Washington’s Nationals have dropped three straight twice this season, but thus far Dusty Baker’s team has avoided losing four in a row.
Last night’s loss to the Atlanta Braves in SunTrust Park was the third straight this week for the current NL East division leaders, who have now lost four of their last six and six of their last ten.
While the Nationals’ bullpen has continued to struggle, Baker told reporters after last night’s 7-4 loss to the Braves, that it’s not the only issue.
“No. 1, we’ve got to score some more runs,” Baker said, “because the last three games we lost they’re hitting us like we should be hitting them and especially some guys hitting the ball on us out of the ballpark that are hot, but ordinarily they don’t hit the ball out of the ballpark the way that they have.
“So it’s a bad series of events the last three out of four games. You can’t bring it back.
“There’s not a whole bunch you can do right now. We’re trying about everything you can do, we’ve just got to come back out and play better tomorrow.”
While there were positives to be taken from last night’s loss, like Michael A. Taylor’s two-hit game, which extended his current hit streak to seven straight (10 for 27, .407/.429/.778, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HRs), and his outfield assist in the sixth (which was the Nats’ 10th of the season, tied for second in the majors), Baker admitted it was hard to focus on the positives.
“[Taylor is] getting hits and he’s throwing people out and he’s playing good defense. He’s doing his thing,” Baker said.
“Like I said, it’s hard to find a shining light in a loss like this, especially when you lose them late, so that’s what we’ve been doing, we’ve been losing them late.”
The Nationals avoided making any errors last night, as they had in their losses to the Pirates earlier this week, but Baker said they could still clean things up some.
“When you’re losing you can point the finger at a lot of places,” he explained, “so I’m not going to point the finger at my guys because they’re busting butt, so like I said, we’ve got to tighten it up some and just play better.”
The bullpen, of course, remains an issue, with Baker noting last night that they are roughed up and a bit overworked, but he said he didn’t think they Nationals would need to bring anyone up.
“No, not tomorrow, but we need some help, period,” he said. “But who’s going to give you some help? You know what I mean?”
Maybe today’s starter can help?
Max Scherzer starts for the Nationals this afternoon, making his second start of the season against the Braves, after holding the Nats’ divisional rivals scoreless over seven innings in a 3-1 win back on April 18th.