The Washington Nationals have now set a team record — the type you do not want. They have been shutout now in 3 straight games. These streaks took an ominous turn into the deep abyss of a scoring drought which has now reached 27 consecutive innings and 3 straight losses when their starting pitchers gave up 2 runs on Thursday and only 1 run on Friday and Saturday. The issue clearly is not the starting pitching. This is the 13th time this season that the Nationals have been shutout.
This is about energy, effort, and execution from some of the players and not a lack of managerial strategy. The optics of some of the player’s body language is disheartening. When Juan Soto hustled from first base to second base to turn a single into a double he was called out as his leg came off of the base for a millisecond at most. Maybe he was safe — and he certainly beat the throw, but the umpire called him out and on video review the play stood. You can appreciate a 19-year-old hustling and trying to make things happen. That was energy and effort and should be applauded.
Today, the Nats came out of the dugout in the first inning playing small ball. Two straight bunts put Adam Eaton on 2nd base, and he advanced to third base on a swinging bunt by Anthony Rendon on the only RISP hit in 3 straight games. The Nationals are 1-for-17 in RISP situations in the last 3-games.
The Nats had another RISP golden opportunity with one out and Adam Eaton on 3rd base and Trea Turner on 2nd base with speed and Anthony Rendon batting and he didn’t swing at a fat 2-1 pitch, and then in a defensive swing with a 2-2 count he hit a soft liner to the shortstop. Once again, the Nationals could not even come through with a productive out. It was the right situation with the meat of the order up, and the Nats could not cash-in.
“We’re not hitting,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We had opportunities to score, and we didn’t. We just can’t get a point across.”
There was also some shenanigans in this game as the Mets went head hunting on Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman. There appears to be some bad blood after a play earlier last month between these two teams when Eaton took a hard slide into second baseman Phillip Evans who nonchalantly didn’t clear himself from the base and he broke his leg. In Eaton’s next at-bat and 1st base open, Zack Wheeler nailed him in the gluteus maximus.
For Tanner Roark, he pitched great against an awful team. He only gave up 1-run over 6 innings, and he only gave up four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He was the hard luck loser in this game as he exited in a one-run deficit.