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Nats fall short of comeback vs. Phillies

Sep 15, 2013, 1:21 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

With the clock ticking down on their 2013 season, the Washington Nationals have put themselves in an unfortunate position where every little mistake and miscue in a nail-biting defeat becomes something much larger than it really is.

In the Nats’ 5-4 loss to the Phillies, the players harped back on several minor moments in what amounted to a 3 ½ hour battle of a game.

One pitch by Gio Gonzalez did him in, he said. One baserunning mistake by Ian Desmond was, in his eyes, the biggest of his major league career. And one questionable called strike three ripped the heart out of a club on the cusp of a comeback.

But for the Nationals, their defeat on Saturday night was rooted in a variety of reasons. The team that entered the game having won seven straight reverted back to the mental errors that put them in this bind. They squandered chances with runners in scoring position, like they have for much of the year, and saw their bullpen fail to stop the bleeding, like it has for much of the year.

It was just one game, loss No. 70, but with the Cincinnati Reds winning on Saturday, they now stand 5 ½ games out of the final NL Wild Card spot. 14 games remain and they can’t afford the little mistakes, much less many of them.

“I still thought we had a chance to come back on em,” Davey Johnson said. “We had our opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize.”

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  1. Joe Seamhead - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:12 AM

    You can’t pin this one on one player, play, or call. There were several missed opportunities, by several players that have been coming through over the last month. I put a lot of the blame on Hamels and Paplebon. They are both talented major leaguers and each pitched good enough to beat us.

    Interesting fact: Denard Span now leads the team in hits. (I wish he had gotten a few more of them in July).

  2. laddieblahblah - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:27 AM

    Tough one for the Nats and their faithful last night, especially since the offense put 4 runs on the board – they win over 80% of the time when that happens. But not last night. If the Phils are going to beat you, then they are likely to do it with either Ruiz or Utley, or both. That’s what they get paid for, and the Phils were all smiles after the game. Hats off to Ruiz and Utley for doing their job.

    The Nats will come back at them today. The odds against the good guys just got longer yesterday. Today is a must-win, with the Braves coming to town tomorrow.

  3. NatsLady - Sep 15, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    I wish Gio had pitched better, and I’m not 100% buying the “familiarity” argument–that works both ways. We’ve seen Colbert forever, and Papelbon plenty.

    Agree it’s not on one player or one ump’s call. That’s the nature of one-run losses, especially with 2 for 16 RISP and 11 LOB. There were LOTS of chances, it’s not like Colbert came out with no-hit stuff. I really, really hate when you get a lead-off double and can’t bring the run in.

    Interesting comments from the guys, they know they have to be “on alert” for every play now, no mental mistakes. ATL is not playing good ball right now, they are losing to bad teams. I say we sweep and let them clinch in Chicago…

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    waah, I wanna go to playoffs.

  5. MicheleS - Sep 15, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    OY.. I am not blaming it on anyone.. too many missed opportunities, but I would have liked to have taken it to Colbert and Papelblown. Tools.

    Anyway.. back to the Park today.

    For those of you with Cell Phones, iPads, The Nats now have Charging Stations!!!! There is one by the Ben’s Chili Bowl near Section 108, One outside the PNC Diamond Club Near the Women’s Bathroom, and one over by 134 by the women’s bathroom. Not sure if they are any where else, those were just the ones I saw.

    • Candide - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      …or you could just leave for the park with your phone fully charged…

      My phone – Motorola Atrix HD (AT&T) – comes stock with a seriously underpowered battery. It can die by noon with normal use. I found out the Atrix is almost exactly the same phone as a Motorola Verizon droid Razr Maxx that packs a much stronger battery. The battery is not supposed to be replaceable, but with some patience and the right tool and a little help from Al Gore’s Amazing Internet, you can get the phone open and replace the battery. I did it for Cunegonde’s Atrix when she got it last year, and for mine when I got the same phone a month or so ago.

      Result: I can run the phone all day long and still be at about 50% when I recharge it overnight, even while checking MLB At Bat repeatedly.

    • nats128 - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:52 AM

      Thats all great if I could get good cell coverage to use my phone at the park. I enjoy making posts from the game and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt.

      • Candide - Sep 15, 2013 at 9:07 AM

        FWIW… I seem to get decent coverage on wifi before the game, but it gets worse and worse once the game starts; I guess the guest net work gets crowded with teenage girls doing selfies and tweeting them to all their friends who don’t have enough selfies yet.. At that point, I shut off wifi and go straight to cell. That way my phone doesn’t start getting data through wifi, then, when it loses the wifi signal, spend time trying to reestablish the cell data link. Seems to help, though it’s not 100%.

        That way I can send selfies to all my friends who don’t have enough selfies of me yet.

        Sometimes I even watch the game… ;-)

  6. Section 222 - Sep 15, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    That’s pretty cool MicheleS. Maybe someday they’ll improve the Wi-Fi. I usually turn my Wi-Fi off (since the signal stinks anyway) and that helps conserve the battery a bit.

    Another option is something like this:

    Hoping we’re not in a reverse lock situation today with JZnn vs. someone I’ve never heard of.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 15, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Just looking at free agent options for fifth starter. I still like Josh Johnson.

    maybe Scott Kazmir since we may need a lefty if RD remains injured.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      I think this off-season you go with the guys you have sans Haren, and spend that money on extending contracts and building the bench with a legit RH 4th outfielder.

      If Rizzo can upgrade 1st and trade LaRoche that can be pivotal to the teams success just easier said than done.

      Other issue of course is Detwiler’s health.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        I wouldn’t be too comfortable with Jordan as fifth pitcher and Karns and co as backup. I love them but I want a dominating starting rotation. Yeah, I know Kazmir and Johnson don’t make us that but I want Nationals to get someone from outside given that we are not sure if RD will be 100% by opening day. I don’t want to hear that RD is still playing ST games while rest of the team is playing big league schedule (like RG3 last weekend).

      • Jw - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:50 AM

        Detwiler has never been a pitcher who can be counted on. His time has passed. Trade bait.

      • Steady Eddie - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        Ghost, Agree on the starting pitching. Very few this season except for e.g., NatsJack Saw Taylor Jordan as a possible rotation entry, and I don’t think even he saw him coming up and being effective this season. I see below that Drew beat me to the punch and listed a number of the potential competitors in spring training for a starting pitching spot. The point is that the starters pipeline is finally at the point of generating That we don’t need the one year rent a gamble that we’ve had with EJax and Haren. Spend the money on re-signings like Drew said, and I think JZimm may not come quite as expensively as he anticipated after his erratic season this year.

      • Steady Eddie - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:38 AM

        And on bulking up the bench with one or two solid free-agent signings.

  8. Drew - Sep 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    The guys played with a lot of heart.

    I just wish Werth had bunted Zim to third. Desmond’s fly would have scored the tying run.

    As for the fifth starter, just stop. How many times must we pay $11 to $13 million for mediocrity?

    You have Detwiler, Jordan, Roark and Karns. You have Cole and Ray at AA.

    Coming next are Purke, Solis, Schwartz, Johansen, Giolito. You also have Clay, Treinen and Taylor Hill.

    The thing the Nats don’t need is starting pitching. Focus on locking up JZim and Desmond.

  9. Sonny G 10 - Sep 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Greetings friends from Baine, WA. We’re very near the Canadian border here. I didn’t get to check in on the game yesterday, and was sorry to see that we lost to Hammels. Hammels can be tough, but it sounds like we beat ourselves this time. All in all, though, I am happy with the strong finish to the season.

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