Washington Nationals: Offensive ineptitude sets new Nats record

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals reacts after lining out in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 25, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players' Weekend. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals reacts after lining out in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 25, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Players are wearing special jerseys with their nicknames on them during Players' Weekend. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals offense has hit rock bottom over the last few days. A third straight donut on the scoreboard has set a new Nats record.

The Washington Nationals offense got shutout for a third straight game on Saturday. It was the first time the team had managed to do so since the move to the nation’s capital.

It’s even more baffling considering it never happened in the back-to-back 100+ loss teams, but it would happen to this team that is so talented.

This time, it was Zack Wheeler, Daniel Zamora, Drew Smith and Jerry Belvins who combined for the shutout. With the greatest of respect to those pitchers, they’re a far cry from Aaron Nola and Pat Neshek who shut them out the first time.

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Unlike the previous two shutouts, they did at least have a few chances to actually something on the scoreboard. The team went for 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, with the one hit coming in the first inning when Anthony Rendon had a swinging bunt.

The zero signifies the 14th time they’ve been shuout this year, after being blanked 14 times in 2016 and 2017 combined. It’s been a feast or famine offense for a large portion of the year, and it’s currently in extreme famine.

T-Ro pitches a wasted gem

With the offensive misery, Tanner Roark and his continued excellent performance will get lost. After a miserable middle of the season, the right-hander has been one of the better pitchers in baseball recently.

He pitched six innings of one-run ball, in which he allowed just four hits and struck out seven Mets. It was just another example of how great he’s been in the last few weeks.

Coming into the start, in the last 30 days, Roark had a higher pitcher fWAR than the like of Madison Bumgarner, Jake Arrieta, and Dallas Keuchel. At the very least, he’s earned himself a rotation spot for 2019 after a sketchy first half in 2018.

Spanky has an adventurous day

There were few bright spots on offense in Saturday’s game, but Adam Eaton was one of those. He went 2 for 2, with a walk and was hit by a pitch in the game.

The HBP was particularly interesting as Eaton and former teammate Todd Frazier were chirping at each other following the outfielder’s walk in the third inning. It was after Eaton squared to bunt numerous times following his bunt single to lead off the game.

The plunking seemed pretty clearly deliberate from Wheeler, but it’s unclear whether it was because he squared to bunt for the second AB in a row.

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On Sunday, as they look to avoid being shutout for an entire series, the Washington Nationals go with Jefry Rodriguez. Steven Matz will be on the mound for the Mets, who the Nats have had good success against this year.

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