Missed opportunities spelled the story of the Washington Nationals’ (46-44) second disappointing offensive game of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies (45-46).
In their 4-2 loss, the Nationals left eight men on base, and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They had at least two men on base in the three final innings, but failed to bring more than one run around to score.
After Jayson Werth hit a solo home run in the second inning, the Nats didn’t score again until the ninth inning on a Wilson Ramos pinch-hit double, once more waiting until too late to mount their comeback.
Their biggest opportunity to rally came in the eighth inning. Scott Hairston and Ian Desmond hit back-to-back singles, and Bryce Harper walked to load the bases. Werth worked a seven-pitch at-bat to a full count.
But two grand slams for the Nationals in three days was not to be, and Ben Revere crushed the Nats’ best hope at a comeback within his glove as he caught Werth’s fly ball in deep center field.
For the second day in a row, a lefty was largely responsible for the Nationals’ hitting woes. Tuesday, it was Cole Hamels who got the win, limiting the Nats to just one earned run on six hits as he pitched eight innings for just the second time all season.
Taylor Jordan countered for the Nationals, and was solid in his third MLB-start. He faced the minimum for the first three innings, due to two smooth double plays turned by the Nationals’ defense.
But as much as the defense supported Jordan, two errors put him in difficult situations, one leading to an unearned run in the sixth inning when he was ultimately knocked from the game.
Jordan pitched a total of five and two-thirds innings, gave up eight hits, four runs (three earned), one walk and struck out two.
Some more superstitious fans might attribute the rough loss to Desmond’s mid-game shave, while others likely credit the Nats’ MLB-worst .215/.281/.336 slash line against left-handed pitchers. But unless Desmond can grow another goatee at a Danny Espinosa-like pace, the Nationals will need to find a way to inspire their bats on Wednesday as they face the third lefty of the series while trying to avoid a series loss.