Losing Efforts: 6/19 - 6/26/10

By the time I finish writing this Josh Willingham could be an Oakland A.

White Sox defeat Nationals 1-0 June 19, 2010 at Nationals Park

What Went Wrong

Jake Peavy pitched like the pitcher the White Sox had traded for.

Did it Matter

Peavy completely shut down the Nationals offense and the only time they got a runner into scoring position was in the first and ninth innings.

Missed Opportunities

After back to back singles in the bottom of the first Ryan Zimmerman came to the plate and struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Zimmerman went 0-4 and struck out 4 times in this game. It was painful and he took a lot of heat after the game, but the only time it really mattered that he just put the ball in play was in the first inning. It is also possibly that if Zim had put the ball in play it still would have been an out that didn't advance the runners. When someone pitches as well as Peavy did that day it is hard to blame the offense. The only other time the Nationals had a runner in scoring position was the ninth when Morgan led off with a walk and was bunted to second by Guzman. Zimmerman then struck out looking, Dunn was intentionally walked, and Willingham popped out. Guzman was never a big on base guy, but he could put the ball in play and it probably would have been better to give him a shot batting than to just give away the out. With three strikeouts already Zimmerman shouldn't have been counted on to win the game on his own and the bunt ended up taking the bat out of Dunn's hand. Still pretty positive Peavy would have gotten the outs he needed even if Guzman hadn't bunted.

Difference Making

As of this moment the Nationals line-up projects to be slightly better than last years. Not because of Werth replacing Dunn, but more because of Ramos eventually taking over for Pudge, Espinosa in place of Guzman, and the continued growth of players like Desmond. Not sure how much it all would have mattered but our pitching staff did only allow one run of their own.

Royals defeat Nationals 1-0 June 23, 2010 at Nationals Park

What Went Wrong

Roger Bernadina looked to be safe on a slide into home but was called out by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

Did it Matter

If Bernadina had been called safe then the game would have been tied and the Nationals had a far stronger bullpen and a better offense than the Royals. This game was a bit disheartening because it looked like the Nationals had a good chance to sweep a series after being swept by the Tigers and White Sox.

Missed Opportunities

What is interesting is the entire reason that Bernadina was on base was because of a failed sac bunt. I actually find it hard to believe that with Morgan on first and Bernadina at the plate that Riggleman would try for a sac bunt. Perhaps Bernadina was bunting for a hit and there was no signal for him to bunt. All I really know is that if a sac bunt is planned with a guy like Morgan on first I would rather the batter take a pitch or two and see if Morgan can make it to second before bunting him to third. This wasn't the case and Bernadina bunted into a fielder's choice. This was followed by back to back singles by Zimmerman and Dunn and Bernadina ended up being thrown out at home even though it looked like he was safe.

Difference Making

Mike Rizzo wants the Nationals to be more athletic. I am assuming that part of that athleticism would be to help the Nationals on the base paths. In the bottom of the 5th inning Josh Willingham reached base and stole second. He was advanced to third on a single by Pudge, and then didn't even try and score on a 3U by Adam Kennedy. It is highly likely that a faster runner like Jayson Werth or Roger Bernadina could have scored from second on the single or been able to score from third on the 3U. Willingham did neither. I have nothing against Willingham as a hitter, but his history with injury could start to catch up with him very shortly and could be why he is on the trading block. This wasn't a game where the Nationals were dominated like the previous game against the White Sox. They had plenty of chances to win this game, and a questionable call by an ump certainly doesn't help those chances.

Orioles defeat Nationals 7-6 June 25, 2010 at Camden Yards

What Went Wrong

A lot. But it all starts with J.D. Martin being unable to get out of the 5th inning. That led to the Nationals using more relievers than they should have and not having anyone to come in when Clippard was unable to keep his change-up down. The Nationals were still in a good position to win but then Guzman decided to go for the old 6-4-10 double play.

Did it Matter

Any time a team is leading by six runs after the 4th inning they simply have to win. This type of loss is simply inexcusable.

Missed Opportunities

There are times during the season when all you can do is scratch your head in wonder. From the moment Tyler Clippard took the mound it was obvious he didn't have it, but Riggleman had burned through most of the bullpen earlier in the game. Both Doug Slaten and Sean Burnett had only pitched to one batter. The obvious answer is that when Clippard gave up the homerun to Scott Moore that pulled the Orioles within one Matt Capps should have been on his way into the game.

Difference Making

I am crossing my fingers and toes while typing this, but J.D. Martin shouldn't be seen from again by Nationals fans. The pitching rotation is nowhere near good or even decent yet, but the talent in the minors is better and should continue to get better with pitchers like Cole and Ray developing behind Solis, Meyers, and Rosenbaum. Hopefully the Nationals can have some pitchers next season that when staked with a big lead can slam the door. The other problem with this game was Guzman heaving the ball into the crowd. I am pretty certain that Espinosa will make errors during the course of the year, but I also have faith the he will be a lot better defensively than Guzman.

Orioles defeat National 6-5 June 26, 2010 at Camden Yard

What Went Wrong

I am going to be honest here. This loss is all my fault. My friends and I went to this game and found the $2 beers at Pickles Pub and got hammered. We then proceeded to be the most annoying people in the ballpark that day. It was only fitting that the Nationals lost so that fate could show us who was boss. My wife also had a broken foot and was supposed to be our designated driver. In reality the game was lost when Livan Hernandez completely ran out of steam in the bottom of the 5th.

Did it Matter

Once again a Nationals starter couldn't properly hold a five run lead. Hernandez ended up going six innings, but he didn't look good doing it.

Missed Opportunities

It is hard to say that Riggleman should have gone to the bullpen early in this game seeing that he had just burned through them the day before. This just has the makings of one of those games that a fifth starter sometimes loses. The problem was Livan wasn't the Nationals fifth starter.

Difference Making

Maybe if I had stayed home or stayed sober this game wouldn't have been so bad for the Nationals as the baseball gods wouldn't have been out to get me, but this was some of the most fun I had at a baseball game all year. The real thing that is going to make the difference in the future is starting pitching. Having pitchers that don't blow games when they are given a big lead. The events of the night before had a lot to do with this loss as the bullpen was nowhere near well rested and Livan was going to have to pitch deeper than he should if he had an off day. It is for reasons like this that the starting pitching simply has to get better.

And it turns out I was right and Willingham has been traded.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Join Federal Baseball

You must be a member of Federal Baseball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Federal Baseball. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker