Sep 15, 2013, 1:21 AM EDT
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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