Despite the way things looked for the first 15 or so inning of this series, the Nats end up with another series victory. They’re back above .500, for another day, the Nats are approaching the end of May without looking bad. The last few games, though, have been more painful to watch. The week of frustrating one-run losses was tough, but at least you figure they were playing well enough that it would balance out. Then they put in an almost perfect impression of an early 2009 game yesterday. John Lannan came out an pitched well, something that couldn’t be said for many starts this year, although 2 in a row decent starts gives some encouragement. The team took the lead into the final frame and then, BAM, it’s all gone. The major differences between ’09 and ’10 lie in the final results. Were this last year, that 9th inning would have yielding 3 runs, not 2. And then bottom of the 10th heroics? Wouldn’t have happened last year.
So thanks in large part to Josh Willingham hitting a bottom of the 10th inning home run, they are now sitting above .500 despite having played fully 45 games. And despite Willingham’s hitting slump of late – ok it’s not a real slump, but he’s only hitting .233 in his last 30 games, he’s getting on base, and leads the National League in walks. And give credit to the non-closer parts of the bullpen last night. Doug Slaten got the win, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett all came in and did everything they needed to do.