Aug 31, 2013, 12:26 AM EDT
If the Nationals are going to complete a gargantuan comeback and actually make the postseason after falling 6 games below the .500 mark in early August — and the odds still are decidedly stacked against them doing it — they can’t afford to come up short in clutch situations. They can’t afford to make poor decisions at critical points of ballgames. And they certainly can’t offer up anything less than 100 percent of their effort at any point between now and September 29.
The Nationals struggled in all three departments Friday night during a 3-2 loss to the Mets that felt like a golden opportunity squandered. Sure, they might have lost this game anyway. And every loss they suffer over the next four weeks is going to loom large.
But there was something about the way this one played out in the final two innings that might have left more of a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths than previous losses.
The two critical moments involved two of their biggest stars: Ryan Zimmerman, who allowed the eventual decisive run to score on an ill-advised throw in the top of the eighth, and Bryce Harper, who had a couple of questionable swings in a huge spot in the bottom of the eighth and then failed to hustle down the first-base line upon grounding out to kill the rally.
“The thing about Bryce right now that’s tough: He gets frustrated,” said bench coach Randy Knorr, who had to take over for an ill Davey Johnson mid-game. “I don’t think he does it intentionally, but he’s gonna have to start picking it up a little bit, because we’ve got everybody else doing it. He gets frustrated at times and it just comes out of him. It’s something we’ve got to fix.”
NL EAST STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 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.
Follow us on Twitter
- Watching baseball with Obama
- Report: Nats 'making progress' in trade for All-Star closer
- Around the NL East: Are Mets moves enough to catch Nats?
- Troy Tulowitzki traded to AL East team in blockbuster deal
- Where will Nationals get their relief from?
- Werth officially set to return from DL vs. Miami
- Nats' NL East rival trades for former fan favorite Clippard
- State of the Nats: Thinking big before the trade deadline?
- Strasburg to take big step in rehab on Wednesday
- Report: Padres wanted ex-prospect back from Nats in Kimbrel trade