nationals went 4-3 this week, but their sloppy errors in the field led to an overtaxed bullpen
While the Washington Nationals were able to win the series in Atlanta and went 4-3 against the Braves and Rockies, the Nats had difficulty in one area of the game they have excelled at all season. That area would be their defense.
During the four games in Atlanta, the team that is now second in the National League in fewest errors made nine, including five in the series finale yesterday. Those five errors were the most the Nationals have made in a game in five years. This was tweeted by William Ladson of MLB.com during yesterday’s game:
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When looking back at this weekend’s series, the moment that stands out to me occurred in Saturday’s game. The offense was the main story with their eight-run fourth inning, but a smaller headline was the defensive mistakes.Wilmer Difo‘s error in the eighth and a botched double play by Daniel Murphy in the ninth led to more pitches for the bullpen.
With Shawn Kelley and closer Mark Melancon having to be used Saturday when the team had a six run lead at one point, those pitchers couldn’t get the rest they needed. Kelley had to pitch back-to-back days yesterday and ended up giving up the walk-off home run to Jace Peterson.
Against a team like the Braves, you can’t be giving them free outs and allow them to stay in the game because it will eventually come back to bite you. For three days, the Nats got away with their mistakes, but it came back to bite yesterday. Here is what Baker had to say after the loss:
As for the bullpen, it was a rough week to say the least. Whether it was because rain delays or starters not going deep into games, the ‘pen ended up being used a lot. This week, the bullpen logged 27.2 innings (starters threw 34). Blake Treinen made five appearances, including two strong innings yesterday after the rain delay.
The Nationals had some bad luck this week, whether it was the rain delays in Tuesday and yesterday’s games or pitchers such as Stephen Strasburg only going 1.2 innings on Wednesday. However, those sloppy mistakes that the Nats don’t usually make ended up taking their toll.
Next: Recap: Sloppy Defense Leads To Loss In Atlanta
You have to wonder whether or not the Nationals are going to make a move to help out this bullpen. Yesterday, Oliver Perez was out because of back tightness and this team does need more rested arms in the ‘pen. Baker gave his comments about the state of the bullpen after yesterday’s loss:
Tonight, the Washington Nationals will begin their four game series against the Orioles with Strasburg on the mound. With the lack of days off going forward, the Nats need Strasburg to have an ace level performance. Ideally, they would want a complete game or for Strasburg to hand the ball to Melancon in the ninth with a chance at a save. This would give the bullpen a much needed breather.