The Washington Nationals miserable stretch gets longer and longer. They dropped the series opener to the Boston Red Sox 4-3, despite hitting three home runs.
But things went awry early on, as with runners on second and third and two outs, Jackie Bradley was intentionally walked. Scherzer then proceeded to serve up a bases-clearing double to opposite number Rick Porcello.
The Red Sox would not relinquish the lead. Despite three homers from the Nats, they were all solo shots, and it’s been a theme for them this year.
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65 percent of the team’s long balls have come with the bases empty, compared to major league average which is 60 percent. And this stems from the fifth worst batting average with the bases empty at .230 with the average in MLB at .239 with nobody on.
With an 8-16 record in one-run games, not getting enough runners on to score on homers could swing that in a big way. Now it’s up to the Nationals’ lesser pitchers to try and salvage a win in the remaining two games.
Murphy goes yard but runs into an out
One big positive from the game was Daniel Murphy managing to hit his first home run of the season. But he bizarrely ran into an out on the bases in the second inning.
It was a questionable decision for anyone to run on Betts who is one of the best right fielders in the game. Let alone for Murphy with his running issues this year. Who knows how the game would’ve played out had he stayed at second, but in hindsight, it seems like an ill-conceived move.
Bryce Harper still slowly turning things around
Another day, another Bryce Harper solid game, as he went deep in the eighth inning to bring the Nats within one. And although the batting average is still way below expectations, he’s slowly getting there.
Over the last eight games, he has a remarkable 1.126 OPS, which is up there with the elite. The batting average is a nice .269, but with 10 walks he’s still getting on base enough to be productive.
Now if the Nats can get more runners on ahead of him to increase the damage, things could turn. Hitting fifth in the order, with the teams best hitters ahead of him, he should get plenty once things even out.