Sunday was the latest example of how the Nationals' bullpen may be a bit off-kilter as they pass the quarter mark of the 2013 season. The personnel is exactly the same as it was when the Nationals opened the season, but the way they've been used hasn't always been consistent — and neither has the performance.
Forty-four games into the 2013 campaign, the Nationals have never overcome more than a two-run deficit. As the Padres' assault continued to mount on Sunday, the Nationals needed plenty more than two.
The Nationals' victory over the Tigers on Thursday was their sixth in the past seven games as they improved to 19-15.
The good news for the Washington Nationals as they trickled into the clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon, was that Jayson Werth was able to test his right hamstring on Monday and felt strong.
Saturday, the old Haren was more in evidence. He kept a scuffling Reds lineup off balance throughout a season-best six-inning performance, leading the Nats to a 6-3 win and at last feeling like a real contributor.
A way to force something good out of another downer of a night was sitting right there for Nationals pitcher Dan Haren, waiting like a hanging curveball to be swatted out of the park. Haren wanted nothing to do with it.
If the season ended Thursday, the Nationals even with all their "problems" would qualify for the playoffs. Which sounds just as stupid to say now as it does to say the season is already off the rails.
Washington opened its 2013 season Monday at Nationals Park with a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. No offense to all the others who took part. The day was about The Top Pick Twins and all about The Top Pick Twins.
White cinder block walls lead the way. Past the security guard in need of a cup of coffee just after 8 a.m. on a cool March morning. Through the makeshift clubhouse kitchen at Space Coast Stadium where three plug-in griddles serve up pancakes and eggs with toppings stored in plastic containers.