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Mat Latos and Padres Bullpen Shuts Down the Nats Bats

The Nationals fell to the Padres last night in San Diego by a score of 4-2. Mat Latos bumped his record to 5-3 by going 6 innings in which he allowed 4 hits, 2 runs, and struck out 8. J.D. Martin, making his season debut, got the start for Washington and was equally as good going 6 innings 4 hits, and 4 runs…only 1 of them earned.

An error charged to second baseman Adam Kennedy allowed the Pads to get a stranglehold on the game in just the first inning, as Nick Hundley took a Martin pitch over the fence in left center for 3 runs. The Nationals defense has been killing them all season, and last night, it may have cost them the game. That’s one of the things that separate the good teams from the bad. You have to take advantage of the others teams mistakes, and that is why the Padres are off to their surprising 29-20 start.

The Nationals responded in the next half inning by putting up 2 runs thanks to a run scoring hit by who else…Adam Kennedy, and an RBI by Wil Nieves. These would end up being the only runs the Nats could get all night as the Padres bullpen only allowed 1 hit in their 3 innings of work. Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams, and Heath Bell each came in for one inning and racked up 4 total strikeouts, giving the Padres pitching 12 strikeouts for the night.

After Martin’s great start, the up and down Miguel Batista came in and tossed 2 innings of hitless ball, striking out three and only walking 1. After a underwhelming performance in April, Batista has actually enjoyed some success in May, lowering his ERA to 4.31, which is still absurdly high for a relief pitcher but it looks as though he may be turning the page with a string of four consecutive scoreless outings.

The key play in this game was obviously the Kennedy error, but you cant point all the fingers at him for the loss…Washington still had 8 more innings to overcome the miscue but could not capitalize. Latos has emerged to be a top tier starter in the league and is only 22, we will be hearing his name a lot in the years to come. San Diego’s bullpen has the third best ERA in baseball at 3.04 and leads the league in strikeouts with 169, so you have to get to their starters early. Unfortunately for Washington, its not going to be an easy task as they try and avoid a San Diego sweep, as the Padres are sending out the pleasantly surprising Jon Garland and his 2.10, hopefully the Nationals will remember to pack their bats with them for this game.