Washington Nationals continue to be outclassed by surging Cardinals
By Blake Finney
The Washington Nationals were beaten by the St Louis Cardinals in game three of their series. It’s just been flat out domination by the hosts.
The St Louis Cardinals looked in complete control in a 4-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. Aside from one bases-loaded situation in the fourth inning, the Nats were a virtual non-threat until the ninth.
Their only two runs of the game came in the final frame on a Daniel Murphy home run and then a Matt Wieters sac fly. As a team, they went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and have fallen back below .500 again.
The Cardinals have completely outplayed the Nats in the series. They’ve outplayed them so much so that even though they were one of the worst defensive teams in the game put on a leather show on Wednesday.
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Sometimes, it’s just not your day, or week, or season and that’s what it feels like for the Nats. There are plenty of flaws with the team, but when you’re ripping balls that are snagged in the infield and there are spectacular diving catches in the outfield by a team that’s struggled to do so all season, there’s not much you can do.
Now they need to regroup for the series finale on Thursday and attempt to avoid a sweep. It will be tricky given the lack of energy after the last few days the team has had.
Hellickson removed with a wrist injury
Just when you thought the Nationals injuries couldn’t get any worse, starter Jeremy Hellickson had to depart after injuring his wrist. The injury occurred after he spiked a curveball that Spencer Kieboom couldn’t block, and the right-hander stumbled over the sliding Harrison Bader.
Mark Zuckerman on MASN Sports reported after the game that X-rays came back negative on his wrist. However, Zuckerman says that Davey Martinez is still concerned about the injury, and it could force him to the DL.
If Hellickson is forced to miss time, then the Nationals could call on Jefry Rodriguez, who impressed in his last big league start. Rodriguez also had an 11 K performance in his last outing in Triple-A, so may be worth another look in the bigs.
Grace makes his first appearance in a week
Given Hellickson’s early exit, Matt Grace had to work a couple of innings in relief. This was the first time he’d seen the field since August 8th against the Atlanta Braves.
Grace threw two innings of scoreless ball, allowing a hit and a walk striking out one. But it’s been a bizarre wait for the lefty, who Martinez had previously not turned to as a LOOGY.
Instead, he had turned to Sammy Solis, and now Tim Collins to get lefties out. Using the former, who has reverse splits, has proven costly and it now seems Grace has become a mop-up man for the Nats, perhaps a position he is overqualified for.
With a possible sweep looming, the Washington Nationals will send Tanner Roark to the mound. The Cardinals have Luke Weaver going after a reshuffle before Wednesday’s game.