Heck of a comeback try, but unfortunately it’s just a loss. No participation trophies!

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

It was a heck of a comeback attempt by the Nationals, but unfortunately it ends in a loss. No participation trophies. The game started with 3 consecutive walks issued by Nationals starter Jeremy Hellickson that dug a hole for his team. Hellickson was relieved by Kyle McGowin who allowed 3 more runs to score which made the tally at the time a 6-1 deficit then the Nats chipped away with a 3-run home run by Anthony Rendon and a solo shot by Howie Kendrick to make the score 6-5. The Nats scored 4 unanswered runs but could not get that to the 6 unanswered runs to win it. A great comeback stalled and turned into the Nats 27th loss of the season. In the end, it was another of those heartbreaking one-run losses. 

In the offseason, manager Davey Martinez addressed his 2018 team’s lopsided record in one-run losses and chalked it up to the “little things”.  Wild pitches, a passed ball, the failure to sprint forward with two outs, and  defending the bunt could all be described as the “little things”. Even little leaguers know you run forward with two outs when the ball is hit to the outfield.

While Anthony Rendon had the Nats biggest hit of the game, it was Gerardo Parra who was 3-4 in the game and was stranded on the bases. In probably the most controversial play of the game, Parra hit what looked like a double to push Kurt Suzuki to 3rd base, but the umpire ruled Parra came off of the base. On video replay, it looked like the Nats would win the challenge as Parra came off the base but was never tagged. The video reviewers in Chelsea did not agree. The Nats had another play to score a key run but Juan Soto forgot there were two outs, and he turned back to the bag on a Parra single and Soto was held at 3rd base by his coach Bob Henley and Albert Almora airmailed the throw to the backstop. Soto never scored. Yes, the little things.

The Nationals seemingly had chances every inning, but could not tie the game, and Anthony Rendon had a golden opportunity in the 7th inning to put the Nats up but he hit a soft liner to shortstop.  In the 8th inning, Parra singled again but was stranded at 1st base. In the 9th inning, the Nats went down 1-2-3 quickly.

“The boys played hard all the way to the end,” manager Dave Martinez said.

That type of quote would be a perfect epitaph on a tombstone for a young person who perished too soon. “He played hard all the way to the end.”  The only thing missing was the dates he was born and died. Martinez’s managerial life is on the line here. In the end when you look at his managerial record, will anyone say they played hard on May 19th so we should not count that in his managerial record? No, in the results it is a loss that counts the same.

The Nats flashed great leather all night with Rendon making two diving catches, but the play of the game was turned in by Victor Robles who caught an Addison Russell blast to the scoreboard and Robles ran it down and gloved it a split second before running into that scoreboard. Brian Dozier turned in a few nice defensive plays himself, but with the bat he was 0-3 against the righties he faced which was the reality of what we have seen most of the season that Dozier hits lefties but struggles against the right-handed pitchers.

The Nats head to New York for a four game series against the Mets.

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