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All good things must come to an end

Aug 23, 2014, 12:42 AM EDT

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There was a point late in Friday night’s game on South Capitol Street when the Nationals and a crowd of 33,718 felt like a comeback was possible, maybe even likely.

Shoot, that’s all anyone around here had known for the previous week-and-a-half, when the hottest team in the majors kept finding ways to win ballgames, no matter the obstacles. Given all that, there was plenty of reason to think a 10-game winning streak would become an 11-game winning streak by night’s end.

“Yeah, when the score was 4-2, I think everybody believed we still have a chance to win this game,” center fielder Denard Span said. “When it got to 10-2, we were like: ‘OK, time to turn the page and get ready to try to start another streak.'”

All good things must come to an end sometime, and so it was that the Great Winning Streak of August 2014 came to a sudden and disappointing end Friday night in the form of a 10-3 shellacking at the hands of the Giants. The final score wasn’t entirely indicative of the game as a whole, which was tight until the Nationals’ bullpen gave up six runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but it was nonetheless a bit of a shock to a ballclub that had been unable to do any wrong for quite some time.

“One of those days,” manager Matt Williams said. “Kind of a clunker all around.”

For this one night, the Nationals bore little resemblance to the team that had just matched the franchise record for consecutive wins. The lineup was held firmly in check by longtime nemesis Tim Hudson. The defense was sloppy. A baserunning blunder killed potential momentum. The bullpen blew up late. And the club’s most-reliable starter turned in one of his worst performances of the season.

It’s a sign of just how great Doug Fister has been that a 6-inning, 4-run outing would be considered poor, but this was out of character for the right-hander, who served up a pair of home runs on sinkers that were left up in the zone.

“The whole day, I was battling myself,” he said. “That’s a constant challenge for me, to constantly keep the ball down and on the corners. It’s something I have to do. If not, I have to pay for it. And that’s what happened.”

Fister pitched with a row of stitches down the left side of his neck, clear for anybody watching on TV to see, and he revealed afterward he had “some skin cancer removed a couple days ago.” The 30-year-old offered no more detail than that, other than to say he’s fine and that the procedure “had no effect” on his performance in this game.

Teammates had nothing but praise for Fister, who over his previous 10 starts was 7-1 with a 1.57 ERA, developing into the ace of a star-studded rotation.

“You haven’t seen that happen all year, give up two home runs,” Span said. “I think the last time was maybe St. Louis (on June 15). I mean, it’s going to happen. That’s a good lineup over there. He still pitched good, in my opinion. He gave us a chance to win.”

The Nationals had been giving themselves chances to win for 10 days, and for 10 days they found a way to make the most of those opportunities. When it finally didn’t happen Friday, they weren’t exactly sure how to react. They barely remembered the last time they made the slow trudge down the dugout tunnel and back to a quiet clubhouse.

“We haven’t had that feeling in a while, fortunately,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “Tough loss, no question, just the way we got beat. Other than that, looking back, it was an awesome stretch. That’s what guys were talking about after the game: Just start up a new one.”

That was the prevailing sentiment throughout the clubhouse afterward. All those wins left them hungry for even more.

“Those don’t come around very often,” Williams said. “It’s pretty rare to see 10 in a row. But we’ve got to get back to work tomorrow and see if we can start another one.”

  1. laddieblahblah - Aug 23, 2014 at 3:58 AM

    Boo hoo!

    The offense kept its part of the bargain by scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th, but the pitching staff forgot, this time, to hold the bad guys to only 2 runs. This one is on them.

  2. natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    Ugh, just saw this, as I went to bed before the game ended. I did deduce that it was an incision but my mind did not go there. Hope that they got it all and it was of a nonmelanoma type.

    “Fister pitched with a row of stitches down the left side of his neck, clear for anybody watching on TV to see, and he revealed afterward he had “some skin cancer removed a couple days ago.” The 30-year-old offered no more detail than that, other than to say he’s fine and that the procedure “had no effect” on his performance in this game.”

  3. veejh - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    And to think I thought we’d go 46-0 for the rest of the season. Meh.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    So is lot w the cheapest parking lot? Thanks !

    • Faraz Shaikh - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:07 AM

      And how quickly it fills up? When should I go for today’s 4 pm start?

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:45 AM

        I haven’t found any shortage of parking around the stadium. We often park over near the concrete plant on the west side of the park for $20, but there are also quite a few inside lots in the office building for $20 near the stadium around 1st & L St.

      • 6ID20 - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:47 AM

        Lot W is half the size it used to be. I usually get there 1.5-2 hours before the game, and it’s often already half filled. Suggest you buy your parking online before you head down. Not sure they accept walk-in…er, drive-in parkers.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        Lot W is $10, thus the cheapest lot. I agree that you may want to purchase on line ahead of time. We always get down early, not because of the parking, but it’s fun to be at the park early.

    • wearenationals - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      Some of the cash lots next to the Nats-sponsored parking lots are most times cheaper and have plenty of spaces (Even lot F or L). But then again we make it a day event and arrive very early (at least 1.5 – 2 hrs before first pitch) to watch batting practice and get a table at the Red Porch.

  5. rayvil01 - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    That’s baseball. Hated to see them sloppy. But, understandable after this week. The team is ready for a day off.

    Go get ‘em today!

  6. ArVAFan - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Darn. I should have stayed in Scotland. They won the whole time I was over there, and as soon as I get back they lose. Oh, well, today is another game . . . and I’ll be there in person (instead of checking the score at 2 a.m. under the covers so as not to wake my traveling companion).

    • ArVAFan - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      I’ll be there with my shirt on, Plaza level of 313, if anyone wants to stop by to say “hi.”

      • natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM

        I’ll be there, too, but will be sitting with husband’s colleague and spouse, so not sure I’ll stop by the tables before the game.

      • sjm308 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        Will try and stop by
        There are a bunch of table but I will look for your shirt
        Hope Scotland was great, my youngest got his masters at U. Of Glasgow & I enjoyed my visits

      • natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        Would be great to finally meet you, sjm! In case I do happen to stop by, will be wearing my white t-shirt with the silver curly W’s, and an off-white cap with a red curly W (and RFK fireworks pin).

  7. Doc - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    It was a totally fun ride!

    Let’s start another one!

    The A bullpen is rested and ready to shut down the Gigantes; they ain’t gonna be so lucky to-night.

    Wad’s with this Hudson dude? Time for a Congressional Investigation on this SOB ruining our fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    I had this good feeling of Fister starting that #11 was possible. Time to get a new winning streak going.

  9. micksback1 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

    thinking of George Harrison with the streak over

    lol

    • Doc - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      Thanks, Mick!

  10. nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    After Mike Minors no hitter ended and he was pulled from the game the Reds fans clapped for him as he headed back to the dugout. Classy move. I know the Nats fans would do the same however I dont think the Barves fans would ever do that for a opposing pitcher.

    • micksback1 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      agreed

      good point

  11. Section 222 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    The atmosphere at the park was electric until Blevins’ second inning meltdown. Too bad, but it was going to come sometime (the loss, and Blevins’ meltdown). I was hoping the fans would give the Nats a huge ovation for the streak when the game ended, but it was such a blowout that too many people had left by the end. Oh well. They gave us a lot to cheer about over the last week and a half. And it was a great tuneup for the playoffs for both the team and the fans.

    It’s hard to believe you can have surgery for skin cancer and pitch a few days later with no effects. But if anyone can do that, it’s Fister. He’s been remarkable this year. After that tuneup start in Oakland on May 9, he’s given up more than 3 runs only twice in 18 starts, and also pitched less than 6 innings only twice. Pretty soon he’ll qualify for the league leader boards, and he’s going to be right up at the top in a lot of categories.

    I liked Greg Ampsinger’s assessment after the Braves won their extra inning game last night: “The Braves are making it interesting … for the Wild Card race.”

    • nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Good thoughts and I like that Greg Ampsinger quote. Funny there. I still hope the Barves further implode. BJ Upton didnt even come off the bench last night in a 12 inning game.

      Speaking of frontrunner teams. The Oreos lose Machado for the year. They lose there best defensive player and his offense that far exceeds a replacement player.

      Angels lose there #1 pitcher for the season and lost to the A’s last night.

      Mariners win last night vs Boston while down 3 runs and 2 outs in the 9th to widen there lead in the Wild Card in front of the Tigers for the last post season spot.

      Thats the week in baseball.

  12. ehay2k - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    Was at the game and as MW said, it was a clunker. Even Cabrera had a bad night: In the sixth, a ball is hit to Desi’s right, and Cabrera runs to back up first instead of cover second, with the Panda running to second? Sandoval would have been out by a mile. I looked at my daughter and said “This just isn’t their night.”

    Then in the ninth Cabrera had an awful play – one so bad we started packing up – where with a man on first, he catches a grounder from Pagan and then threw to first instead of just tagging Arias, the lead runner , who had to pass Cabrera to get to second. And the throw was screened by the same runner, so ALR missed it. I was looking right down the baseline and it was just a crazy play because the lead runner was simply dead in his tracks ( he can’t exactly start a rundown with a runner behind him.) Still SMH on that one.

    So, take the loss, now take the series, becuae the next Tim on the mound has has trouble pitching here. And I’m OK if Morse hits a huge one, though only with the Giants down by nine.

    GYFNG!

    • Section 222 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      It was a clunker for sure, but I think you didn’t quite see what happened on that play in the 9th. Cabrera actually tried to tag Arias, but Arias avoided him, kind of stopping in his tracks. Cabrera didn’t want to chase after him toward first, thinking that he would miss the chance to get the runner at first. So he threw to first and hoped ALR could throw back to 2B for the DP.

      Bad decision. Arias was way too close to second for that to work, even if Cabrera had made a good throw and ALR caught the ball, so ALR would have had no chance to get Arias on a throw back. Cabrera should have just run Arias back toward first and tagged him, or if necessary flip to ALR to get that lead runner out. Who knows, maybe ALR would have gotten the Panda too.

      Or Cabrera could have just flipped to Desi to start a conventional DP. He had plenty of time to do that with the Panda running.

      Cabrera made some web gems earlier in the game, but that was a bad play.

      • Eric - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        Not throwing to second was the biggest head scratcher to me.

      • stoatva - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        Got away with it in the first inning.

      • nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM

        Luckily the score was 6-2 at that point. At 4-2, the Nats were still in the game and feeling like they would come back. At 0-0 in the 1st inning it looked like the Nats were ready to roll.

        Very disappointed in plays back to the 1st inning. Hudson wasnt pitching well and you never want to let a pitcher off the hook. In a 3-0 count and Rendon on 1st via a walk Werth swings away and lets Hudson squirm out of that inning. Werth is smarter than that. Work the walk and take what the game gives you. Dont force it in that situation. Its the 1st inning. Not time for the kill shot.

    • Dave - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      On the other hand, there was the impossible pivoting no-look throw-out to first that happened early, as well as a similar play Cabrera made the next inning or so. True, these came early in the game and not later. But they did count.

      Cabrera was just fine, failed rundown notwithstanding.

  13. NatsLady - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Thanks to Mark for pointing out Harper’s baserunning. Here are his TOOTBLANS

    • nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      They asked MW about it in the postgame presser and MW had the perfect response. For us fans, that wasnt TOOTBLAN it was DUMB A**. How many times will Bryce continue to play his style of playground ball.

      • Section 222 - Aug 23, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        What about MW’s response was perfect? As I recall he said that it’s a maturation process and he does some good things on the basepaths too. I’m not saying he should throw Harper under the bus, but acting like it’s not a big deal seems a little head in the sand. Maybe “yeah, it’s a problem and we’re working on it.”?

    • dcwx61 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      yes, hopefully the maturation process will continue or else they’ll change the acronym to
      TOOTBLAH (thrown out like a harper)

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      I am getting really sick of these – he’s actually regressing in his baserunning.

      But hey, he leads the league in helmets flying off.

  14. sjm308 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    Starting a new streak today with a new hat!
    I believe this was last years away hat. Blue bill, red hat w/ white curly W, little blue button on top.
    New era. 7 3/8. Oops too much information.

    Anyway. 308 cabal will be in force to root our lads on.
    Looking forward to actually meeting Candide instead of back & fourths in print

    Go Nats!

  15. micksback1 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Coach

    i’ll catch up to you in September, brews on me

  16. micksback1 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    I am sure quite of few of you watched Braves-Reds afterwards, damn, I thought Reds were going to win it in the 11th. But only 2hits not going to cut it.

    I heard a startling stat about Reds, they have lost 31 one run games.

    Doug Fister is a CLASS ACT

    • nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      I thought the Reds were going to win even with those 2 hits. A wild pitch was needed for that walkoff in the 11th.

      • micksback1 - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        you know, i thought that could happen, the pitch before was a wild one and allowed the runner to advance to third. I really thought another wild pitch was forth coming

        oh well

      • nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        Yep, 34 games left.

  17. dcwx61 - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    so is Zack Walters the next Jim Thome
    I hear the Yanks wants Cabrera next year as the heir apparent to Jeter

    http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2014/08/post_406.html

    • ehay2k - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      And we will get a draft pick!

      • Hiram Hover - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        Not under current system – the player has to be on your roster all year long, and you have to make him a qualifying offer.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        good point!!

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        Exactly HH.

      • Section 222 - Aug 23, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        No draft pick for you!

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Nate Schierholtz on his way to DC in place of Michael Taylor

    • dcwx61 - Aug 23, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      The cubs connection…
      Addison Russell next

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 90 64 --
ATLANTA 76 78 14.0
NEW YORK 75 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 80 16.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Saturday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (5) 90 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 88 67 2.5
ST. LOUIS 87 68 3.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 70 6.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 75 10.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games

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SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
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