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Instant analysis: Tigers 5, Nats 1

Jul 31, 2013, 1:31 AM EDT

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Game in a nutshell: The Nationals arrived in Detroit feeling good about themselves after winning three straight against the Mets over the weekend, but they quickly realized they were in for a tougher fight against the Tigers. Stephen Strasburg and Anibal Sanchez engaged in a strong pitchers' duel for five innings, each allowing one run and pitching with high efficiency. But then things unraveled for Strasburg in the sixth, capped by Alex Avila's game-changing grand slam. The Nationals couldn't recover from that, so Strasburg was left to take another tough loss, and the Nats' good weekend vibes were smothered. With the Braves up big against Colorado, the Nationals were in danger of falling 10 games back in the NL East by night's end, with Wednesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline looming.

Hitting lowlight: Three batters into this game, the Nationals looked like they might have something cooking against Sanchez. Bryce Harper's leadoff triple and Ryan Zimmerman's RBI singleRead more »

  1. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:34 AM

    Once again my hopes are crushed. Loss was difficult enough but I actually listened to Carpenter which is painful even when we are doing well. Not much to say, we don't hit the ball, its as simple as that.

  2. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    It was not one bad pitch by Stephen Strasburg at all. It was one bad pitch by Stephen Strasburg when the bases were loaded, which implies that there were probably several bad pitches in that inning. That being said, his whip for the game was only one worse than Sanchez, against a much more difficult line-up than the patty-cake Nats….

  3. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    I don't understand why people live and die with each game. 4 hours ago, people were saying we need to win 1 out of 2 against the Tigers and then win the series against the Brewers. We lost the first game. So what? Gio is going tomorrow and he's been far better than Verlander this year.

  4. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    People live and die proctor,because if there is any hope can't afford to lose anymore.

  5. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    The team is not going to win every game. No team is going to win every game. It's not football.

  6. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Should have thought about that back in April and May instead of continuing to say, it's early, we will be fine….. We will turn it around.

  7. SCNatsFan - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Proctor because we put ourselves in the position to have to win every series

  8. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Proctor – you handle the season with more positivity than anyone on this blog but if I want to be upset about a loss, please don't act like you don't understand. Yes, I was saying win 1 of 2 but my hopes were to keep that streak going. You do it your way, I will do it mine. I am not happy and nothing you say will change that.

  9. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Just a few hours ago everyone agreed a split of this series would be good enough. So we lost the first one. Let's see what happens tomorrow.

  10. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    I don't think anyone anticipated St. Louis tanking 3 games to Atlanta, followed by the Rockies pitchers pitching like they snuck some Coors back with them east of the Rockies.Let's face it. The season is over unless somehow Cincinnati or Atlanta falls apart. It happens some years but it is largely out of the Nats' hands now. Teams have variation up and down among years. Cleveland has; Detroit has; St. Louis has. We all know now, that in spite of the bad luck this year, that this team is really challenged offensively. It is obvious now. Why wasn't it obvious last fall? That being said, I don't think we wanted Josh Hamilton and Atlanta may be sorry in the future if the Uptons don't do any better. We can get rid of Span if necessary without that much trouble, but this team needs bats.

  11. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    Of course we are not going to win every game but guess what. Each game we lose and each game the Braves win makes it that much more difficult to play in the post-season.

  12. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    we are 10 games back, we need to now focus on the wild card but even that is a long-shot…don't go buying Rizzo, if anything, sell a piece or two and re-build.

  13. David Proctor - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    I think we should be focusing on the Reds instead of the Braves tbh. They've been underperforming lately. Got walked-off on by the Padres last night.

  14. Secret wasian man - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    I'm not looking for,post season. I want .500. And even that's starting to look bleak

  15. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    WODL – you talk about the Braves or Reds falling apart. Guess which team is 3 games under .500 and not showing much of hope of putting together a streak that would enable us to gain ground on a team that was falling apart. I will continue to root for this team and will continue to be upset when we lose and continue to be upset when we don't hit and continue to be upset when the Braves or Reds win. It's baseball season.

  16. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:53 AM

    our first and only run tonight was is in the 1st inning…ouch!!!!

  17. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Only in baseball can fans be talking about making a move on a team that is 11 games over .500 when your own team is 3 games under .500 and over 100 games have been played.

  18. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    I don't have any problem with people being positive. I actually think it balances things but just make the point. We don't need to point our fingers and say, "Negative nabob" or whatever. What can drive me nuts though is when people keep saying the offense is fine or that Davey Jones (sic) made a terrible mistake by dropping Span in the line-up. One person has posted on here over and over that the Nats should just wait Span out until he returns to 2009 form. The Ryan Zimmerman folks have all basically gotten quiet, and in spite of Span's mini-offensive this week-end, I think most of us felt, "where has that been?", rather than some sort of enduring gratitude.How few runs do we have to score before people realize that we need another bat and for the other guys to return to form offensively. If this is the form offensively, then that is not good. I still think that we are better than this but I also think that Rizzo made risky moves in the off-season that have made us much weaker on offense. It is hard to believe that we won 98 games last year with Morse in the outfield and Harper in center. With Endy Chavez and Span and Morgan, we might have looked good satcheting across the outfield grass, but we sure didn't win. I would rather win ugly than lose pretty with all these guys like Hairston and Span that Rizzo developed inexplicable man-crushes on around the league.

  19. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    I am sure others mentioned this during the in-game but RIP Gavin. My brother-in-law had the same cancer and I can only hope your family is at peace and will remember the good times.

  20. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    Davey and his "tomorrow's another day" final comment has to end his presser…uggghhhh!

  21. Almazar80 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    I think the Braves showed a lot of heart and the Cards. They showed what championship teams do. When the Nats get to that level, I hope that they can win games after one of their pitchers suffers a gruesome injury. That being said, the Nats, at the very least, will probably slide off people's mind fairly quickly now that football is almost here. Of course, the Skins end up like the Nats (under delivering after an unexpectedly successful season). This is an area starved for a winner. To see the Nats fail miserably is disconcerting to many. What's more unpleasant to see is the seeming lack of great talent in the Nationals. Yes, Boz and other sportswriters touted the great talent in this team. The year, however, has shown their dream to be but a mirage.

  22. karlkolchak - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    WOD – yep, it isn't the loss so much as HOW they lost. I don't blame Strasburg–as has been said many times before around here if the team only scores one run they are not likely to win regardless. Atlanta is about to extend its lead to 10 games, which is virtually insurmountable at this point. THEY are on a true hot streak, actually sweeping a good team. If you look at their remaining schedule, they play six games against St. Louis and Cleveland, but do not play any other games against a team with a winning record. The Nats not making any deadline deals is telling. Management doesn't want to look like they are throwing in the towel, but they don't want to further weaken our already thin prospects list by making a trade that will likely be counterproductive. The fat lady hasn't sung yet, but she is walking on to the stage and is about to hit her mark.

  23. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    sjm308, i posted this in the in game thread…very sad:paul brandt said…apologize if this was mentioned previously but just learned that Gavin Rupp lost his battle with brain cancer…some of you may recall earlier this month that Bryce spent an incredible amount of time with him on a visit to Nats park, article was both incredibly sad and uplifting that Bryce took the kind of time he did to make this kid's day…way sad.July 30, 2013 7:34 PM

  24. do1teach1 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    I think everyone on this board knows that if Stras had given up just a single with the bases loaded, and two runs had scored, we would have lost this game.In recent baseball history, we have the most mental team playing for the worst leadership. It is a fatal combination.Show me the Jeter, the Jordan, the Novitsky, the Bird, the Sugar Ray Leonard, the Montana, the Brooks or Frank Robinson, the Jerry West on this team. The cupboard is bare. It is a team of journeymen who will be forgotten.This group is absolutely comfortable with losing. They miss "mistakes" night after night at the plate, while opposing teams send mistakes out of the park.Soon will come finger-pointing and running for the exits.The management of this team has taken a 98-win team and used it to renew the belief that baseball in Washington is a joke.Thanks, Mike and Davey.

  25. hiramhover - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    Shorter WODL: the Nats need to score more runs.Yes, yes they do.

  26. Unknown - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    Detroit is a broke and broken down city that is waiting to be saved by DC.41,000 fans on a Tuesday night? That's the definition of pathetic. Nothing better to do in that wasteland.

  27. A DC Wonk - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    We all know now, that in spite of the bad luck this year, that this team is really challenged offensively. It is obvious now. Why wasn't it obvious last fall?Because last fall they were hitting the cover off the ball! As a team, they hit a scorching .273 after the ASB, which is a pretty long sustained record of good hitting.Why in the world would anybody think that we'd be heading into August batting .242 as a team?

  28. D'Gourds - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Time to blow it up. Bring up Tyler Moore to play every day. Get rid of the Goon Squad and let some prospects get a chance. What ever the reason, this team just sucks. We should start to explore options for next year. This season isn't toast. It's burnt toast

  29. pedrocerrano - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    IT'S OKAY GUYS, we scored a bunch of runs against the Mets and brewers, so we can hit! we promise!

  30. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    wonk at 10:05pm, was thinking the same thing but did not have the stats so I refrained…thank you!offense last season was not the problem but it is this season and don't tell me Morse would have been the difference, the guy has barely played this year.

  31. karlkolchak - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    Key difference in the offense last year–homers. LaRoche had 33, Desmond and Zim had 25 each and Harper would have hit 25 has he played the whole year. Plus they got 18 from Morse, 17 from Danny E and a total of 15 from reserve players Moore and Bernadina. They hit 194 total, whereas this year they are on pace for about 50 or so less than that. An offense with a lot of low OBP guys designed to emphasize the long ball just isn't going to score much or consistently hitting on average less than one dinger per game.

  32. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    for those that get directv and looking for comic relief after this loss, please turn to channel 273

  33. sjm308 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Tomorrow is another day! See you good folks then.

  34. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    We would have needed six runs to win tonight. If we lost 2-1, I would cry about the offense. Tonight I am enjoying the Pirates against the Cards, because not so long ago the Cards were "the best team in baseball." Now they are "struggling" and Molina is probably injured. I don't consider the season over. There are two wildcards. The Barves are capable of losing 10 of 12, even with their schedule. I will worry about next year next year. P.S., LaRoche has not been himself since before the All-Star Break. He said he was going to use the break to put some weight back on, but I don't think he has. I think he should go on the DL, let Moore come up and play for a couple of weeks.

  35. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:34 AM

    Also, remember that in a double header, the team that wins the first game is at a slight disadvantage for the second game. A day game following a night game is kind of like a double header. Our bullpen is rested. All we need is one or two runs against V, we can do this. Never mind the Barves or the Reds, just win games, get back to .500, then come home.

  36. do1teach1 - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    One of the great frauds of the Nationals has been Davey Johnson's comparison of the Nats to the 1986 Mets.Pull up Wikipedia and look at their entire team, then compare it with the 2013 Nats. It is a joke.If the high-character 1986 Mets played the losing-is-okay 2013 Nats, the Mets would win 95 out of a hundred times.The long drought began tonight. Mark the date.

  37. SCNatsFan - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    Nats lady educate a stupid fan like me; why does the team that wins the first game have a disadvantage in the second game?

  38. paul brandt - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    NL, thanks for the + vibes, I like the confidence, glass more than half full.p.s. agree it's time for ALR to take a few weeks off, his lack of offense is killing us.

  39. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    SCNatsFan, it's not always the case, of course. But often the team that wins the first game uses its top back-end relievers, who are then not available for the second game. That would probably not apply to Benoit, but you never know.

  40. NatsLady - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    The problem with Davey is that he didn't have any sense of urgency in May, June or early July. He kept expressing confidence in the "talent" but he managed as if the Nats were 20 games over .500 and they WEREN'T. Desi said, "We are treating every game as a playoff game." Well, fine–but that needed to be done a month ago, at least. The only player who sensed that was Werth, who started playing his "A": game. And don't kid yourself, playing your "A" game for every game takes a LOT of energy. You want to pace yourself over 162 games, but FIRST you have to build up some kind of cushion and that didn't happen.

  41. JaneB - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    Jeez, unknown. What happened to you today? If we were as good as the Tigers, we'd be sporting huge attendance too.I say Gio takes Justin tomorrow.

  42. biggoose - Jul 31, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Another great move by Davey leaving his hottest hitter (Lombardozzi)on the bench again. Unfortunately the league has figured Rendon out. He can't buy a hit and appears to have been rushed up from AA too soon. They did that with Espinosa and look what happened

  43. John Williford - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Teams that win do so with talent and the belief they can win. The CARDS did it last year and this year it looks like the Braves. They have a habit of winning games that look like they should of lost. The NATS on the other hand, looks like the air was let out of the team once the opponent gets an early lead or scores late. The NATS haven't been the same since Harper ran into the wall in LA. The NATS said when Harper returns from that injury things will turn around. When you pin your hopes of winning on a just turned 20 year old, you have to ask yourself why? The reason is they don't believe in themselves. They didn't know how to overcome adversity like winners do when trouble naturally finds you in a 162 game season.The NATS have too many holes. No slugger. No base stealer. No strong bunters. No bench. No 4-5 solid pitchers. No overall consistency. No runs. So the answer for 2013 is No Way.I'm ok with that. Not every season is going to be great. So lets focus on what we can do this year to find out about players in AAA to see if they are the answers we need for 2014. If you believe in your team and the farm system, let's see it.

  44. karlkolchak - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    John Williford – Nats record since Harper's return: 11-15. Nope, unless he goes on another April-like tear, the Nats really are done.As far as the guys in AAA go, forget 'em. Maybe they could put LaRoche on the DL and see what Tyler Moore can do with a few weeks of playing every day, but other than that I just don't see a whole lot of there there. Kobernus is a Lombardozzi clone at best. Walters has an absolute stone glove (25 errors this year) and I think we see in Moore's example than a young AAA slugger may not be an effective MLB bench player/pinch hitter. Marrero likely already had his last chance and Eury Perez couldn't take a walk if someone was holding a gun to his head. Oh, and then there is Danny E. We won't talk about him.Our farm system has a decent number of pitching prospects, but is utterly devoid of position players who look like they will make any impact on the big club in the next year or two.

  45. John C. - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Look, I get it, the odds are long. So what? They're not zeroThe team has a tough row to hoe, and they have no one to blame but themselves. Their playoff chances are now hanging by a thread. But hanging by a thread is not “done.” Yes, even now. Bigger comebacks have happened in baseball. Recently even. On August 24 (!), 2011, the Cardinals were ten games out of the division lead and 10.5 games behind the Braves for the wild card. After being stuck around .500 all season they went 23-9 down the stretch and not only caught the Braves, they passed them and made the postseason. The Cardinals did all right there, too.It this likely to happen for the Nats? Nope. But fortunately they don’t have quite that big a hill to climb yet. And in the meantime, I prefer hope to despair – especially over things that I have no control over. Which sadly includes baseball teams. So:Go Nats!

  46. John C. - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    do1teach1: I couldn't help but laugh at your phrase "high-character 1986 Mets." You don't know very much about the 1986 Mets, do you?

  47. John C. - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    And a memo to the "blow it up" crowd: young teams often wobble after initial success. The 2008 Rays went from worst-to-first and did the Nats better by making the World Series before losing. They had to win six of their last eight to finish over .500 (84-78). The Rays did not blow up that team, they made adjustments around the margins. And since then they have won 96, 90 and 91 games, and are on a pace to win 96 games again this year. All while competing in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. "Blow it up" is exactly the kind of short term, sports talk radio knee-jerk "do something, ANYTHING" mentality that kept the local NFL team in the wilderness for two decades. I sincerely hope that the Nationals do not follow that example of idiocy, no matter how fervently shouted by the crowd.

  48. JaneB - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    I was a huge fan of the Mets in 1986. I still remember them with love. But "high character" isn't a phrase that pertains to those guys. "Never say die," yeah. But those guys were out of control!

  49. do1teach1 - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    "Never say die" on the field = "high character." I'm not talking about choir boys, I'm talking about winners.

  50. DWS - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    The only "Character" was from Gary Carter (an ex-Expo). Didn't know what to make of him, until he showed them the way to a World Series.

  51. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    Enjoy the games however you choose, of course. But if I may get geeky …"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."

  52. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Jul 31, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    To be fair, the '86 Mets had a lot of characters, if "dead or in jail" is the bar.The Bad Guys Won

  53. Megha Sharma - Jul 31, 2013 at 11:26 AM

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  54. natsfan1a - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Yeah, I'm not going to click on that link, sport.

  55. D'Gourds - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    John C., You're absolutely wrong on this one. I AM looking to the future. I'm not advocating getting rid of young talent, just the old rotted wood that has just stunk up the place this year. Designate Chad Tracy for assignment. Sit Laroche. Put Haren in the BP for the rest of the season. We have a couple more hours to trade off the rotten wood before the trade deadline. I would have no problem trading Haren, Susuki, Laroche, Span, Storen, Tracy, Bernadina, Soriano. I understand that stranger things have happened in baseball, but I would be absolutely floored if the Nats made the playoffs this year. Time to prepare for next year. It would be dumb not to. I'm actually optimistic for the years to come. But I'm realistic about the present.

  56. John C. - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    D'Gourds, there is no market for Haren, Tracy or Bernadina (performance); nor is there a market for LaRoche or Soriano (mixture of performance and contract). You might get a bucket of baseballs for Storen, but it would be hard to ignore his struggles this year. I haven't given up on Span (he's still relatively affordable) and Suzuki, because the team doesn't yet have a better alternative for either. Span could be valuable going forward in the Bernadina/4th OF role, and Suzuki is needed as a backup catcher unless you are comfortable with Solano in that role (I'm not).In the near term, only Tracy really could go without costing the team. The rest you would need a viable alternative for the remainder of the season before moving them (although I'd be open to given Corey Brown a shot at the Bernadina role). Haren has been wobbly, but not terrible, and the AAA alternatives (Roark? Rosenbaum? Maya?) have been unimpressive. Moore and Marrero haven't exactly made a case for pushing LaRoche out yet. And that's important not only from playing out the last cards in the hand and seeing if you draw to an inside straight (however unlikely), but also because the players are still learning to play when there is something at stake. Throwing in the towel doesn't give the team the experience it may need in the future even if they don't make October this year.In the longer term (next year) Haren, Tracy and Bernadina are gone anyway. The team has plenty of time to decide what to do about the rest of the roster, and waiting until the season is over doesn't really cost anything because they're not getting anything that will help for the rest of the players anyway.

  57. Steven Chandler - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    41, 000 people showing up is pathetic? Detroit actually has a team worth watching. Thats more than be said about DC. Detroit fans always support their teams. Win or lose.We all know the city has its issues, but that is hardly a problem exclusive to Detroit. The plight of the city itself has nothing what so ever with people showing up to watch the Tigers. Assuming it does simply shows how disconnected you are from reality.

  58. Steven Chandler - Jul 31, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    41, 000 people showing up is pathetic? Detroit actually has a team worth watching. Thats more than be said about DC. Detroit fans always support their teams. Win or lose.We all know the city has its issues, but that is hardly a problem exclusive to Detroit. The plight of the city itself has nothing what so ever with people showing up to watch the Tigers. Assuming it does simply shows how disconnected you are from reality.

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