The Nats Bullpen Gives It Away, Again


A wise movie once said that baseball is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Friday, it seemed like all of the above both happened and failed to happen in the course of a few hours, and it’s maddening. But this is the game we love.

The Washington Nationals blew their third save of the season, giving up six runs in the final four innings to the Atlanta Braves, en route to their first loss of the year at home. The club had entered the top of the seventh with a commanding 4-0 lead behind a stellar start from Ross Detwiler, but a run here, a homer there, a walk or two, and a seriously bad throwing and catching play in the top of the ninth kept the Nats from earning a Curly W.

It is too early to consider the Nats’ bullpen a serious problem. The season is 10 games young, and the team has won 70% of their games. It is fair to say, however, that the bullpen has had a rough week. Since the club’s sweep of the Miami Marlins the Nats bullpen has allowed 27 runs in just 7 games. The fact that the team is 4-3 when their bullpen has been averaging nearly four runs per game  in that span is remarkable.

The Good News:

-       Ross Detwiler allowed just four hits and one earned run in seven innings pitched on the night. The lefty struck out five and walked two, proving that he can keep the pace that made him one of the team’s best assets last fall.

-       The Nationals scored runs early, which is what this team was built to do. Ideally the Nats can score early, ride their great starting pitching to the sixth or seventh, and had it off to the bullpen to put it to bed. The Nats had four runs in the first two innings.

-       Bryce Harper hit yet another home run. This one a laser to the opposite field in the first inning.  He’s now hitting .400.

-       Interestingly, the Nationals were more aggressive on the base paths against the Braves than they had been all season. The team stole four bases on Gerald Laird, who was eventually replaced behind the plate by Evan Gattis.

-       Ian Desmond was 2-4, he now has hits in seven of the Nats 10 games, including the past six in a row. He has had multi hit games in three of the past four games.

-       There’s another game today.