May 29, 2011, 11:08 PM EDT
In a lot of ways, the Nationals are close. Really close, in fact, to playing .500 ball. Just about every game they play seems to be tight, usually decided by one clutch at-bat or one important pitch. Sometimes, it comes down to a break, good or bad.
There is, however, another way to look at this club right now. After an excruciating, 5-4 loss to the Padres on Sunday, the Nationals fell to 5-11 in one-run games this season. Good teams simply don’t lose so many close games. Good teams do the little things it takes to turn one-run losses into one-run victories.
So, which is it? Are the Nationals simply unlucky and poised to enjoy a breakthrough at some point? Or are they simply not a good enough team to deserve breaks?
“It’s not about breaks, it’s about playing baseball the right way,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “I honestly don’t know. It’s not luck. We’re not unlucky. We have runners in scoring position, and we can’t score them. It starts with me. I left runners in scoring position out there. I’ve been leaving runners out there. I’ve got to do something different. We’ve all got to do something different.”
All these agonizing losses are wearing on a clubhouse full of players that has run out of ways to describe their frustration. Some have tried to remain positive all along, insisting good things are bound to happen
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