Washington Nationals: D-Backs pen stymies bats

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg /

The Washington Nationals lose another one-run game because they cannot hit with runners in scoring position. A flaw that can kill seasons.

These are the nights that will end the Washington Nationals season.

Washington drops a 5-4 decision to the Arizona Diamondbacks by stranding 10 runners and batting 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

Coming into Friday, the Nats were hitting .232 in RISP situations. As a team, they were hitting .237. That is the National League average.

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What is not average is the production from Ryan Zimmerman with runners on base. He gets credit for stranding six. If he drives in a run, the game is tied. Continuing to bat him fourth digs Washington further down the playoff hole. At 11-15, they sit a full six games out of first place and uninterested in any game not pitched by Max Scherzer.

On a night where Arizona starter Zack Godfrey allowed 13 base runners over five innings, the Nats scored four. The D-backs bullpen needed 12 outs to win and got them. Four pitchers combined for a single hit and seven strikeouts to shut Washington down.

When you are chasing three other teams for first, along with casting your lot in a chase for a Wild Card spot, losing one-run games like this is fatal for your hopes. The Nats are now 1-7 in one-run games and 9-15 in April. Not great for a team carrying a payroll of $182.5 million and already over the competitive balance tax.


This was not a good night for Stephen Strasburg.

The Nats bounced back twice after losing the lead and Strasburg failed to keep Arizona off the scoreboard the next inning. As he did last Saturday in Los Angeles, he failed to concentrate and created more stress for a team desperate to relieve some.

Yes, he struck out seven and had a fastball the radar gun marked at 97. But, of the eight Arizona runners who reached, he allowed five to score. Starting with Sammy Solis, the bullpen was perfect for their eight outs. A.J. Pollock’s triple and solo homer came off Strasburg.

After your team claws back to give you a lead, you cannot cough it right back. With his loss tonight, Strasburg falls to 2-3 with a 3.63 ERA. The numbers do not lie. They are accurate in describing his year.

If Washington is to make a charge, Strasburg must deliver.

Next: Zim and Adams should platoon

Michael Taylor tweaked his groin in Wednesday’s win in San Francisco. Although he pinch-hit Friday, he grimaced running to first. Stay tuned.