Last week seemed to be shaping up pretty well for the Nationals. But then it all came apart which is essentially what's been happening this year. They can't score any runs on Sunday and lose to the Braves 2 to 1. And there were several chances to score but the Nats just couldn't do it. Then there was Friday's 15 inning game which wouldn't have happened if Soriano hadn't given up a two run home run in the bottom of the 9th. Very similar to what happened the night before when Soriano did the exact same thing and allowed the Giants to win.
The inability to score has been the Nationals' downfall this season. But it has really been bad in low scoring games.
It's summed up in a chat with Tom Boswell yesterday on the Post site:
Here is, perhaps, the key to the Nats season: Their inability to score runs -- at all -- in many of their best-pitched games. When a team gives up only two runs, it wins 70 percent of the time. When it gives up three runs, it wins about 60 percent of the time. That's exactly how the Nats played last year -- like a normal team with normal support for good pitching.
EVERY team in baseball is at or above .500 this season in games where it allows only two or three runs. EXCEPT the Nationals who are an almost unimaginably bad 17-24! Normally, an average team would win more than 65 percent of those games or, in the Nats case, go about about 27 wins instead of 17.
So, why are the Nats 60-63 instead of 70-53 and in the middle of playoff contention? Plenty of things. But one key factor is that their offense is not simply bad, it is absolutely awful in close low-scoring games.
The goal now should be to try and end the season above .500. The notion of making the playoffs is just not realistic. Maybe it never was the way this season has gone. Here's a goal end up five games above .500 which just might and I say might be possible.
It's just sad to see a team with such talent be in such a rut and unable to get out of it.