August 22, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 131 Review: Nats Collapse Continues, Lose 8-5

THE FLOGGINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES

It wasn’t Joe Ross’ night, Tuesday in St. Louis. The young rookie just didn’t have his usual pinpoint command. In 2.2 IP, he walked six, struck out three, and gave up just one hit. It’s not the sort of line score that you hope for out of your recent slumpbuster. The Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals battled it out to 5-5 after eight full.

That’s when the bullpen imploded, again, and the Cardinals stole an 8-5 decision over the Nats.

Ross got the top of the third inning off to a start, raking a single to right off Marco Gonzalez, making his first MLB Start. Jayson Werth followed with another single, and Anthony Rendon drove in the first run of the night with a double down the line. That’s likely where Mike Matheny should’ve gone out to calm his pitcher down, but he left him out to hang, instead.

Bryce Harper added a sacrifice fly, for the first out in the inning, making it 2-0. Ryan Zimmerman, continuing his electric tear that has lasted for all of August, pummeled a home run to the batter’s eye in center field to make it 4-0. Escobar and Ramos would add singles before Matheny came to get Gonzalez, with two outs in the third. Carlos Villanueva would relieve Gonzalez and end the damage at 4 runs.

In the bottom of the third, with two out and a run already home, Joe Ross gave up three straight walks to make it 4-2, and Fister would hit Mark Reynolds to make it 4-3. This was the scariest point in the evening for the Nationals, where it looked like it might all come flying apart, again.

The Nationals added an insurance run in the seventh, which they would need. The Nationals loaded the bases in the seventh on a pair of singles and a fielding error. Yunel Escobar would get the RBI on a grounder to short that let Anthony Rendon score. The Nationals stranded ten runners Tuesday night, and it showed.

The Cardinals came charging back in the eighth inning. Drew Storen, on to pitch the eighth, got into a jam early. Tommy Pham singled with one out, and Storen followed up by hitting Brandon Moss. Greg Garcia would drop a bunt down the third base line, and Storen ran to cover. He fielded the ball cleanly, but threw it away to Escobar trying to get the force, moving the runners to 2nd and 3rd, and making it 5-4.

Storen gave an intentional pass to Matt Carpenter to load the bases and create the force play. They got the force play, as Stephen Piscotty grounded to Ian Desmond at short, but there was no play at home, and that lead to a tie game at 5.

Casey Janssen, fresh off a putrid performance on Monday, came in to pitch the ninth.

I don’t think we need to rehash the ugly details.

They involve a pair of runners, and a Brandon Moss yard shot, and a gatorade shower for the Cardinals.

Again.

This Nationals club has found new and inventive ways to lose, and will, of course, say they just have to put this latest loss behind them, focus on tomorrow, and keep playing the game the best they know how.

Their best isn’t nearly as good as advertised.

HERO: Ryan Zimmerman, again, for clutch hitting. His 2-run homer in the third was the difference maker.

GOAT: Joe Ross gets a goat for six walks tonight. Matt Williams gets a goat for, you guessed it, poor bullpen management. Drew Storen gets a goat for terrible pitching and defensive failures. Casey Janssen gets a whole herd of goats for another stinker in the 9th.

NEXT UP: Wacha vs. Scherzer, 8:15pm. Just go to a concert, or the movies, or get your back waxed. It’ll probably be more fun.

About Tom Bridge

Tom Bridge is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals. Tom has been in love with baseball since he was 10. He is a founding editor of We Love DC, where he covered the Nationals and Capitals as a credentialed writer for four seasons. He grew up as an Oakland Athletics fan in the Central Valley in California, where he learned to appreciate Bill King, Mark McGwire and even Tony LaRussa. By day, he is a partner at Technolutionary LLC, where he handles IT operations. He cannot abide the Cardinals. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TomBridgeDSP.

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