Nats Still Haven’t Beaten The Braves

The most interesting thing related to the Nationals on television on Tuesday night certainly wasn't the game against the Braves, which the Nats lost 8-1. No, I imagine there were many Nats fans that switched to ESPN at 9 pm in the east when the new documentary, Bryce Begins, aired. Say what you will about the sports conglomerate's coverage of actual sporting events, but they know how to put together a sports documentary better than just about anyone. (Ken Burns anyone?)

I'd like to say that there are a whole bunch of positives for the Nats to take from this game, but I can't in good conscience, do that. Ian Desmond got a hit, extending his hitting streak to seven games and ticking his average above the .300 mark. Three of those seven games have been multi-hit games. If I wanted to draw another positive, no one got hurt. So that's something.

The rest didn't go so well. The Nats were able to record just three hits and one run against Tim Hudson en route to his 200th career win. Only Denard Span, Tyler Moore, and Desmond got in the hit column on just a dreadful night of offense.

The Nats pitching didn't have that kind of night. Gio Gonzalez had a ridiculously weird pitching line. He struck out nine batters through just four innings, but he gave up five runs on seven hits and five walks. That's the most batters he's punched out in a game so far this season, but it's also the most walks surrendered. He looked to have absolutely no feel for the game out there, and as good as he looked in his eight inning, one hit outing last time, he looked just as uncomfortable against the Braves offense.

Zach Duke had been going well for a while as he came in for some long relief of Gio. He hadn't given up a run and had allowed just three hits and two walks in his last four appearances. There was an ugly moment, pictured above, when Tim Hudson hit an opposite field home run off of Bryce Harper's glove, too.

When the wheels come off for Duke, they tend to come way off this season. In his three outings where he's given up an earned run, he's given up five, two, and three earned runs, respectively. In those three games, they were all mop-up roles for huge losses, so it's not like him giving up those runs had a huge detrimental consequence on the Nats winning a game versus losing one.

Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington reported after the game that Ian Desmond was going around to players lockers telling them not to leave after they were done with their interviews and post-game rituals. Presumably, the Nats were going to have a meeting to discuss how they could turn things around.

With the loss, the Nats fell below .500 again at 13-14, and they also dropped to 0-5 in the season series against their main NL East rival. It's still early in the season with 135 games left to play, but they don't have "it's April" to fall back on anymore. It's May 1, and it's time for the team widely regarded as the best team in baseball before the season started to begin playing like it.

Joe Drugan

About Joe Drugan

Joe is the Managing Editor of The Nats Blog and host of the Nats Talk On The Go podcast. He's been blogging about the Nationals since 2010 and with The Nats Blog since 2011.