In this installment of the Worst Moments of the Washington Nationals 2011 season, we recall Saturday, September 10th and the brutal 9-3 loss at the hands of the Houston Astros.
The Nationals (66-76) entered the game as favorites against the league worst Astros (48-96) as John Lannan toed the rubber against Houston “ace” Wandy Rodriquez. Although Lannan had shown improvements throughout the season, no one could have predicted his implosion in the third inning of this game.
Lannan actually started the game and the top of the third frame on the right foot by getting leadoff hitter Wandy Rodriquez to fly out, but it all went downhill when Jordan Schaffer set the tone at the top of the order by ripping a double to left field and advanced to third on a fielding error by Michael Morse. The next batter, Jason Bourgeois then singled on a ground ball to left field and this time Morse fielded it cleanly, but that didn’t stop the Astros from taking a 1-0 lead.
Along with Bourgeois, Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Corporan all contributed with an RBI in the inning. All in all, ten Astros came to the plate and six runs scored. Careless errors made by Morse and Lannan put an especially dark cloud over the inning, these proved to be costly errors that could have prevented several of the runs from scoring. Lannan went just 2 1/3 innings and all runs charged in the inning were to him.
The Nationals tried their best to stay competitive but a two run single by Chris Marrero and Michael Morse’s 27th home run of the year was not enough to make up for the mess Lannan had allowed.
Lannan and Nationals manager Davey Johnson both described the game as “one of those days”, a completely understandable excuse for the grind of a 162-game season, but what makes this game painful is who it came against. Washington came out flat and not ready to play in a meaningless September against the leagues worst.
If this game wasn’t depressing enough for you, maybe the No. 5 Worst Moment of the Washington Nationals 2011 season will do the trick. Also, be sure to check in daily this week as we work our way to No. 1.