The ugly truth

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How bad is the Nats’ bullpen? Check out these numbers. But you’ve been warned.

With tonight’s 12-7 loss to the Pirates (in which Nats relievers surrendered nine runs in four innings and spoiled Ross Detwiler’s promising first career start), all the following statistics are now updated…

— Washington’s bullpen is a combined 1-13 with a 6.68 ERA.

— The Nats have now lost 10 games this season in which they’ve scored six or more runs, surpassing their total from all of 2008. They’ve lost six games when scoring seven or more runs.

— In their last nine games, the Nats have scored, in order … 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 6 and 7 runs. Their record over that span is 1-8.

— Washington has committed 41 errors, most in baseball.

After this latest one, everyone seemed at a loss for answers. The only common theme was that change is necessary (though no one’s saying when or how much change will be involved).

“I’ve been in the game for a while and I’ve just never seen anything like it before,” Manny Acta said. “We’re just going to have to change the mindset over there. I don’t think Mike [Rizzo] or myself wants to lose. Some things have to change.”

Acta was asked how you do that.

“Next!” he said emphatically. “Change it up because it’s not working. We went from young guys to veterans. And veterans or young, they’re not getting it done.”

So clearly, changes will be made. I suspect Garrett Mock — who entered just after the Nats scored five runs to take a 5-3 lead and promptly walked the first man he faced, then threw a wild pitch, then hit a batter — is going to be demoted. Among those relievers at Syracuse who are next in line for a promotion, Jason Bergmann and Mike MacDougal top the list.

I’ll close tonight’s latest entry of “Blame the Nats Bullpen” with this gem from catcher Josh Bard, asked about the overall relief work this team has been getting.

“They’re trying their stinking best,” Bard said. “But this isn’t a ‘try’ league. This is a ‘do’ league.”

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Mark Zuckerman

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