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Instant analysis: Cardinals 8, Nats 0

Apr 17, 2014, 10:17 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: How about “Game in a word” instead of a “nutshell?” The word: U-G-L-Y. The Nationals trailed 3-0 in the first inning (yet again). They played some stupendously sloppy defense (yet again). And they let things get out of hand late.

Taylor Jordan was roughed up early, with some major assists — er, bad choice of words there — from his defense. Ian Desmond was charged with two more errors, giving him an MLB-high seven on the young season. The Nationals committed four total errors in the game, giving them a staggering 20 in only 16 games to begin 2014.

Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, was completely in control for the Cardinals. The veteran right-hander allowed a high chopper to Desmond in the bottom of the second, and then nothing else until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Wainwright even had two hits, drew a walk and arguably had five productive plate appearances.

Put it all together, and you’ve got the worst ballgame of the year for the Nationals. Really, one of the worst ballgames in Nationals history, which is saying something.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: Well, the only highlight was Desmond’s mile-high chopper over the mound in the bottom of the second, which proved to be the Nationals’ lone hit off Wainwright until Adam LaRoche’s single with two outs in the ninth. They were completely shut down by the Cardinals right-hander, who took complete control of the game. It was as if once his teammates gave him a comfortable lead, Wainwright said: “OK, boys. I’ll take it from here.” The Nats never threatened against the veteran right-hander, who very much embodies the definition of an ace.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: He certainly wasn’t helped at all by his defense, but Jordan didn’t do a whole lot to help his own cause, either. The young right-hander gave up plenty of hard-hit balls, put three batters on base either via walk or hit-by-pitch, had a shaky moment in the field himself on a first-inning bunt and saw his fastball velocity dip into the high-80s. With his pitch count at 96 and the bases loaded in the sixth, Jordan’s night came to an abrupt end. And with Doug Fister now moving closer to a return from the DL, Jordan has to understand every one of his starts amounts to an audition for a job.

FIELDING LOWLIGHT: Ugh, where to begin? Take your pick. Desmond booted the first ball in play of the night, then bounced a throw later for his sixth and seventh errors of the young season. Danny Espinosa was charged with his own error when he dropped the ball trying to turn a double play, though that’s a play that until this season had never been called by umpires, so it’s hard to fault him too much. The lowest of the lowlights in the field, though, came on a play in which no error was charged and none of three runners on base at the time advanced. But the combination of Blake Treinen’s pitch crossing up Jose Lobaton, then bouncing all the way to Adam LaRoche, who passed up a chance to throw a trailing runner out. That was a Little League play of the highest order.

KEY STAT: The Nationals have allowed at least three runs in the first two innings of seven games this season. They’ve allowed at least three runs in the first inning in four of their last six games.

UP NEXT: The series continues Friday night when the Nationals go up against another tough Cardinals right-hander: Michael Wacha, who came within inches of no-hitting them last September in St. Louis. Gio Gonzalez gets the start for the Nats, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

  1. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Let this hideous loss of and try to get them tomorrow…

  2. David Proctor - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Gio will step up tomorrow. When’s the last time Gio had two clunkers in a row? I can’t remember it ever happening.

    I hope the defense shows up tomorrow.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:21 PM

      Taylor Jordan is not making me feel gooey inside… Even though he has that sinker…

      At this point, SS, Fister, Gio Tanner and Fister will be the starting 5 rotation…

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        Fister going to take his turn and Jordan Zimmermann’s? :)

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        Dang edit button…. Lol..

        SS, Gio, Jordan Zimm’nn, Fister Roark

      • scmargenau - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        U mean Zimm

  3. Candide - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    (Reposting from the game thread.)

    Cunegonde and I went inside during the 5th inning. It was COLD there.

    One highlight – I finally got to introduce Cunegonde and MicheleS, who was in the next section over from us. So there was that.

    Apart from that, just about the worst-played game I’ve ever attended. What a sloppy, sloppy team tonight.

    We finally left at the end of the 6th. We were far from the last.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      You all have to let me know the next game everyone attends… Me and my CFO have been trying to figure out which game we are going to together… Thinking about a game in June, as if the Nats lose, at least it won’t be cold outside…

  4. Sonny G 10 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Get some sleep tonight boys and get ready to rock tomorrow.

  5. Candide - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Mrsb, get thee to the NIDO spreadsheet at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArHMZg5A8wSXdGViSG8xUGQxUlZzaUVxekJFNHFRcEE#gid=12

    The “Who’s Going” tab is the place to find out who’s going (duh) to which games. And as it turns out, there’s a blank line there (right above MicheleS) where you can enter your own name and start posting the games you’ll be at.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      I’m going to hAve to add myself when I get to a PC and save the page… It’s not editable (that’s a word, eh) on my iPad….

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Mrs B, I took the liberty. You’re on the list.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:03 PM

        I also went and added you (as “Mrs B”) to the drinks schedule, while I was in there.

  6. scmargenau - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Ray fired up about rule – Matt PISSED

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      Matt says film showed Espy never had control of the ball.
      ???

  7. David Proctor - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Matt is very angry in the postgame show right now.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      I cut it off… Need some comedy in my life… Watching The Heat…

      What did he say?

  8. manassasnatsfan - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Pissed, but take care of business. Being pissed, but not take of things is a waste of time.

  9. npb99 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Why don’t they put Detwiler back in the rotation? He’s a better pitcher than Jordan.

  10. scmargenau - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Interesting. They thought espi didn’t control ball (MW)

  11. Sonny G 10 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Just listened to MW’s post-game. I love the way he handles the media. Doesn’t throw anybody under the bus.

  12. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Pssst, Mark–Didn’t LaRoche get a hit in the 9th? ;)

    Has anyone here quit smoking? Because we heard Desi quit dipping, and I wonder if it affected his focus and maybe even his co-ordination. Might just have to wait out the “withdrawal.”

    • David Proctor - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      That’s an interesting theory.

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      It sure looked like he had some kind of a wad in his cheek on a profile shot when he was in on a conference on the mound. Maybe it was gum.

      • NatsLady - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:49 PM

        Desi posted a photo of tobacco-flavored chewing gum the other day.

      • Candide - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        Tobacco-flavored gum?

        I’m sorry, but that is a crime against God and man.

      • NatsNut - Apr 18, 2014 at 5:35 AM

        It’s tobacco-SHAPED chewing gum, not tobacco flavored, silly goose.

      • natsfan1a - Apr 18, 2014 at 9:05 AM

        As NN noted, it’s shredded like tobacco, not flavored like it.

        http://www.bigleaguechew.com/about.html

        (Hat tip NN and Jim Bouton for the assist.)

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      NL, bet Mark had the story written before the end of the game and just forgot to update it.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      Half the reason people use tobacco is the increased focus and alertness from nicotine.

    • Doc - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      Good point NL.

      I was thinking the same thing. Personally, I think that it is an issue.

      All those years chew gave Desi focus, much like a psychostimulant med such as Ritalin.

      Although quite frankly, I’d rather he make some errors than keep on dipping—-which is a dead end, in more ways than one! Maybe try drinking more coffee.

      • NatsLady - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        I agree. That’s why I feel we should just wait out the withdrawal, if in fact that’s what it is.

  13. David Proctor - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:47 PM

    Desmond is being as accountable as always.

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 1m
    Strong stuff from Ian Desmond postgame. Said that if he wants to one day be the captain of this team – “and I do” – he needs to play better

    Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko 24s
    Desmond said it’s fair to ask questions about #Nats’ lack of success against good teams. Says they need to fix it.

  14. NatsLady - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    You are going to lose games when your No. 5 guy starts. You are going to lose games when Wainwright starts. There are no moral victories, and it’s a lot easier to forget 9-0 than 1-0.

    The most annoying thing will be the jabber-jabber about how the Nats “can’t beat” good teams. How about we give it a month or two before buying into that narrative. Ron Roeneke (Brewers) gave a long dissertation on the Buster Olney’s podcast about he doesn’t really care about his team’s record against the Cardinals (which is pretty pitiful)–until the postseason. His goal is to win more games than they do.

    Gio, JZ and Stras need to step up now, no excuses.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Thanks NL. +1 on your comments.

    • Candide - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:20 PM

      The most annoying thing will be the jabber-jabber about how the Nats “can’t beat” good teams.

      It’s annoying, yes, but the Nats have played seven games against good teams this season and lost six of them. Maybe it’s wrong to say they CAN’T beat the good teams, but so far, they haven’t.

      Twenty errors in 16 games – that’s like giving the other guys six extra innings to score runs. You can get away with that with the Mets and the Marlins, but the Barves and Cards will punish you for it – as we’ve seen repeatedly this season.

  15. topnat - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    If Williams wants to send a message to his team Desmond sits tomorrow. No one is above the law. Perform or the next man gets a shot. Not permanent, just a little eye opener.
    I wonder if the Cardinals have the strobe light and fog machine fired up after a blow out win over an inferior team?
    Can’t see Yadier allowing that.
    Look across the field boys, that is a professional team at work over there. Pay attention.

    • David Proctor - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      As someone who has watched Cardinals postgame shows before, yes they do. They have the music blaring and all. And so did the 2012 Nats. Try again.

  16. scnatsfan - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    Our staff was supposed to be our strength for God’s sake start showing it

  17. sunshinebobby - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Desmond, Werth, Harper, Gio: Stand-up guys. Always available to talk after a game.

    Matty Boy was barely civil. Seems shell-shocked. Not sure Matty Marine’s approach is the right one for this team’s psyche. Just watching him on TV makes me nervous.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      I’m really surprised at your take sunshine. I really thought Matty Boy handled the media very well. He is not making a big deal with the errors to the players because that will cause them to press even harder. The only way through this mess is to not make a big deal of it and Matt knows this. Besides, us fans will do all the trash talking and making a big deal out of it. The only way out of this is to forget today’s game and start fresh tomorrow. Anything else from the team’s point of view will be counter-productive.

  18. Eugene in Oregon - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Losing to Adam Wainwright is nothing to be ashamed of. Ditto getting shut out by Mr. Wainwright. But multiple games in which you give up three, four, and five runs in the first inning or two? And the combination of mental and fielding errors? As someone wrote above, it doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. I keep telling myself it’s still early — today marked only the 10% mark in the season — but I can’t help but be a bit nervous given the way some of these games are playing themselves out.

  19. sunshinebobby - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Shades of H-Rod in the Twins-Blue Jays second game:

    Minnesota scored three straight runs on wild pitches by the Toronto Blue Jays’ Sergio Santos in the eighth inning,

    • NatsLady - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      EIGHT, count ‘em, EIGHT walks. Game went from 5-3 Jays to 9-5 Twins with one hit in the inning.

  20. topnat - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    DP, you saw a fog machine and strobe light on a post game show? Really?
    Try again.

    • David Proctor - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      I saw them celebrating their win rather boisterously. The exact equipment used is besides the point. That’s pretty standard in baseball. You’re making an issue about nothing

  21. 6ID20 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    So what have we learned about this team after 16 games? That slow start and stuff in 2013, not Davey’s fault.

    • David Proctor - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:17 PM

      I said that in 2013. Davey never should’ve been scapegoated by the fanbase.

      • 6ID20 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:45 PM

        Careful. Back-patting frowned upon here.

  22. stoatva - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    Hope that will prove to be the worst game I see all year. Also the coldest.

  23. RickH - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Not a great night for my first game of the season … but still enjoyed being down there.

    • npb99 - Apr 18, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      I bought tickets for tomorrow’s game when it was 4-0 tonight, and my family was telling me to stop cursing at the t.v. I’m frustrated with this team, but still believe in them.

  24. Natsfool - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    Have they taken a series from the Cards, Braves, and Dodgers since Game 5? I don’t think they can beat these teams. But it’s both mental and inferior talent.

  25. thenatom - Apr 18, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    Well, the aces are going the next three days. Let’s take 2 of 3. As for today, maybe rest had something to do with it? FP mentioned last night that they wouldn’t get in until 3 am. Cards played 5 hours earlier than the Nats yesterday.

  26. habs3 - Apr 18, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    I think Taylor’s audition is over.

    You can toss the chewing tobacco, late arrival home, excuses aside. This team over 16 games has shown that it is a poor fielding team. This team either lacks skill or is not focused. Whatever the reason they are going down the same path as the as the 2013 version .

    I do not want to hear the “its still early” BS. That reasoning did not work last year and it will not work this year. This team is mentally weak.

    • therealjohnc - Apr 18, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      I thought Taylor Jordan was OK last night. Not great, but OK. He didn’t give up a lot of hard contact, but the contact he gave up either resulted in cheap hits (Peralta’s floating, lob toss double that hit just inside the LF line; another floater just over Desmond’s glove) or circus music from the defense. It wasn’t just the errors; there were so many bad plays that weren’t even scored as errors. On Peralta’s double, Harper made a bullet throw out of the corner that Espinosa fumbled on what would have been a bang-bang play at second. No one has even mentioned Desmond having a “Hamlet” moment on a grounder in the hole (by Wainwright, of all people) with a runner on first. Desmond goes to his backhand, picks it, and: thinks about throwing to second, doesn’t; thinks about throwing to first; doesn’t; and finally checks to see if the runner from first overran second, which he hadn’t. And so Desmond ended up just standing there holding onto a fairly routine grounder off the bat of the opposing pitcher. Somehow that ended up being scored as a hit.

      That’s not Jordan’s fault. If his team (including Taylor Jordan fielding his position) had played defense behind him, we’re talking about a hard luck loss (say 2-0) loss. With a bit more luck on batted balls in play, it would have been a tight, tense scoreless affair and who knows what happens next? But alas, the circus music came to Nats Town instead.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 43 --
ATLANTA 54 46 2.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
NEW YORK 47 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 13.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 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: 1:30 p.m., 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.

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