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Thru 3: Where's the clutch hitting?

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Before today’s game, Manny Acta talked about the Nats’ struggles to come through with clutch hits lately. Acta couldn’t pinpoint one specific reason why his guys haven’t been good with situational hitting. Some are being too aggressive. Some aren’t being aggressive enough. Just about everyone is failing to connect on the one, good, hittable pitch they get per at-bat.

Well, we’re seeing that once again today. They’ve put five men on base in the game’s first three innings and failed to score a single run. Let’s look at each inning:

1st — Alberto Gonzalez draws a one-out walk. Ryan Zimmerman lines out to left. Adam Dunn draws a two-out walk, putting men on first and second for Elijah Dukes. Dukes grounds into a fielder’s choice.

2nd — Austin Kearns draws a one-out walk. Wil Nieves grounds out. John Lannan grounds out. End of inning.

3rd — Cristian Guzman leads off with a single, moves to second on Gonzalez’s groundout. Zimmerman draws a walk, then both runners advance on a wild pitch. So, that’s runners on second and third, with one out and Dunn and Dukes coming up. So what happened? Dunn struck out on a 2-2 pitch that registered 80 mph on the scoreboard gun, 87 on the MASN gun. All he had to do was put the ball in play, not hit a comebacker to the pitcher, and a run would have scored. Dukes then also struck out to end the inning.

Clutch hitting: Get to know it.

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Mark Zuckerman

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