Jun 17, 2010, 3:30 AM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez's uncharacteristic wildness cost the Nationals tonight.
DETROIT — The veteran right-hander couldn't find the strike zone during one laborious inning that did him in. The lineup could only muster two good swings against the opposing ace, and unfortunately both came with the bases empty.
There wasn't much else to tonight's 8-3 loss to the Tigers. This one boiled down to Livan Hernandez's uncharacteristic wildness and Justin Verlander's dominance against a lineup that was mostly overmatched (aside from Adam Dunn and Roger Bernadina's solo homers).
And there's no shame in that. Justin Verlander is supposed to beat Livan Hernandez most times they face each other.
But it becomes a bit more disturbing when this happens in the middle of a growing stretch of poor games by a Nationals squad that not long ago was being touted as one of baseball's biggest surprises but suddenly is playing like a last-place team.
Did you know the Nats have now lost 20 of their last 31 games? Yep, since reaching the high-water mark of 20-15 back on May 13 in Colorado, they've played at a .355 clip. They've been stuck in last place in the NL East for the better part of two weeks.
"Earlier, I thought we had run into some bad luck. Things weren't going our way," Jim Riggleman said. "But we've played about the way our record indicates. That's about what we are right now. Our record says it."
No one's debating that point. The Nationals are a team capable of playing good baseball on any given night. They just don't seem to play good baseball more than a few times a week, especially when StephenRead more »
NLDS: NATIONALS VS. GIANTS
SAT: Game 2 at Washington, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3 at San Francisco, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4 at San Francisco, TBA (FS1)*
THU: Game 5 at Washington, TBA (FS1)*
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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