Bullpen blows another. Sloppy all around.

Photo byMitch Stringer of the USA TODAY

What can you say about this game? Max Scherzer threw 8 very good innings and exited with a 2-run lead to hand the ball to the bullpen to rack up just 3 outs without allowing more than 1 run to score. Dusty Baker chose Enny Romero to close out the game with the 2-run lead and bring home the save and the win. Instead, the left-handed Romero walked the lefty lead-off man and eventually gave up 2 runs to depart in a tie game and a heartbreaking blown save. The Nats lost it in the 12th inning.

“It takes a big emotional toll,” Dusty Baker said. “One of the biggest downers in baseball is when you blow a game late. Especially when you have a lead like that a couple times this week. It certainly tested my team’s emotional strength and stability, and we’ll see how we come out of this.”

The Nationals just were not sharp in all facets of this game except for starting pitching, and of course some players were not an issue in the loss. But this is a team game, and there was plenty of blame to go around. If this was one loss by itself, then maybe it would not be as frustrating as 3 sloppy games in a row to now be mired in a 3-game losing streak.

If the Nationals can get back Stephen Drew, Koda Glover, Shawn Kelley, and Sammy Solis soon from the disabled list then Dusty Baker and general manager Mike Rizzo can piece this team back together and create better roles late in the game.

Along with wasting an excellent start by Max Scherzer in this game, Adam Lind hit a pinch-hit 3-run home run which sent most of the Baltimore fans heading for home in the 8th inning as the lead ballooned at that point to 4-1. Another key play in the game was Bryce Harper throwing out a runner at the plate that extended the game in extra innings. Chris Heisey had a key catch on a foul ball, and Trea Turner had several plays at shortstop showing off his range.

The Nats had defensive gaffes, base running mistakes, and couldn’t get a key bunt down, and overall you could say it was a breakdown of fundamentals as a few comments during the game pointed out. After the game, Dusty Baker echoed those exact thoughts.

“It seems like the tighter the game gets towards the end then we’re not performing fundamentally like I would like,” Dusty Baker said. “We’re not getting bunts down, and we’re not making the defensive plays. It’s the little things. Most people just see how many hits you get; how many homers you hit; and how many guys your strikeout. But it’s the little things especially in one-run games that cost you games.”

To top it off, Daniel Murphy was ejected from the game an inning after he was called out on a strikeout in a 3-2 count. The chart shows it was not a strike, and honestly, not even close. It was a key point in the game for the Nationals to extend their 9th inning lead from a score of 4-2.

Chalk this up as another game where umpiring impacted the outcome of the game. Besides some key blown ball and strike calls by homeplate umpire Laz Diaz and the ejection of Daniel Murphy, it was in the 9th inning when Diaz charged Enny Romero with a balk call that seemed phantom. There was also a reversal of a force-out call on the field at 2nd base which lengthened an inning, and the video replay did not seem conclusive to reverse the call on the field. By the way, when have you seen Daniel Murphy ever thrown out of a game? The ejection came at in inopportune time as it shortened the Nationals bench and took out one of the best bats in baseball out of the Nationals line-up. When Ryan Flaherty was vehemently arguing at the plate with Diaz, he was not thrown out of the game, but Diaz threw Murphy out after arguing from the dugout.

The MASN broadcast crew was speculating that Trea Turner hurt his left hamstring, but according to media reports he tore up the left side of his leg on a dive on a fielding play.

Not to be forgotten, Adam Eaton had successful knee surgery today on his ACL and MCL in his knee.

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