The Washington Nationals lost to the San Francisco Giants by a score of 5-4 last night in extra innings.
- Mike Morse re-finds his hot stroke, goes 2-6 with 3 RBI, a home run, and a double.
- Nationals tune up Tim Lincecum for four runs over five innings pitched.
- John Lannan pitches seven innings, allows just four hits and one earned run.
- Nats blow four run lead, bullpen has personnel, needs maturity to get the job done.
- Who cares we had a killer draft last night anyways.
Games like last night’s 13 inning loss to the San Francisco Giants stick with you a long time, because they are the ones that hurt the most.
The Nationals were up 4-0 entering the seventh inning with their starting pitcher John Lannan cruising. The team had knocked arguably the best pitcher in the National League, Tim Lincecum, out after just five inning by racking up four runs on five hits. Perhaps most disappointingly, the club was also coming off of an emotional game where they blew a late inning lead and came back and won it with a grand slam.
Until the eighth inning in San Francisco last night, momentum was a friend of the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately that’s when the wheels fell off for the club.
Todd Coffey came on in the eighth and got just one out before allowing two hits and two runs. Sean Burnett was unable to record one out, and Henry Rodriguez earned his second blown save of the season when allowed an inherited runner to score in the eighth.
Five innings later the Nationals lost it with Craig Stammen on the mound, allowing a walk off hit to Freddy Sanchez to give the Giants a 5-4 win in 13 innings.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about the blown lead is that it wasn’t done with a group of relievers who I had no faith in. In the past there have been guys who get on the mound, and you sit back and think they might as well have just handed the other team the lead. But Todd Coffey has a 2.38 ERA, Henry Rodriguez has a 1.65, and Sean Burnett, despite his recent troubles, was unhittable early on this year.
One of the more frustrating moments came in the top of the 12th when the Nationals had a chance to take the lead. Matt Stairs led off with a pinch-hit single, and Ian Desmond followed with one of his own. A throw to third base allowed Desmond to move to second, so the Nats had runners on second and third with two outs. Unfortunately, the Giants wisely walked Jayson Werth and forced Rick Ankiel to bat in the pressure situation. He flied out to center field.
A look at the box score shows the four run output was mostly a result of two players, Ian Desmond and Mike Morse. Desmond was 3-6 on the night, and Morse was 2-6 with a double and a home run. Laynce Nix also contributed an RBI.
Games like these are difficult because during the Arizona series you got the feeling the club was going in the right direction. But quite simply the club can’t think they can give up major leads on back to back nights and come out with wins in both of them. A winning ball club closes out games when they have the lead, and the Nationals have the pitching staff to do it. The next step is having the maturity to do it.