The Washington Times - June 21, 2009, 03:31PM

Well, Shairon Martis managed to calm himself down and limit the damage today. After getting tagged for six runs in his first three innings, the rookie right-hander retired eight of the last nine Blue Jays he faced and departed following the fifth with the game still somewhat within reach.

If the Nationals had even the slightest ability to produce clutch hits, the disparity might be even less. Unfortunately, they’re not capable of coming through with men in scoring position.


Josh Bard’s two-run single in the second stands as the lone big hit of the day for Washington. The Nats had two on and nobody out in the first and couldn’t score. They had two on and one out in the third and couldn’t score. They had the bases loaded and one out in the fifth and couldn’t score, with Alberto Gonzalez grounding into a killer of a double play on the first pitch he saw to end that rally.

Eventually, someone’s going to have to start hitting for this team. And we’re not just talking about the bottom half of the order. We’re talking abou the big boys, especially Ryan Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is 0-for-3 today with a strikeout on a ball in the dirt, a popout on a bunt attempt and a routine grounder to short. His average has dipped below .300 for the first time since May 1. He looks, quite simply, lost at the plate. That needs to change — and quick — for the Nats to get back on track offensively.