Thru 3: Nats walking the plank

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Good lord, the Nationals just can’t seem to handle these battlin’ Bucs, who are at it again tonight in jumping out to a 3-0 lead.

Garrett Mock has been — to put it mildly — shaky. He labored through a 25-pitch first inning that began with a leadoff homer from Andrew McCutchen. (McCutchen, incidentally, entered this series with three career homers. He now has seven.) Mock also walked a batter, gave up two singles and (thanks to a throwing error by Elijah Dukes) allowed an unearned run to score.

He was just as shaky in the second, giving up a hit and walking a batter and watching as Adam Dunn butchered a bouncer to his right for the Nats’ second error in two innings. Somehow, Mock got out of it without allowing another run to score. And he made it through the third inning unscathed. But through three innings, the right-hander has thrown 65 pitches, only 36 of them strikes. Doesn’t look like he’s going to last much longer.

At the plate, the Nats have done nothing against hard-throwing right-hander Charlie Morton. Josh Willingham (who else?) doubled in the second, but that’s it so far. Morton was aided by a spectacular double play turned by Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young, and he benefitted from a strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play as well.

For those keeping track of such things, the Nats have had four baserunners thrown out this series trying to steal. Only one stolen base attempt has been successful. I’m all for being aggressive on the bases, but it doesn’t work when you run into outs all over the place.

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Mark Zuckerman

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