The Nationals (26-28) lost their second straight game to the Astros (19-34) in Houston last night by a score of 5-1. A pair of lefties took the mound last night with Wandy Rodriquez earning the win bumping his record up to 3-7, and John Lannan getting the loss dropping to 2-3. Neither starter put up an impressive line, but the Astro bullpen, who held the Nationals to just 2 hits in the games final 4 innings, didn’t give Washington a chance.
The lone bright spot for the Nats came in the first inning, when Adam Dunn drove in Washington’s only run by hitting a double to left that scored Nyjer Morgan, after that, it was all downhill. The Nationals had the bases loaded in the 4th with 1 out but could not get the job done following consecutive strikeouts by Wil Nieves and John Lannan, contributing to Rodriquez’s 8 total strikeouts on the night. They also had the bases loaded in the 5th with 2 outs, but the “goat” of the game, Ian Desmond, grounded out to short to put an end to the threat.
Desmond’s bat was the least of his worries last night as he became the latest victim to give into Washingtons poor defensive play by committing three errors on a missed catch, throw, and fielding, giving him a team leading 14 total miscues on the season. Ryan Zimmerman ranks second on the team with 6.
Clearly the most disturbing stats from this game is the Nationals 10 LOB and how they went 1-for-6 with RISP. In a game in which they scored only 1 run, coming in the first inning, you hate to see so many missed opportunities to put some more runs on the board, especially when your playing a weak team like the Astros. Houston struck out 13 Nationals, making them look like the second coming of Nolen Ryan.
As for Lannan, although he only gave up 2 earned runs, but 5 total, Nationals fans are still waiting for his “breakout” moment. In 2008 and 2009 he gave Washington fans plenty of hope that he was on track to be a left-handed mainstay in the Nats rotation, but he seems to have taken a step back this season. He is not striking out nearly as many hitters as he used to and his 4.79 ERA is nearly a full run higher than last seasons.
The Nationals will send out J.D. Martin (0-1, 1.50) in the series finale against Brian Moehler (0-2, 7.29), to try and get a split of the 4 game series in Houston. For Washington, this is a must win situation. This is their final game of their disappointing road trip before they return home for the biggest week in the history of the franchise.