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Another mulligan!

In a somewhat non-literal sense, I was vanquished twice by Pirates yesterday. First, there was the baseball game, which I followed until the sixth inning (and until the third or so on, until Seligula's evil minions wisened up). The game was tied, four apiece, when I consigned what seemed like the next ten hours of my life to a barnacle of tedium called Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The first installment was entertaining enough, but this one---well, I suggest that the 54% at Rotten Tomatoes overrates the film's quality by approximately fifty-four percent.

Anyway, after I made bond and was released from that hell, I found out the Nats dropped another one to the Pirates, 7-6, a one-run loss to a team that improved to 10-25 in one-run games.

A depleted bullpen occasioned the loss in the bottom of the ninth, but failures with the bases loaded in the top of the second enabled it:

Top 2ND B:2 S:2 O:0
Ryan Zimmerman doubles (27) on a line drive to left fielder Jason Bay.

Top 2ND B:4 S:0 O:0
Austin Kearns walks.

Top 2ND B:0 S:1 O:0
Jose Guillen doubles (14) on a line drive to center fielder Jose Bautista. Ryan Zimmerman scores. Austin Kearns scores.

Top 2ND B:4 S:1 O:0
Brian Schneider walks.

Top 2ND B:0 S:1 O:1
Pedro Astacio out on a sacrifice bunt, catcher Ronny Paulino to second baseman Jose Castillo. Jose Guillen to 3rd. Brian Schneider to 2nd.

Top 2ND B:4 S:0 O:1
Ian Snell intentionally walks Alfonso Soriano. [NOTE: BASES NOW LOADED]

Alfonso Soriano receives a free pass
from Ian Snell, loading the bases.
Felipe Lopez (not pictured) is next.

Top 2ND B:1 S:3 O:2
Felipe Lopez strikes out swinging.

Top 2ND B:2 S:2 O:3
Jose Vidro flies out to left fielder Jason Bay.

And that was that: two opportunities with the bases loaded---two opportunities to chase Pittsburgh starter Ian Snell and establish a substantial lead---and two opportunities wasted.

* * * *

Earlier in the week, I reviewed Washington's first-half offensive performance in a decidedly clunky manner---basically lots of charts with a bit of commentary and limited explanation. Lost in the mailroom, so to speak, was a snippet of how deplorable the Nats have been with the bases loaded this season. Let's focus on that for a second:

CAT       NATS      NLAv
PA 77 83
BA .197 .282
OPS .610 .688
RBI 48 62
GS 2 1
BB/K 6/19 5/16
K% 24.7 19.2
RBI% 62.3 74.7

The last category is a bit bogus, I suppose, but think of it as an "RBI average." The Nats have driven in 48 runners in 77 opportunities (including walks, since walks with the bases loaded result in an RBI), for an "average" of .623. All National League teams combined (on average) have driven in 62 runners in 83 opportunities, resulting in an "average" of .747, markedly better than the Nats' figure.

With the bases loaded, the Nats have hit worse, slugged less, struck out more, and fared less efficiently than the average NL team. That's a bad performance.

Among the Nats, who's doing better and who's doing worse with the bases loaded? Check it out for yourself. Of course, we're talking about a small sample of opportunities, even for the team as a whole. So don't read too much into this season's team-wide failure, I suppose. And don't read too much into Felipe Lopez's failures in his first two games with the Nats; he's now 0-for-2 with the sacks jacked since the trade, but he was 4-for-8 beforehand.

It's frustrating, but I don't think it means much.