- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2017

Call it “Nightmare on South Capitol Street.”

The Nationals lost manager Dusty Baker to an ejection, gave up yet another lead in the ninth inning and, worst of all, found out after Thursday night’s 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs that superstar Trea Turner suffered a nondisplaced fracture in his right wrist and will be out indefinitely. 

Turner suffered the injury after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning and exited the game in the top of the ninth when he was replaced by shortstop Stephen Drew. 

The Cubs’ Pedro Strop hit Turner with a two-seam fastball registered at 96.3 miles per hour. 

Turner underwent an x-ray, which revealed the fracture. No timetable was provided for a return. 

“It sucks, trying to have a good at-bat there,” Turner said. “You wish it’d hit you in the back or the arm or something. Not the hand, or the wrist, which is never fun.” 

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman suffered the same injury to his left wrist in May and was estimated to be out 10 weeks. He has missed the last 40 games for the Braves and is still out, though he’s on track to make a rehab start in the minors as soon as Saturday. 

Turner’s injury was another blow to the Nationals after blowing a two-run lead in the ninth inning to the Cubs. Reliever Blake Treinen gave up three runs in the ninth, including hitting a batter to start the Cubs’ rally. Treinen spoiled the Nationals’ three-run seventh, which gave them a 4-2 lead. 

Nationals manager Baker didn’t see the injury because he had been ejected in the sixth inning. Baker had gotten into an argument with first base ump David Rackley over left fielder Ryan Raburn being called out on strikes. 

Baker argued that Raburn’s third strike should have been called a foul-tip and Rackley, according to Baker, said he didn’t see it. “You can’t see anyway,” Baker replied and he was tossed out of the game for the first time as the Nationals manager. 

Initially, Baker didn’t sound concerned, telling the press Turner would “probably be sore for a couple of days.” 

It turned out to be a bad sign. The news comes at a time where Turner had been especially productive, especially when stealing bases. 

His four stolen bases on Tuesday led to catcher Miguel Montero calling Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta slow off the mound in a rant that got Montero designated for assignment. 

Turner stole two more bases Thursday, giving him 35 on the season — a career high. As the Nationals’ leadoff hitter, Turner was batting .279 this season and had seven home runs. 

The 23-year-old previously missed 10 games in April with a right hamstring injury. He said he hadn’t broken a bone since he was 12, but added he had a bone chip in college. 

Turner tried to downplay the injury, saying he’d rather have a bone injury than a muscle one.

He initially tried to stay in the game, playing the top of the eighth. He said it initially didn’t feel that bad because he had tape on his wrist. He went out and tried throwing. He said it hurt when he tried lobbing the ball, but felt fine when he threw it at full speed. 

But his wrist started to stiffen up on him and took himself out, not wanting to jeopardize the game. 

“I thought about Freddie Freeman earlier in the year and that’s no fun,” he said. “But it is what it is and I’ve got to roll with it.” 

The Nationals entered the ninth inning with a 4-2 lead thanks to a 2-run homer by Anthony Rendon and an RBI single from Brian Goodwin in the seventh.

Treinen’s blown save snapped a two-game win streak as the Nationals now head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals. Treinen got flustered after hitting Jeimer Candelario. He then proceeded to give up two singles and a double, which brought home the winning run for the Cubs.

Washington entered Thursday’s game with pitcher Joe Ross set to start against Cubs ace Jon Lester.

Ross went inning-for-inning with Lester — and doing it without run support. Prior to Thursday, the Nationals had averaged 11.12 runs of support in Ross’ starts.

Instead, Ross threw for 6 innings and only allowed five hits and two runs. He was pulled in the seventh when Chicago took a 2-1 lead off a Candelario home run.

The teams were locked in a 1-1 duel for the majority of the game. Both Lester and Ross gave up runs in the first inning. Chicago scored when Wilson Contreras had an RBI single and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman doubled to score Bryce Harper.

But after Treinen had seemingly got back on track (a 1.35 ERA over the last four games), the Nationals lack of a closer continues to cost the team.

“We are a really good team now, but we still need some help,” Baker said.


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