With their NL East rivals struggling this weekend, the Washington Nationals were left to flounder against the Miami Marlins and dropped below .500 again.
The Washington Nationals were presented a golden opportunity to get back in the division race this weekend. They were facing the last-place Miami Marlins but ended up coming out with a series loss.
After the bullpen blew the game last night, the whole team played an ugly game in a 12-1 loss on Sunday. They squandered an opportunity to close the gap in the NL East and once again, their season is on the ropes.
The offense came out flat and only mustered up one run on two hits against Jose Urena. Just when you thought the offensive inconsistencies were behind the team, they put up three two-run performances in their last 10 games.
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Next up, the Nationals face a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Playoff hopes still seem slim and will require a sweep against a team that they’re frantically trying to chase down.
Given how they’ve played lately, it’s tricky to see how the team will do it. They do at least throw their best three pitchers in the series, with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Tanner Roark set to start. It’s now or never for this team, and never seems like the more likely option at this point.
Gio’s days as a National seem numbered
Another day, another poor Gio Gonzalez outing as we inch closer to the end of the 2018 season. Despite overall success against the Marlins throughout his career, he struggled mightily this time.
The lefty could only make it through 4.2 innings, and the Marlins pounded him for eight runs and 10 hits, to go along with four walks. It was easily his worst outing of the season and brings his ERA since June 9th all the way up to an ugly 7.04.
The chances of the team extending Gonzalez coming into the season seemed minimal, but now they seem slim to none. The question will now be, whether he can last the entire season in the rotation. While it would be nice to see given all he has accomplished with the team, they would be better served getting an extended look at some younger arms.
Uncharacteristic fielding miscues highlighted
The Nationals have been among the best fielding teams in the league all season. They currently sit at second in majors in fielding percentage and also tenth in Defensive Efficiency Rating.
However, on Sunday they made two crucial errors as well as a number of plays they should’ve made that don’t show up in the box score. The errors occurred in the seventh and eighth innings respectively, but it just put the icing on the cake of the diabolical performance in the game.
One of the errors was by Bryce Harper playing centerfield who is still clearly not a perfect fit out there. But when you need his red-hot bat in the lineup, that’s where he has to play for now against right-handers. If the team plans to re-sign him in the off-season, then they’ll need a better plan moving forward than playing Harper in centerfield.
The Washington Nationals continues to be stuck in second gear throughout the 2018 season. The clock is about to strike midnight on their campaign if they don’t come up with a magical run in the closing stages.