Post Double-Header Thoughts

The Washington Nationals dropped both ends of their double-header tonight to the Colorado Rockies. The clubs first loss came at the hand of perhaps the hottest pitcher in baseball, Ubaldo Jimenez, as the club fell 6-2. The second came as a result of an Ian Desmond error in the seventh inning, allowing the Rockies to pull-ahead and win 4-3.

The two losses dropped the Nationals record to 20-17 on the year, which puts them three games behind Philadelphia for first place in the National League East.

Game 1, Colorado 6 – Washington 4:

- While Ubaldo Jimenez pitched eight innings and earned the win against the Washington Nationals, the powerful starter struck out a season low five batters, and allowed two earned runs and seven hits for the first time since Apr. 11. Adam Dunn, who hit his 8th homer of the year in the sixth inning, became the first batter to hit a home run off of Jimenez all year.

-Livan Hernandez got “lit up” for three earned runs over six innings pitched, effectively making the outing his worst start of the season. Hernandez got burned by a couple of solo home runs by Jason Giambi and Miguel Olivio. Livan relied on his sinker for much of the game, throwing it 34 times on the night, trying to force the Rockies batters to hit the ball on the ground instead of the thin Coors Field air. However, the homer’s came as a result of mistakes, missed spots, and capitalized opportunities for Colorado batters.

-Ryan Zimmerman finished the first game batting 3-4 with a double and an RBI. Nyjer Morgan was 2-2 with a walk and a sacrifice.

-Nyjer Morgan got caught stealing second base by Migul Olivio. It was the eighth time this year he’s been taken off the base paths by his own choice, representing eight potential runs that never scored.

-Brian Bruney got touched up for three runs in one inning of work. The three runs took the score from a manageable 3-2 one run deficit to a long-shot score of 6-2. Bruney gave up two walks and two hits before finally recording three outs. His struggles continue to escalate out of control, and is putting serious pressure on Mike Rizzo to bring up Drew Storen to provide bullpen help to Matt Capps and Tyler Clippard.

Game 2, Colorado 4 – Washington 3:

-While Luis Atilano struggled with control all night long, he only got burned with it in one inning. In the bottom of the third he walked the lead off hitter before allowing home runs to Gonzalez and Smith. He would allow no more runs on the night, and only two more hits. However, Atilano had four walks in five innings of work, and only threw 59 strikes in 94 pitches.

-After the Nationals went down 3-0 in the second half of a double header in which they dropped the first game, it would have been very easy for the club to roll over. Instead, the Nationals battled back, showing the guts that have made them a winner this season so far. Roger Bernadina doubled in Ryan Zimmerman and Cristian Guzman in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2. Adam Dunn later supplied a homer to tie the game at 3-3.

-Ian Desmond’s error was costly down the stretch, and helped the go ahead run score. However, it should be noted that his defense has helped the team immensely this series. The young shortstop has made several great plays and has had strong poise with his great confidence at short. Mistakes will happen, as they do with any rookie shortstop, but he certainly seems as if he has the ability to turn into a very strong defensive shortstop.