Washington Nationals way too flat in another loss

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: Ryan Zimmerman
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: Ryan Zimmerman /

Another Washington Nationals loss sinks them to six games behind the New York Mets. It is early, but not for long. The Nats must find a pulse.

Although it is April, the Washington Nationals look like a team headed nowhere fast.

After Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies, the Nats fall to 6-8 and have dropped eight of their last 10. Meanwhile, the New York Mets continue to roll. Washington is six back in the National League East.

Yes, it is early. But, things can get away from teams quickly. Washington, as a team, came into the game hitting .233. Unless Max Scherzer has Bob Gibson circa 1968 joining him and Stephen Strasburg on the hill, those numbers get you nowhere.

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If there is an October of meaningful baseball ahead, the Nats must do something they are not good at. They must play well under pressure. Another flat week and we will spend the summer talking about Wild Card chances.

As it is, they must pass the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies to get to New York. Things get harder when they are out of your control. The danger is there the Nats will not control their own destiny. Bad things happen then.

Yes, Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy are missed. Still, there is no sustained attack on offense once you get past Bryce Harper. Howie Kendrick and Pedro Severino reach base and stay there.

You cannot blame the pitching. Tanner Roark lowered his ERA to 3.50 going six innings. He scattered four base runners. Two scored. One unearned.

Brandon Kintzler pitched his best game of the year, a 14-pitch seventh with two strikeouts. Outside the fifth starter, the rest of the rotation has done the job. This is not a pitching problem.

You can quibble with some decisions rookie manager Dave Martinez makes. Ryan Zimmerman hitting fourth is baffling, but he had a single early. Martinez is not leaving pitchers to wither on the mound and makes good pinch-hitting and lineup changes.

Nope, it comes down to a team playing not to lose instead of trying to win. Despite camels and trust circles this spring, Washington cannot get out from under the weight of their own expectations and play good baseball. It helps to have fans in the park cheering, but the Nats must give them a reason.

There is no easy solution outside stringing hits together and scoring runs. They designated for assignment two players already and might a third. Washington cannot wait until they are fully healthy to win.

Next: DoDCast: Nats prep for Rox

By then, it will be too late.