The first game out of the All-Star break did not start off well as the Nationals lost 8-5 to the rival Braves. The Nationals offense did their part as they scored 5-runs while the Nationals pitchers did not. Stephen Strasburg was not sharp and exited with a final line of 4.2 IP 6 ER and that’s all you need to know. Strasburg exited in the 5th inning and had words in the dugout with Max Scherzer. Yes, Stras is intense and so is Max Scherzer. No big deal with that as the big deal was the “L” which pushed the Nats to 1 game under .500.
The Nationals offense had chances early to blow the game open but could not get the big hit until Juan Soto connected for a 2-run home run but the scoring stalled at 8-to-5 and the Nationals are digging a hole for themselves as they lost another game in the standings. The Nationals are now 4-and-7 on the season against the Braves and that won’t do it.
The Nationals scoring came from a double steal of Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton who stole home plus solo home runs from Matt Adams and Trea Turner and the 2-run jack from Soto. The Nationals got RISP hits from Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg and neither of those hits directly drove in runs.
Both Justin Miller and Shawn Kelley gave up solo home runs for the final scoring by the Braves. The Nationals defense didn’t make some plays which loomed large. Soto whiffed on a low liner and Adam Eaton made a very weak relay throw which resulted in another run. The combination of Strasburg and Matt Wieters allowed the Braves to accumulate to accumulate 4 stolen bases. Add to that Strasburg didn’t pounce on a bunt to the pitcher’s mound which resulted in a hit.
As you will see in this video below, what has happened to Adam Eaton’s arm — or lack thereof? His arm always seemed to be a “plus” arm and now Eaton has shown this season that his arm isn’t what it used to be and is now rated as a “noodle” arm. Teams have noticed and are running on him as they did last night.
All in all, the game really came down to the Nationals did not execute on pitching and defense resulting in a loss.