Losing Efforts: 5/15 - 5/27/10

Rockies defeat Nationals 4-3 on May, 15 2010 at Coors Field

What Went Wrong

After Adam Dunn had tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth Ian Desmond made a costly error in the bottom of the 7th with two outs that allowed Seth Smith to reach base and the winning run to score.

Did it Matter

In one run games every mistake is going to be costly and an error with 2 outs and the score tied in late innings is pretty bad. Luis Atilano was the starter and only able to go five innings. This was a huge problem for the Nationals all of 2010. They had no starters that could be counted on to go out there and give a good solid effort for seven innings. As the game played out it was the Ian Desmond error that made the difference.

Missed Opportunities

Offensively this game had very little opportunities for the Nationals. They had runners on with 2 outs in the 2nd and 8th, but the only time they got a runner to second they scored on a Roger Bernadina double in the 4th. One other instance that stands out was in the top of the 6th Willie Harris led off the inning with a single but was erased on a Zimmerman GIDP ahead of the Dunn homer that tied the game. Grounding into a double play isn't exactly giving away an out, but it is still costly. On the pitching end of things, lead-off walks kill. In the bottom of the 3rd Luis Atilano walked number 8 hitter Paul Phillips before a Carlos Gonzalez homer. Can't say what would have happened for sure if Atalino didn't walk the number 8 man, but it probably would have been better than giving up 3 runs in an inning.

Difference Making

I kind of feel that this is one of those problems that will just take care of themselves. Desmond showed much better restraint at making ill advised throws in the later part of 2010. If Desmond doesn't attempt a throw to get Seth Smith then the runner from second doesn't score. Also I kind of have a feeling that Luis Atilano will be next season's Shairon Martis with people asking whatever happened to that guy by the end of the year.  

Rockies defeat Nationals 2-1 on May, 16 2010 at Coors Field

What Went Wrong

Tyler Clippard walked Seth Smith leading off the bottom of the 8th and he came around to score after a Gonzalez single, Fowler bunt, and Hawpe sac fly.

Did it Matter

Lead-off walks are just frustrating. I can't think of much worse that a pitcher can do than to walk the batter leading off an inning. Tyler Clippard was a bit of a streaky reliever last year and when he did poorly sometimes he did really poorly. But when the pitching only allows two runs all day it isn't really on them.

Missed Opportunities

When I said it wasn't on the pitching I didn't mean a pitcher still couldn't be blamed. In the top of the 7th Michael Morse and Alberto Gonzalez hit back to back singles. It was the best chance the Nationals had all day to recapture the lead, but it failed mostly due to Scott Olsen's inability to lay down a sac bunt. Olsen's bunt K was followed by a Morgan swinging K and a Desmond pop-up, but that was another big thing the Nationals were unable to do all of 2010. Pitchers just couldn't get a bunt down when needed.

Difference Making

The only thing I can see that would really have made a big difference in this game is having a pitcher that can bunt, or not using a pitcher in that situation. Olsen was pitching a great game, but it was the 7th inning and it wouldn't have hurt to use a pinch hitter in that situation. Of course most of the Nationals' pinch hitters weren't much better than a pitcher, but this might have been one of those games where a better bench wins it.

Cardinals defeat Nationals 3-2 May, 18 2010 at Busch Stadium

What Went Wrong

Tyler Clippard gave up an 8th inning homer to Ryan Ludwick that broke a 2-2 tie.

Did it Matter

Like I just got finished saying, Tyler Clippard is streaky, and this was a bad streak. This was also a really bad road trip for the Nationals. They played a lot of these games close but just kept finding ways to lose. For the most part John Lannnan pitched a good game with his only blemish being a 2 run homer to Felipe Lopez that seemed more like a freak occurrence than anything else.

Missed Opportunities

Top of the 4thinning with Guzman on third and Zimmerman on first Josh Willingham grounds into a double play. This is one of those instances where a batter can't be afraid to take a strikeout. Waiting for a pitch up in the zone that can be driven somewhere is more important than just putting the ball in play. If Willingham had struck out instead of GIDPing then Adam Kennedy would have had a shot to drive in Guzman. Top of the 7th was another offensive miscue but this one is on the manager. I want to say I think Willie Harris is a nice guy and a good human being, but he shouldn't be the first guy off the bench. And with runners on second and third that is what he was.

Difference Making

Clippard is going to go through streaks as a reliever I am not so sure that knowing this it isn't smarter to send him to the 6th or 7th inning instead of the 8th when the first sign of trouble arises. Of course by the end of the season Sean Burnett had grabbed the 8thinning role with Drew Storen as the closer. With guys like Kimble, Carr, and Balester added into the 2011 bullpen mix I think even if guys from the 2010 bullpen fail there is depth. As far as the bench goes. It needs to be better. I would gladly welcome Willie Harris back as a 5th outfielder, super utility guy, but I don't want to see him batting in key situations in close games.

Giants defeat Nationals 5-4 May 27, 2010 at AT&T Park

What Went Wrong

The Nationals entered the 7thinning with a lead, but all that changed when Adam Dunn made an error to start the inning. Carlos Maldonado then allowed a pass ball that was followed by a Bengie Molina groundout, Schierholtz single, Torres double, and Freddy Sanchez single. Three pitchers, six batters, and three runs after entering the inning with a two run lead the inning ended with the Nationals down by one.

Did it Matter

This is the most definitive I think the answer has been. This wasn't a tie game or a back and forth game. The Nationals had a two run lead entering the 7th inning and turned it into a one run deficit.

Missed Opportunities

The entire game boiled down to that one inning. The Nationals had done everything right up until that point. One of the things I believe about baseball is if a manager enters an inning other than the 9th in a shutout and his thinking is if a runner gets on I will remove my starter then the starter shouldn't be pitching at all in that inning. In Craig Stammen's defense he can't control an error and he did get Molina out after a passed ball. Maybe the smart thing to have done was to let Stammen work out of trouble.

Difference Making

With reports out today that the White Sox have started the hunt for Adam Dunn it is highly likely that he won't be back next season. Most people believe Dunn is one of the worst defenders in all of baseball, but bad defense can be hidden at first base. At least until the ball finds that defender. Over the course of the season Dunn won more games for the Nationals than he lost, but his error started the avalanche that lost the Nationals this game. With a better defender at first the Nationals probably win this game. Of course Dunn did hit a homer earlier in the game. That cannot be overlooked. Defending a one run lead is harder than defending a two run lead and without Dunn's bat in the line-up the Nationals are going to likely be defending more one run leads.

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