I figured the Nationals would start the season off slowly but even its ardent pessimists probably didnt expect a 7-11 record after three weeks into the regular season with a current 4 game losing streak. The starters are not going to pitch lights out every game and the bullpen has been awful, so the bats just have to wake up and do their share.
Sunday vs Philadelphia
Stephen Strasburg only 1 run in 7 1/3 innings ,truck out seven, walked two and allowed five hits in his best start of the season as the Nationals took three of four from the Phillies for their first series win of the season. Denard Span made his season debut a little earlier than anticipated as the fans greeted him to a well deserved standing ovation. He finished 1-4 for the day with 1 RBI and Drew Storen worked the ninth inning for his fourth save of the season.
Tuesday – Thursday vs St Louis
In Tuesday’s opener of a three game set vs arch nemesis St Louis, offseason acquisition Yunel Escobar saved with a walk off homer with 2 outs in the 10th inning to defeat the Cardinals in dramatic fashion by the score of 2-1. Aaron Barrett (2-0) earned the victory pitching the 10th inning after Drew Storen blew his first save of the season. Gio Gonzales scattered 8 hits over 6 but did not give up a run in his 3rd start of the season. The win improved the team’s overall record to.500 for the first time this season.
In Game 2, Doug Fister was roughed up early serving up 5 runs in the first three innings but was bailed out by a 5 run bottom of the third highlighted by the aforementioned Yunel Escobar’s 3 run double but it was not enough as the bats were silenced from that point on as Nats killer Kolten Wong drove in the tying run in the 8th inning off Blake Treien (0-2) to end the game with up with 3 RBI’s and a 7-5 victory.
In the matinee rubber match on Thursday, Cards pitcher Michael Wacha outduelde Max Scherzer, Matt Adams singled in the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning and the Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals 4-1. 6 hits was all the lineup could muster against the young Wacha as he only allowed 1 run over 6 strong innings. The Cardinals continued their overall mastery over the Nationals with no end in sight.
Friday – Sunday at Miami
In the Nationals 1st trip to Miami this season, the team seemed to bring ever inevitable problem on the team flight as the team lost all three and were swept by the young Marlins. In Game 1, the young bullpen could not extend the game as Aaron Barrett gave up an inherited run on a single by Martin Prado as the Marlins won game one by a 3-2 score. Again the Nats could only muster 6 hits with 2 of those hits and the only RBI by Bryce Harper.
In Game 2, Stephen Strasburg could not exercise his Marlins Park demons as he gave up 4 runs and 8 hits through 6 innings in a 8-0 thrashing by the hands of Giancarlo Stanton, who homered in the 8th, and the Marlins. So far in the early season, opponents are batting .317 against Strasburg, and his ERA rose to 4.88. He has a 5.65 ERA in eight career starts at Marlins Park.
Sunday’s finale was more of the same as defensive miscues (a botched rundown) and cold offense (4 hits) lead to a 6-2 loss. The defending NL East champion Nationals (7-12) lost their fifth game in a row — their longest skid since July 2013 — and fell behind Miami into fourth place in the division. Gio Gonzalez (1-2) allowed 10 hits and six runs in five innings, hiking his ERA to 5.01. The left-hander had won his past five starts against Miami, his hometown team.