Ross Detwiler went five innings and gave up three runs and six hits while walking two and striking out five as the Nationals lost for the fourth time in six games.
In a 5-2 loss, the Nationals' bid for a sweep of another National League contender fell victim to singles, some just out of reach, and a hard-throwing rookie left-hander.
Tuesday's loss was Washington's fifth straight at home and the team that started the season 7-2 is now 10-10. Yes, indeed, it remains very early in the season. But early is about half done and the Nats are in a funk.
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.
Since the Nationals moved Detwiler back into the starting rotation for good last June, and including the playoffs, he has posted a 2.97 ERA in 121 1/3 innings of work.
Faced with a choice between two No. 1-capable catchers, Nats manager Davey Johnson made an unusual call: Let's use both.
For a roster that was all but set from the outset of camp, the decision on whether J.C. Romero or Henry Rodriguez will get the Nationals' final bullpen spot, it seems, will come down to the spring's final day.
Ross Detwiler turned in a superb four-inning relief outing Saturday night to help Team USA beat Italy in the first round of the World Baseball Classic. "It's a dream come true to play for your country," he said.
The U.S. (1-1) meets Canada (1-1) in the final game of Pool D play on Sunday with the winner advancing to the second round.