Washington Nationals keep squandering key opportunities
By Blake Finney
The Washington Nationals lost a brutal one to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday. A 13 inning affair, in which the Nats squandered numerous chances to win.
The Washington Nationals continue to underperform and lost a disappointing one on Sunday afternoon. The Philadelphia Phillies walked them off in the 13th inning, but the Nats wasted several chances.
They scored three runs by the fifth inning, but then nothing for the last eight. With runners in scoring position they could only go 1 for 9, the one hit coming from Adam Eaton.
The big moments were Daniel Murphy grounding out in the eighth and Bryce Harper in the tenth. Ordinarily, you’d think these two players, who were the Nats two best last season, would be able to get the job done.
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The Nats sit eighth in the National League, and 16th in MLB in RBI with runners in scoring position. And are also middle of the pack in batting average too, so it’s something that has a lot of room for improvement.
They are 22nd in MLB for BABIP with runners in scoring position at .283, so it could see some correction. But at some point, the players need to be held accountable for their inability to produce in these situations.
Gio starts well, struggles in fifth
After arguably the worst outing of his career in Tampa Bay, Gio Gonzalez started off this game retiring 12 of the first 14 hitters. Then the wheels seemed to come off in the fifth inning, where he gave up three runs.
In the inning, he allowed three walks, including one that walked in a run. And even then, were it not for a great Eaton sliding catch, it could’ve been even more than the three runs.
On the whole, given the four great innings, it was a positive outing for Gonzalez. Next up, he gets the Miami Marlins, a perfect opportunity to continue to right the ship.
Bullpen keeps Nats in it until the end
Even though it was Justin Miller who coughed up the walk-off home run to Andrew Knapp, the bullpen as a whole dominated. They went seven scoreless innings before the fateful 13th inning that led to the defeat.
Brandon Kintzler pitched his second successive scoreless inning, and Sean Doolittle continues to enhance his All-Star case. Even Shawn Kelley had his third straight scoreless appearance for the team.
Despite a rocky start, the Nationals bullpen is ranked in the middle of bullpen ERA in baseball. They may add yet another piece to the puzzle come to the trade deadline to truly make it a force to be reckoned with.
On the bright side for the Washington Nationals, Monday is Scherzday. Max Scherzer faces Rick Porcello in the series opener against the Boston Red Sox.