Apr 27, 2014, 4:48 PM EST
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Taylor Jordan was pitching well through four innings for the Nationals, but was removed from the game after only 63 pitches. His velocity appeared down, which is concerning, but there was no immediate announcement as to why he was pulled.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, their bullpen could not pick up where Jordan left off. Ross Detwiler came in and allowed a run in the fifth inning, and was charged with another two after leaving in the sixth. Aaron Barrett inherited his baserunners and walked home the second and third run.
Despite going up 1-0 in the first inning, the Nationals went cold at the plate and saw their bullpen completely unravel to lose the game by a final score of 4-2. They are now 14-12 with 11 of their next 14 games on the road. The only home games they will play until May 16 are against the Dodgers.
HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Nationals actually began this game with back-to-back doubles by Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. But soon after they went into a collective slump, getting only one of the next 19 batters on base. That was Danny Espinosa who took a pitch off his right knee in the second inning and was later replaced by Zach Walters in the top of the fifth.
Alex Kennedy recovered from his rough start to throw seven innings of one-run ball with three hits, no walks and nine strikeouts. He retired 16 straight at one point.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Despite being pulled after just four innings, Jordan was cruising while on the mound. He got over his first inning woes – 8 ER in four games entering Sunday’s start – and got through the first three innings scoreless. He did allow one run on the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Jedd Gyorko, but all in all it was a solid outing.
The troubling part, however, is that Jordan’s velocity has continued to dip. In recent starts his fastball was topping out in the high-80s, but Sunday it wasn’t going much higher than 86. The Nats replaced him after four innings with Detwiler, despite Jordan being effective. We’ll see why they took him out so early after the game. Either way, this was likely his final start before Doug Fister returns from the disabled list.
KEY STAT: Nate McLouth hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, his first of the season and first as a member of the Nationals. Before the at-bat he was 3-for-33 with one extra basehit in 2014 (20 games).
UP NEXT: The Nationals have Monday off before traveling to Houston, Tx. for a two-game series with the Astros. On the mound will be Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.00) and talented young right-hander Jarred Cosart (1-2, 6.12)
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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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