The Nationals could not continue their momentum gained from Sunday into the opener against the Chicago Cubs as they drop the first game 5 to 1. Their lone run came on a solo shot from Lane Thomas in the 2nd inning, his first home run of the season. The team only had 4 runners in scoring position all game long and went 0 for 4 in those situations.
MacKenzie Gore got the start for the Nationals and had a tough start, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts in just 4 innings of work. Gore threw 102 pitches and faced three batters in the 5th inning before getting the hook and turning the ball over to Mason Thompson. He allowed a leadoff single to Nico Hoerner before Dansby Swanson hit a two run homerun to make it 4 to 1. After a walk to Cody Bellinger, manager Davey Martinez decided Gore's day was done and opted to go with Thompson, who got out of the inning without any further damage.
While Gore did not have his best day, it was really the offense that struggled. Luis Garcia, Lane Thomas and Dom Smith accounted for the team's only hits in the game and once again, the team did not work a walk. The Nationals maintain a respectable .250 team batting average, good for 13th in baseball, but have just a .316 team OBP, which is 20th in baseball. They need to work more walks and not solely rely on their bat-to-ball skills.
To no surprise considering they have more right handed hitters, especially veteran hitters, the Nationals are significantly better against left handed pitching (.289/.344/.406) than they are against right handed pitching (.231/.303/.323). However, they could not get anything going against Cubs' lefty Drew Smyly, who recently took a perfect game into the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers before being tackled by catcher Yan Gomes as they were both attempting to field a ground ball.
The Nationals have also faced prominent lefties Max Fried, Shane McLanahan and Kyle Freeland this season, and struggled in each game, which just goes to show how well they have hit the other left handed pitching they have faced. I guess we need to add Drew Smyly to that list of prominent southpaws the Nationals have struggled against.
The Nationals are at the beginning of playing 13 games in 12 days without a day off thanks to a rainout on Friday creating a Saturday doubleheader. Monday only marked day 3 of 12 and the Nationals have not looked all that competitive outside of Josiah Gray's start on Sunday. If they don't get it together soon, it could be a rough start to the month of May, one that includes an upcoming west coast swing against the Diamondbacks and Giants.
Washington Nationals Record: 10-18
When is the next Nationals game?
The Nationals get another shot at the Cubs tonight and will hopefully look better doing so. They will send Trevor Williams (1-1, 4.10 ERA) to the mound as he will face off against Cubs' righty Hayden Wesneski (2-1, 5.24 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05p ET.