Washington Nationals: Bats come out jet-lagged in brutal loss

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 25: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals, right, is removed from the game by manager manager Dave Martinez #4 in the second inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 25, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 25: Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals, right, is removed from the game by manager manager Dave Martinez #4 in the second inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 25, 2018 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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After a post-midnight finish on Sunday, the Washington Nationals clearly left their bats on the plane. Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays dominated them.

The Washington Nationals had a huge win on Sunday, but then came out flat on Monday. The Tampa Bay Rays sent Blake Snell to the mound, and he flat out dominated.

Two hits were all the Nats offense could manage on a night where the jet-lag likely played a part. Snell is a fringe Cy Young candidate in the American League, just to make it tougher.

The Rays left-hander even took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Anthony Rendon broke it up with a double. Which is only a very thin silver lining in the series opener.

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It was the seventh time the team has been shutout this season, equalling last year’s total with three months to go. It seemed like the team’s heads dropped after the second inning grand slam, and never recovered.

It looked as though the offense turned a corner on Sunday night, with the late clutch hitting. Now, they’re back to square one. Hopefully, a favorable matchup against Nathan Eovaldi will give them a chance to bounce back to normal ways.

Gio roughed up badly

Coming into this start, Gio Gonzalez was not in the finest of form. He had allowed 14 runs in his last 20.1 innings, and somehow it got worse.

He could not record an out in the second inning before Davey Martinez pulled him. On the night he allowed three hits, five walks, and six runs in just the one plus inning of work.

The high WHIP and lack of home runs finally seem to be correcting himself as the weather warms up. Gonzalez is going to have to make adjustments to get back on track, and it’s even more important with Stephen Strasburg injured.

Brandon Kintzler activated from DL

Before the game on Monday, Brandon Kintzler was activated from the disabled list. In a corresponding move, the Nats will temporarily carry four starters, as Jefry Rodriguez was optioned to Triple-A.

Kintzler will provide some much-needed relief to a bullpen that has now had to work 12 innings in two days. It will be interesting to see what role he comes back into, after the Kelvin Herrera deal.

He seemed to overtake Ryan Madson in the pecking order before forearm soreness sidelined him. With the nature of forearm injuries, look for Martinez to use him cautiously, to begin with, before making use of him in the seventh inning moving forward.

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The Washington Nationals now send Max Scherzer to the mound on Tuesday lunchtime. If they can salvage a split, then it’s a positive result given the way things fell for this team in the build-up.

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