It is hard to believe that this was a 1-run game entering the top of the 8th inning before the Nats bullpen imploded — again — and allowed a winnable game to slip away quickly. The bullpen gave up 5 home runs in this game in just 3.0 innings of work. Max Scherzer certainly was not his sharpest but he only gave up 3-runs over 6 innings, and his offense had numerous opportunities to get ahead in the game. Emphasis on the word “numerous”. To add to the misery, two more Nats player went down in an insult to injury as the team saw Victor Robles get plunked on his wrist by Cubs starter Cole Hamels, and Robles headed to the x-ray room, and in addition, reliever Justin Miller (rotator cuff strain) exited after surrendering a 2-run home run and wincing in pain. The Nationals bullpen ERA ballooned to 6.82 after this disastrous game as they gave up 11-runs in their 3.0 innings of work.
Even though the Nationals scored 6-runs in this game, they squandered several golden opportunities to push across baserunners as they went 3-13 in RISP situations, and limited their scoring chances when you consider the team had 19 baserunners in the game and frankly, they should have had more baserunners. The Cubs starter, Cole Hamels, was not sharp, but he made a key pitch with bases loaded to his last batter of the night when he struck out Michael Taylor on a 3-2 count in a 1-run game with 2 outs in the 5th inning.
One of the key at-bats of the game was Anthony Rendon‘s two-run home run, but he was also guilty of three poor at-bats. He snuffed out a potential rally with two men on and one out when he went first ball swinging and rolled into a doubleplay. Some of the at-bats by Nationals batters defied logic in this game, and it was Rendon’s 3-0 count when he swung at an outside pitch and pulled it to 3rd base that seemed to take away another chance as he was the lead-off batter in that 5th inning when Hamels eventually loaded the bases.
When the struggling Brian Dozier went 3-for-4 with a walk, you figure the Nationals win this game. Well, the offense scored 6 runs, but the pitching and defense gave up 14 runs. That translates to an ugly loss.
“This is the bullpen we have,” manager Dave Martinez said. “Yesterday they were really good. Tonight they weren’t.”
Maybe the only good news is that we reported early in the game through a source that Victor Robles x-ray on his wrist came back clean, but as we know with Jayson Werth and others with wrist injuries that the MRI when the swelling goes down is the definitive look. We will hope for some good news.
Source: XRays negative on Victor Robles wrist.
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) May 18, 2019
Martinez confirmed after the game that the x-rays on Robles wrist were negative, and they are calling it a contusion and he is day-to-day. The postgame news on Justin Miller was not as good as he will head to the 10-day IL with a rotator cuff strain.
“It’s frustrating. Trust me,” said Martinez. “It’s frustrating [for the bullpen], especially when the game is within reach.”
The Friday woes continue for this team that is now 0-for-11 dating back to August 24th of 2018. The Nationals record this season in first games of series goes to 2-13. The Nats chance at their first 3-game winning streak of the season did not come to fruition tonight.