Poor Defense Descends Nats Below Mediocrity

Sometimes it is better to be an underdog. The Nationals highly touted team came back home and kicked the ball around the field in another disappointing loss, this one 10-3 to another underachieving team the Milwaukee Brewers. The poor pitching, abysmal fielding, invisible bats and under achieving starting pitching all stood tall in the loss.

National fans only had two real opportunities to cheer. The first came early when the Nationals scored the first run of the game in the second inning. Ian Desmond drew a two out walk, stole second and scored when Jose Lobaton fought a pitch off and blooped it into left field. Desmond scored easily on the play.

That was it for the good times. The poor defense began to show its ugly face. With one out Jean Segura hit a hopper to the left of Anthony Rendon at third base. It was a play he should have made but the ball slid out of his glove. The scorer ruled it a hit, myworld would have scored it an error. Segura stole second with the throw from Lobaton sailing into centerfield. Jonathan Lucroy hit a line drive straight at Jayson Werth which should have been the second out. Werth broke in on the ball and it shot over his head for a double, scoring the first run. A passed ball advanced Lucroy to third (myworld thought it bounced in front of the glove of Lobaton and would have called it a wild pitch) setting up the Ryan Braun sacrifice fly to right field. Harper made a valiant effort throwing the ball home, but Lucroy easily raced past the sweeping tag of Lobaton.

The Brewers pulled away in the third with Gio Gonzalez having one of those outings where one bad inning turns a quality start into a poor start. Lucroy led the game off with a single off the leg of Gio. He walked it off, only threw one warm up pitch and said he was ready to go (my world would have insisted on seeing more, kicking the tires more than once to confirm he did not have a flat tire). Adam Lind hit a one out drive over the head of Jayson Werth in left field, Lucroy moving to third. Khris Davis hit a sinking line drive into the glove of the charging Michael Taylor for an out. Again Lucroy tagged and the throw home from Taylor was off line. Domingo Santana smash his first National League hit into the flower pots in left field for a two run homer to make it 5-1.

As dormant as the Nats bats have been, a 5-1 lead seems insurmountable, almost as difficult as taking a hike up the trails of Mount Everest. Bryce Harper offered some glimmer of hope with a solo shot into the right field bleachers. Danny Espinosa singled to right and easily stole second but was left stranded after Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond struck out. For Nats fans those results are all too familiar.

Sloppy fielding by the Nats and poor bullpen work by Doug Fister blew the game wide open. He walked the lead off hitter in the seventh, followed by two singles from Adam Lind and Khris Davis to load the bases with no out. Fister was able to strike out Domingo Santana on a 3-2 pitch but Scooter Gennett pinch hit for Hernan Perez and hit an infield single off Fister. Fister departs for Tanner Roark but like a loose slot machine the runs keep coming. Elian Herrera drives in a run with a single and with the bases loaded pinch hitter Shane Peterson was able to take off the glove of Jose Lobaton for catcher’s interference to score another. A fly to shallow right by Jean Segura and the throw by Bryce Harper skipping past the catcher scored two more runs to give the Brewers an insurmountable 10-2 lead.

The one good thing about the inning was the double switch made by Matt Williams to bring in Tanner Roark in the seventh for the debut of Trea Turner. The recently called up Turner was brought in to replace Ian Desmond at short. Michael Taylor also hit a solo shot in the bottom frame deep into left field to make it 10-3. Nats fans were made to realize that looking into the future will be far better than dealing with the present.

Game Notes: There is doubt Trea Turner has the arm to play short. On a double play grounder he showed his arm falls far short of Ian Desmond on the gun category. It appeared a bit loopy as it arrived to first base just ahead of the runner. Wilmer Difo may be a better alternative…Yunel Escober was injured early in the game when running into a large fan while chasing a foul ball. He had to be taken out of the game, something that has happened to him a lot this year. Danny Espinosa came in to play second while Anthony Rendon moved from second to third. Rendon made two poor defensive plays at third, though in his defense most of his time this year has been played at second base. Myworld would have given Rendon two errors on balls he booted but the scorer did not charge him with any, reversing one error call to a hit..Ian Desmond made a nice barehanded pickup on a slow ground eluding Gio. Ian is looking smooth at shortstop now, but he can not erase the dozen plus errors he made in the beginning of the season that has cost the Nationals at least three games. Those losses could come back to haunt the Nationals after the season ends…Jayson Werth is hitting below .200 and batting leadoff. He got one hit on a ball Ryan Braun lost in the lights. The Nationals have not been able to find a hitter for that top spot to replace Denard Span…The Nationals thin bench after the first inning injury to Yunel Escobar forced them to pinch hit Max Scherzer in the fifth inning after he was hit in the leg in the top of the inning…Trea Turner grounded out twice. He showed his speed by almost beating out the first ground out. Matt Williams asked for a replay but it confirmed the out call.

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