October 22, 2020

Washington Nationals Game 43 Review: Nats lack run support needed to hand Zimmermann win

Jordan Zimmermann (L, 7-2) allowed just two runs in his third complete game of the season, but the Washington Nationals (23-20) came up with just four hits in their 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres (19-23).

Left-hander Eric Stults (4-3) no-hit the Nationals through five innings and, in eight innings pitched, he allowed only one run to score.

Both Zimmermann and Stults were so effective that it took them only 85 and 89 pitches respectively to work through eight innings.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Padres took an early lead in the form of a solo shot by Yonder Alonso. The one-run advantage appeared larger than most with Stults’s near-perfect performance.

In the third inning, the Nationals had a chance to answer. With one out, Kurt Suzuki walked and Zimmermann hit a sacrifice bunt that second baseman Jedd Gyorko failed to catch to give Washington runners on second and third.

But then, Denard Span lined one off Stults’ leg. Zimmermann made a novice baserunning mistake and unnecessarily ran for third, forcing Suzuki to run. The Padres, of course, tagged Suzuki to turn the double play to end the inning.

In the sixth, however, Suzuki threw a wrench into Stults’s plans with a leadoff single. Zimmermann bumped Suzuki to second with a sacrifice bunt and, after Denard Span flied out to center, Steve Lombardozzi brought home Suzuki on a single to right.

With Ryan Zimmerman at bat, however, Lombardozzi got caught stealing second, cutting short the Nats’ opportunity to take the lead.

It wound up being their only real opportunity as they managed nothing more than a pair of singles and a pair of walks over the final three innings of play.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Padres got the additional run the Nats’ had scoured for.

John Baker led off with a single but was caught at second on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Alexi Amarista. Amarista beat the throw to first on the force out to keep a runner on base for the Padres.

With Everth Cabrera batting, Zimmermann himself committed the error that cost the Nats. In an attempt to pick off Amarista. Zimmermann overthrew to first allowing Amarista to take second after all. Then, Cabrera came up with all the Padres needed – a single to center to bring Amarista home and make it 2-1 San Diego.

Lombardozzi drew a walk in the top of the ninth to give the Nats a shot, but, once more his role in the matter ended abruptly with a throw to second – this time in a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play involving Ryan ZImmerman.

Adam LaRoche kept things alive for a short while with a two-out walk but Ian Desmond popped to second to hand the Padres a 2-1 win.

 

THE GOOD: As has been the case oh so many times thus far this season, the win-loss column does not do justice for just how well Jordan Zimmermann pitched Saturday night. It’s true, Eric Stults outshined him, but ZImmermann provided the ammunition to keep the Nats in the ballgame.

THE BAD: Once more, the Nationals couldn’t meet their starting pitcher halfway for the win opportunity. The Nats were also without Bryce Harper once more as he sat out with a bruised left knee resulting from his collision with the right field wall at Dodger Stadium Monday night.

THE UGLY: Jordan Zimmermann gaveth… and he also tooketh away. He provided a solid performance from the mound, but his throwing error and poor baserunning mistake also contributed to the Nats’ loss.

In games like these, aggressive base running can make all the difference. Unfortunately, Steve Lombardozzi’s two outs caught stealing proved costly as the Nats struggled to get anything going on offense.

THE STATS: 1 R, 4 H, 4 BB, 6 K, 4 LOB, 1-for-3 with RISP

NEXT GAME: Sunday, 4:10 p.m. at Padres. RHP Dan Haren (4-4, 4.76 ERA) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (2-2, 2.84).

SPECIAL NOTE: After determining that Ross Detwiler has a slight right oblique strain, the Nats announced that LHP Zach Duke will start Monday’s game.

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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