Where'd the offense go?

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Remember when the Nationals’ lineup was producing big numbers every single night, scoring five, six, seven, even 12 runs in one game? Yeah, that was only a week ago. It just feels longer the way they were stymied the last three days by the Rockies’ pitching staff.

Tonight’s 4-1 loss capped a three-game sweep that saw Washington score a total of eight runs. That lineup produced all of four hits tonight against Jason Hammel and two relievers.

So what gives? Has the offense gone in the tank, or were Colorado’s pitchers just that good?

“They’ve got good pitching over there,” center fielder Nyjer Morgan said. “I’m not trying to [make] excuses. But a lot of their guys kept us off-balance. They’ve got a heck of a team over there.”

OK, so what about the controversial play from the fifth inning tonight, in which an apparent strikeout of Carlos Gonzalez was changed to a foul ball by second base umpire Doug Eddings, who insisted the ball hit the dirt before catcher Josh Bard caught it. Replays appeared to confirm the call, but the overturning by Eddings, who was nowhere near the plate, surprised many with the Nats.

“I don’t know how Dougie saw that play,” Morgan said. “I guess he was eating his carrots tonight.”

It wouldn’t have been a big deal had Garrett Mock bounced back to retire Gonzalez. But on his next pitch, Mock allowed a bloop single to left. A wild pitch came soon after. And that pretty much was the story tonight.

So, Garrett, did the changed call rattle you?

“No, I didn’t get rattled at all,” Mock insisted. “If that would never have happened, if it wouldn’t have been a questionable call, I had in mind what I wanted to do. I executed what I wanted to execute. … He just battled and hit a pitch that I thought was in a good spot.”

That’s it for tonight. Big day tomorrow, with Stephen Strasburg being introduced at a 2 p.m. press conference on the field. All fans who have a ticket to tomorrow night’s game are invited to attend. Could be quite a scene.

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Mark Zuckerman

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