- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
Nationals’ bats offensive again in latest Atlanta loss
ATLANTA — Hours before the Nationals would lose their 72nd game of the 2011 season, their manager was asked one simple question in the visitors’ dugout at Turner Field. What does he want to see out his team in the season’s final month?
And when it was over, and another pitcher had shut down a Nationals offense that has spent almost the entirety of the season waiting for its collective breakout, Johnson summed up the team’s performance even more succinctly than he did his wishes for the month of September.
“We just are not hitting well enough to win,” he said, perhaps unknowingly explaining more than just the Nationals‘ most recent stretch of games that has produced one win in their last nine tries.
“I think the talent is there but, unfortunately, it just hasn’t produced. That’s the bottom line. … We just are going meekly. That’s the frustrating part.”
Their lone offensive explosion, a nine-run performance Tuesday night, came off a pitcher who was taken for an MRI on his knee Thursday afternoon. And with each at-bat against anyone not named Jair Jurrjens, the Nationals have made that night look more and more like a fleeting aberration than anything they can sustain over a lengthy string of games.
In the Nationals‘ last three series, their starting pitchers have lasted an average of 6 1/3 innings and allowed just 2.01 runs per game. And for all of that, they have precisely one win to show for it. The Nationals‘ offense hasn’t struggled to hit home runs. They hit six in three days in Atlanta. It’s any other kind of offense that’s given them trouble.
Over that same 10-game stretch, while their pitchers have been pitching well enough to win most, if not all, of those contests, the offense has averaged 2.8 runs per night. Chien-Ming Wang, who went 5 2/3 innings Thursday night and allowed four earned runs, was the first pitcher in the last 10 games to allow more than three earned. The Nationals have won just two of those games.
It’s a predicament that has left them searching.
“You feel like you should win the games,” said outfielder Jayson Werth, who accounted for the Nationals‘ first run with a solo homer in the sixth. “You’re playing good enough to win, but we’re not. It’s tough. It’s hard to swallow and it’s unfortunate because I feel like we’ve got a lot of talent and a good club and we’ve got the guys to win. It’s just not happening, unfortunately.
“If we knew [how to fix it], we’d do something about it. Just the way of the world right now, unfortunately. I feel like it shouldn’t be like that. It’s frustrating.”
They were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position Thursday night, leaving seven runners on base and none more painful than the three they stranded after they forced seemingly unbreakable set-up man Jonny Venters to walk the bases loaded.
With the Braves leading 4-1, Jonny Gomes reached on an infield single to open the eighth inning, moved to second on a ground out and bravely stole third base. Two batters later it didn’t matter. He’d have gotten there anyway for free after Venters walked Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals pulled within two when Michael Morse — who thought he walked on a 3-0 pitch, even flipping his bat aside — then reached on an error by Chipper Jones to bring Gomes home.
But then, the Nationals reverted back. They sent Jesus Flores and Danny Espinosa to the plate only to watch both strikeout. The inning ended and, with Braves rookie closer Craig Kimbrel set to be summoned for the ninth, so did any hope for a Nationals comeback.
“We just didn’t get it done,” Johnson said. “Kind of the same stuff all year long. We battled. We had a chance to do something. We just didn’t do it.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Russian bombers buzz U.K. airspace; jets scrambled to chase off 'Bears'
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- ISTOOK: Obama's sleight of hand hides hidden government's work
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014