For those trying to grasp the impact of the 14-times the Washington Nationals have been shutout this season, we created a chart for you (below) to analyze what has been a complicated relationship between how well the Nationals have pitched in those games compared to what this team could have scored. For instance, there is no shame in being shutout by an ace and Cy Young candidate like Aaron Nola; however, the Nationals never should have been shutout by Jason Vargas and probably should not have lost that game. Much of the blame also falls on the bullpen as Gio Gonzalez only gave up 1 run over 7 innings, and the Nats lost 3-0. There are not many 1-0 shutouts because strategy changes in games with one run deficits.
When we spoke about the lack of perceived energy in yesterday’s postgame article, it turns out there could be a reason for it. According to F.P. Santangelo, several Nats have the flu which includes a cough and body aches. The MASN cameras showed Trea Turner on 1st base coughing. It was also tweeted out by a beat writer that Bryce Harper has been sick for days and was playing through it the past 3-days.
In Saturday’s 3-0 shutout, manager Dave Martinez was playing “small ball” early bunting two times in a row with Adam Eaton and Trea Turner to get a runner into scoring position. Martinez was clearly trying to manufacture a run in that situation, and it did not happen. Execution is a key along with a little bit of luck sometimes. Anthony Rendon had 3-hits today. One came on a pop-up in shallow leftfield that fell in a “Bermuda Triangle” and one via an infield grounder with weak contact, and the other was a grounder up the middle where an infielder could not reach it. That is what happens some days when you make contact and other days you smash a line drive that is direct at a fielder.
When Nats NEED to score, they haven't: 13-21 in 1-run games & shutout 14 times. But they CAN "come to the party" w wins like 15-0 today. They've won 12 "laughers" by 180-43. Yes, this is unusual. (No, I can't explain it.)
— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) August 26, 2018
Can anyone explain these shutouts and 1-run losses while contrasting that with the 12 blowouts this team has had that were complete “laughers” like today? Today’s 15-0 win becomes part of the mystery of the 2018 season of feast and fathom.
If you talk to Tony LaRussa, he believes in the one base at a time concept.
Interviewing Tony La Russa on @MLBNetworkRadio right now. "I think it's easier to win now than ever, because there are so many teams that don't understand how important it is to advance one base."
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) August 26, 2018
First thing you have to do is get on-base. Easier said than done.