Just when you were about to say, “Hold the phone, folks. This one ain’t over yet,” … it’s over. After clawing their way back to an 8-5 deficit, the Nats are once again in a big hole. Hanley Ramirez’s grand slam off Steve Shell just made it 12-5 Marlins in the sixth.
Adam Dunn tried his best to get Washington back into it, clubbing his first homer with the franchise, a towering, three-run shot down the right-field line in the top of the sixth that made it 8-5. This is obviously the difference Dunn makes to the Nats lineup. Last year, they didn’t have a game-changer like that. Now, even when they’re otherwise getting mauled, they’ve still got a chance to come back. All they have to do is put guys on base in front of Dunn, and you see what can happen.
That said, this still has not been a well-played ballgame on the Nats’ end. They’ve been sloppy in the field. Their pitchers have fallen behind in the count and surrendered big hits because of it. And other than Dunn, they haven’t come through with big hits at the plate.
How bad is it? Ryan Zimmerman just botched back-to-back plays at third base. He was charged with an error on the first one, a terrible throw on a routine grounder. He wasn’t charged on the second one, when he failed to come up with a bouncer in front of him, but that’s a play he should make.
And as you might expect, those mistakes came back to haunt the Nats. After Wil Ledezma loaded the bases with a walk, Shell came on to face Ramirez and served up a mammoth grand slam on a hanging 1-1 slider. Ballgame.