May 28, 2010, 12:56 AM EST
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Craig Stammen pitched well enough to win, but that wasn't enough today.
SAN FRANCISCO — What if Adam Dunn's drive off Barry Zito had traveled 12 inches farther and not ricocheted back on the field? What if Nate Schierholtz was unable to reach down and drive Sean Burnett's well-placed slider into center field for a key base hit? What if Willie Harris hadn't grounded into a killer of a double play? And what if Dunn hadn't booted Ryan Rohlinger's broken-bat grounder?
What if only one of those key moments in the Nationals' 5-4 loss to the Giants today had gone the other way? Might we be talking now about an impressive series victory at AT&T Park instead of a frustrating loss?
"It's bear hunting," reliever Tyler Walker said. "Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you. Too bad we were on the bad end of it today."
You can play the woulda-coulda-shoulda game 162 times a year. And in the end, it all usually evens out. But you feel like the majority of Nats' games come down to these one or two key moments, you're not imagining things.
Twenty-seven of the Nationals' 48 games this season have been decided by one or two runs. (They're 16-11 in those games.) More recently, 17 of their last 22 games have been decided by one or two runs. (They're only 8-9 over that span.)
This just seems to be the identity of the 2010 Nats, who rarely put together enough offense to blow someone out but rarely get such poor pitching that they can't keep things close.
Such was the case again this afternoon along McCovey Cove, where a tight ballgame turned the Giants' way during the deciding seventh inning. When the inning began, the Nationals held a 3-2 lead, buoyed by early home runs from Dunn and Josh Willingham and someRead more »
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2013 schedule (subject to change)...
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
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