The Washington Times - May 31, 2009, 06:59PM

You keep thinking the Nationals can’t sink any lower, but this week sure tested that theory. Six games at New York and Philly. Six losses. Pretty much every one of them in excruciating fashion.

Today’s 4-2 loss to the Phillies had all the usual elements. The starter (John Lannan) couldn’t get into the sixth inning. The offense managed one run and three hits off 46-year-old Jamie Moyer (who earned his 250th career win) and got nothing from anyone other than Josh Willingham (who hit two solo home runs, giving him nine homers and only 12 RBI for the season).

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And the defense. Oh the defense. Officially, they didn’t commit any errors. But that didn’t mean they played well in the field. There were three plays that could/should have been made that all led to runs.

1. Josh Bard couldn’t hold onto the ball at the plate and tag out Chase Utley in the first inning.

2. Anderson Hernandez couldn’t get the ball out of his glove trying to turn a double play in the fourth.

3. Austin Kearns took a circuitous route to Ryan Howard’s seventh-inning drive to center field and played it into a triple.

“It’s the separater,” Bard said of the Nats’ defensive woes compared to other teams. “They play good defense and we don’t. And we lose.”

You can read plenty more about the defensive struggles in tomorrow morning’s paper, and plenty more about the overall state of the Nationals in Tuesday’s editions. I’ve got to hit the road and head back home after a long week.