- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 26, 2009

NEW YORK | Insanity, as the saying goes, is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. In the confines of a baseball clubhouse, that expression is almost worthless.

This is a game in which players are intimately familiar with failure, bent on coming back the day after a demoralizing loss and resolving to change the outcome with a process that is, by most measures, the same as the one from the day before.

Repetition and failure don’t breed insanity in baseball. But some days, they can combine for a potently nasty result.

That was the case Saturday in the Washington Nationals’ 8-2 loss to the New York Mets, their eighth in as many road games this season and 16th in a row away from Nationals Park dating to last year. Time and again, the issues that cropped up in Friday’s loss to the Mets manifested themselves in an even grislier way. Friday’s game turned on misplayed fly balls in the third and sixth innings; Saturday’s turned on one in the first inning.

Washington missed its opportunities to win a close game against Mets ace Johan Santana on Friday. The Nationals lost chances even to get within striking distance against struggling right-hander Mike Pelfrey on Saturday.

“I think everyone’s out there playing hard,” outfielder Adam Dunn said. “We’re making mistakes that big league teams should not make, but we’re making them - and that’s what’s costing us games.”

The Nationals’ latest loss, which dropped them to 3-13, was tied for their most lopsided of the season. They committed three more errors, running their season total to 18, tied for the most in the National League. Their defense was unable to bail out starter Daniel Cabrera on a wild afternoon. Cabrera threw just 43 of his 86 pitches for strikes in 2 1/3 innings and didn’t help his case by walking four, giving up six hits and throwing a wild pitch. Only one of the five runs he allowed was earned.

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