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Three negatives in a 6-1 loss

Aug 4, 2010, 5:45 AM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Scott Olsen was done in by a three-batter stretch in the fourth inning tonight.

PHOENIX — There really wasn't one reason the Nationals lost tonight's game, 6-1, to the Diamondbacks. It wasn't one player's fault. The game didn't turn entirely on one pitch. There was no one defining moment.

But there were three negative developments to come out of this game, each of them contributing factors to one of the less-inspiring ballgames of the Nats' season to date.

How did the Nationals' lose this one? Let us count the ways…

The biggest blast of the night (Mark Reynolds' three-run homer in the fourth) came from one of only four right-handed batters in Arizona's starting lineup. But as Olsen pointed out, the big blast was only made possible by his inability to retire the two lefties in front of Reynolds.

Adam LaRoche ignited the Diamondbacks' two-out rally with a single past a diving Alberto Gonzalez at second base. Miguel Montero then drew a walk that ticked off both Olsen and Jim Riggleman.Read more »

  1. pahou - Aug 4, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Colin "little boy" Balester just needs to go far far away and get lost and never find his way back to any baseball team that I am a fan of.

  2. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    First things first for Balester: shave off the porn star mustache and sideburns!

  3. Ernie - Aug 4, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    If Riggleman were managing the Diamondbacks, perhaps Olsen would have pitched a lot better–half of Arizona's lineup would have been benched because of the golden righty/lefty rule, and he would not have had the chance to struggle against left handed batters. Last night was one of the most boring games of the year. A return to the 2009 minor-league pitching was predictably atrocious, swinging at pitches early in the count led to quick innings, and so many double plays! Where do we rank with the rest of the league in that category? I'm afraid that if I to learn how to research these things myself, I'll get even more down about this team…When the most exciting pitching performance of the night is by Doug Slaten, it's a bad game. I was at the INFAMOUS Marquis game in April, and I think the rotation has deteriorated enough that I'm willing to see him return now. I don't think Olsen's short appearance against the Braves should carry him too far–the kid still isn't ready.Finally, I can't wait to hear from the J-Max Man Boy Love Association. Why is he here again?

  4. Big Cat - Aug 4, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    How many people were at the game last night? Seemed like 3000 or so. Why is there mlb in Arizona? Just pitiful.

  5. ivan tuski - Aug 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    hey ernie-you are total negator man, half empty kinda guy and would have fit in great on MASN's 1 and only commercial for their first two seasons complaining about the one small cloud in the sky on the beach in Florida

  6. raymitten - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    What did Balester do in Syracuse to earn the promotion in the first place? His ERA was over 7. He should never have been called up in the first place. I agree totally with Dibble — a guy hitting players in the head is dangerous to them, which is not what baseball is about. And its dangerous that Zim or Dunn are going to be victims of retailiation. Get him out of here.

  7. Anonymous8 - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    I didn't like much about George Steinbrenner but I did like his grooming policy. I agree with Anon at 5:44AM that Balestar needs to shave. He looks like a kid starved for attention.To raymitten's point, what did he do to deserve the promotion. Well, what did Lannan or Maxwell do to deserve their promotions?This is going to be one of the negatives in Rizzo's 2010 tenure that he could never pull the right strings to get the hot hand from AA or AAA up to the Majors to make a difference and I wouldn't throw Bernadina or Morse in that mix as both should have been on the 25 man the entire season.Mark's point #2 is correct that the double plays were rally killers. A shame they couldn't piece together a big inning.I will give Riggleman some credit. I am sure they contemplated putting JMax in the starting lineup against a lefty pitcher and didn't. Good move.

  8. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    Mark,You're doing virtuoso work, but I have a tech suggestion. Check the white balance on your camera, paricularly when you photograph night games. It seems like your pix from Phoenix have a greenish tint, which is probably due to not adjusting for the type of lighting inside the ballpark, especially when the roof is closed. If this is not clear, I am sure one of the photographers who cover the games can explain it.Keep up the good work.Bob Cullen

  9. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    The Nats are totally wasting a roster spot on Collin Balester, just like they continue to do on Justin Maxwell. Both of these guys will never be major leaguers. Send them to the Logan Kensing graveyard now.

  10. erocks33 - Aug 4, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Mark — I don't think Balester was "successful enough to earn a promotion to the majors." I believe he was called up because the Nats needed help in the bullpen and Balester was the only reliever left in Syracuse that was still on the 40-man roster. Balester should have been DFA'd earlier this season. He is taking up a valuable spot on the 40-man roster (and now he's wasting a spot on the 25-man roster). When he was taken out of the rotation in SYR is when the Nast should have DFA'd him. No team would have claimed him and the Nats then could have re-signed him to a minor-league deal and kept him all year in SYR learning to pitch.I used to have hope for Balester, but these past two seasons have shown me that he is just not mentally capable of pitching in the major league.

  11. Dave - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    After the beaning of Weeks then Reynolds last night I couldn't watch. . . turned the channel until he was pulled.

  12. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    I never understood the appeal of Bally Star as a run-an-inning starting pitcher. I have even less appetite for the guy as a head-hunting 95 mph reliever. Mr. Bally Star, SYR, on line 2.

  13. Doc - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    It would be nice to see Olsen succeed, by I agree with previous commenters that he is not ready to pitch in the Bigs. After a game and a half back in the rotation, he threw his first series of sliders in the 6th inning. Don't think a pitcher can get by on a change and a fastball—particularly when the fastball is 88-90.

  14. Steve M. - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    After Balestar plunked Reynolds in the head, you can hear someone from behind homeplate go "It is his Birthday!".Great birthday present seeing your life flash in front of your eyes.I agree with the rest here, not sure if Balestar is long for the MLB. Can he take Justin Maxwell with him?

  15. Steve M. - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Balestar teammate Garrett Mock will make a start for Hagerstown tonight. Mock is another Rizzo mancrush. I guess we will see him shortly. Add him back to the depth chart!

  16. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Mock is another Rizzo mancrush. I guess we will see him shortly. Add him back to the depth chart!Its the Riggleman mancrushes like Guzman, Harris, and Maxwell that hurt this club … and to some extent Lannan. Riggleman wanted him over Marquis … Marquis looks better but the stunt he pulled in ST … Still did you see/hear the glowing, profuse accolades by Riggleman for Guzman? Compare to what Rizzo said about him. That he was a wonderful human being and a great man and the best teammate? I've never heard him say that about anyone else on this team he has managed. That is real man crush mode and why IMHO I can't see Riggleman ever leading this team to a record over .500.

  17. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Change profuse to effusive in the comment above … my bad.

  18. natsfan1a - Aug 4, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Perhaps Balester needs to focus less on his 'stache, blog, tweets, and what have you and more on his game. I don't ever want to see him bean another batter. No way, no how. Painful to watch, and I really feel for those guys.

  19. natsfan1a - Aug 4, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    On a related note, interesting to see Church chatting with Reynolds in the dugout afterwards. If memory serves, Church was out for some time with a concussion due to an on-field collision as a Met.

  20. Anonymous - Aug 4, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Mark -In last night's game log you commented about how some of the defensive plays early were keeping the Nats in the game ..Did you notice the atrocious throw that Nyjer Morgan made as the Diamondbacks scored their last run (did it make it even half-way back to the infield before it hit the ground?)?Desmond also bobbled a made-for-a-double play flip from Gonzales in the late innings. I saw the look on Slaten's face after that one and was sure that there was going to be a confrontation in the dugout over giving away extra outs.As others have noticed, the defense has got to get better before the Nats can contend.Mark in Arlington





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