Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Even a Grand Slam Couldn’t Make the Difference on Monday

There was no joy in Natstown yesterday afternoon. It was due to the fact the Nats lost the first game of what is probably a make or break series with the Mets. They lost 8-5.

It was a day of things just not working. But mostly the pitching didn’t work at all. As I posted earlier I was hoping Max Scherzer would bring his A game. In my post (which I did from the park), I forgot to make the a a capital. Little did I know how on that post would be.

Before the All Star break Scherzer was on fire. He had game after game where he dominated teams. A no hitter which was almost a perfect game. Another game close to a no hitter. Talk of a Cy Young Award. But that was then this is now. The lights out pitching has disappeared and maybe it was unrealistic to think anyone could continue on such a tear but as Tom Boswell in the Post notes:
Scherzer, who claims to be in ideal health and still throws 98 mph, is a complete mystery, to himself, his team and all of baseball. In his last seven starts, his ERA is 6.08 with 11 home runs allowed. They say hitting a baseball is the hardest job in sports. Throwing one isn’t such a soft gig either.

If that had been the only problem then maybe just maybe the Nats could have prevailed but it wasn’t the only problem. There was what now seems to be the usual melt down of the bull pen:
In the decisive seventh inning, Blake Treinen faced two batters, notching one out and giving up a single. Felipe Rivero threw to one batter, a left-hander, and walked him. Casey Janssen, on his third straight day of work, gave up the go-ahead single. Although Matt Thornton finished the inning, he surrendered a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring double.
The Mets scored in five innings. The Nats scored only in one. That was the 4th when with bases loaded Wilson Ramos smashed a grand slam. The second of his career. I mention that because I saw his first a few years back. This one was a smash. Everyone knew as soon as Ramos hit it, this ball was going out of the park.

The Nats also left 8 men on base. Probably the most important inning when this happened was the 5th. With two outs the Nats had men on second and third. Scherzer was the batter and grounded out to second. Who knows what would have happened if the Nats had decided to have someone pinch hit for Scherzer. Also in the next inning Scherzer had a balk which sent a runner from second to third. That runner scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Nats are now 5 games back of the Mets with 25 games left to play. The window is closing on the Nats play off chances. They have to win the next two games against the Mets if they have any chance to catch them.

Yesterday showed that that will be very hard to do.

Wilson Ramos' grand slam:

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