You just cannot keep writing that the missed opportunities cost the Nationals another game but it happened again along with a poor start by Stephen Strasburg who was handed two leads and could not hold them. Strasburg gave up 6-runs in 6 1/3 innings. Strasburg’s fastball averaged 95.7mph tonight and that was 2.5mph lower than his last start.
The Nationals out-hit the Diamondbacks 11-to-6 but the difference was the runners left-on-base and once again just froze with RISP. Bryce Harper got up with bases loaded and 1-out and he struck out and then Ryan Zimmerman grounded out. In this game, Harper only had one chance to hit with runners on base, but Zimmerman had 3 chances and stranded 6 runners to increase his total to 58 LOB. Other players had opportunities also and some of them came through like Howie Kendrick who hit a 2-run home run in the game along with two other hits finishing a triple short of the cycle.
From the start, it seemed that the line-up was questionable analytically speaking. The Nationals were without Michael Taylor in the starting line-up with a strained groin. He did pinch-hit later in the game but did not look healthy out there.
“At some point it will turn around and we will cash-in,” Dave Martinez said. “Ten guys left-on-base. That one big hit in a key moment.”
“As long as we fight til the end,” Stephen Strasburg said. “If we do that, then whatever. I gave it everything I had today and it wasn’t good enough. I’ll live with that, and it’s a new day tomorrow. If we can get 25 guys to do that, that’s going to be huge.”
For what it’s worth, Bryce Harper is batting an anemic .167 with RISP and Ryan Zimmerman who has the cleanup spot has batted .178 in RISP spots. You won’t win many games with ineffective RISP hitting in the 3-and-4 spots in your batting order.